Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Destruction (2)

DESTRUCTION.—The Authorized Version and Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 translation of ἀπώλεια in Matthew 7:13. In Matthew 26:8 and in the parallel passage in Mark 14:4 ἀπώλεια is translated ‘waste’ in both Versions, and in John 17:12, the only other instance where the word is used in the Gospels, both render it ‘perdition.’ In Matthew 7:13 our Lord speaks of ‘destruction’ as the opposite of life eternal. In profane authors ἀπώλεια invariably means, as its derivation from ἀπόλλυμι implies, extinction, annihilation; and this fact has been largely used by the advocates of the Conditional Immortality theory in support of their contention. Still the ‘destruction, spoken of by our Lord in Matthew 7:13 has been held by expositors with practical unanimity from the first to mean a continued life, whether endless or not, of misery after death. All the same, it has been admitted generally, e.g. by Cremer, that eternal misery as a meaning of ἀπώλεια ‘is a signification peculiar to the NT, and without analogy in classical Greek.’ There appears, on the whole, to be general agreement that whether ‘destruction’ means a terminable or interminable life of misery after death, it does, at any rate, mean a prolongation of existence: it is exclusion from salvation, whether final or not. Whether or not there is a term to the duration of misery hereafter—presuming that there is a continuance of life after death for those who go in the way of destruction—does not enter into the scope of this note (See Eternal Punishment), but it may be remarked as significant that the ‘lost sheep’ are spoken of by our Lord as being found again, and that the word for ‘lost’ is the participle of ἀπόλλυμι. This is one of the considerations that have made many feel warranted in holding ‘the larger hope’ even for those who go meanwhile in ‘the way that leadeth to destruction.’

J. Cromarty Smith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Destruction (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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