Point-Counterpoint: Pollock on Apollumi

We now come to the Greek word ”apollumi” that has been, and will probably always be, a bone of contention between the eternal conscious torment and conditional immortality camps. Apollumi can be translated several different ways and both sides of the debate claim it supports their view. Rather than try to interleave the views together into a “he said-she said” kind of post I will instead provide you with A. J. Pollock’s analysis of the apollumi and then I will provide the conditional immortality analysis [See “Point-Counterpoint: Slough on Apollumi“].

Here is Pastor Pollock:

But, says the Annihilationist, does not the Bible say that we are to fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body? Does not destroy mean annihilate? By no means.

Destroy means to render a person or thing useless in respect of the purpose for which he or it is made. We drop a cup. It breaks into fragments. We say, and say rightly, ‘It is destroyed.’ That this is the meaning of the word is plain. The word for destroy in the Greek is apollumi.

For instance we read,

“The chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy [Gk. apollumi] Jesus” (Matt. 27:20).

Could the Jews annihilate the Lord? Assuredly not. But they could (being allowed of God) put Him to death, and that is what is meant here.

Again we read,

“No man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred [Gk. apollumi]” (Mark 2:22).

Evidently, destruction here means bottles burst and rendered useless and not bottles annihilated.


“Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost [Gk. apollumi]” (Luke 15:6).

Could the Good Shepherd have found something that was annihilated – something that was not something? No, it was a lost or destroyed sheep He found and He saved it from its lost estate and recovered it from destruction.


“If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost [Gk. apollumi]” (2 Cor. 4:3).

Most evidently the lost or destroyed here are sinners in this world. It would be useless talking of the Gospel being hid from those who did not exist.

Very many more passages to the same effect could be cited, but enough has been given to show that the word destroy does not mean annihilate .

And yet a speaker at the “Conditional Immortality Mission” Conference, held in 1913, had the audacity to say:-

“The natural and Scriptural meaning of ‘destroy’ is quite clear. Its dictionary meaning (as given in Nuttall’s Standard Dictionary) is: to ruin or annihilate by demolishing or burning; to overthrow and put an end to; to lay waste; to slay; to extirpate, etc. Contrary and inconsistent meanings are merely refuges of theologians who seek to alter the proper and true meaning to suit some erroneous interpretation of Scripture… Gehenna is a place of destruction.”

The inquiry has to be made, Is the word rendered from the original Greek destroy rightly translated? From its plain usage it cannot mean annihilation and the above speaker might as well accurately consult his dictionary for the meanings of “lost” or “marred” to get the meaning of “destroy.” Such tactics betray either ignorance a school boy should be ashamed of, or dishonesty of the worst type.

 HADES and Eternal Punishment
A J Pollock
p. 27-28

[Click on this link to see the next installment in this series: Point-Counterpoint: Pollock on Apollumi]

Explore posts in the same categories: Annihilationism

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