The word aphanizō (ἀφανίζω) means:

“to remove out of sight, cause to disappear;, pass. to disappear, vanish, Jas. 4:14; by impl. to destroy, consume, so that nothing shall be left visible, Mt. 6:19, 20; met. to spoil, deform, disfigure, Mt. 6:16; to perish, Acts 13:41*”

Source: https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/aphanizo

Q: How/why do Annihilationists hold to their view on Hell when the passages on Hell never use the word aphanizō??

  • 1
    Why is that an issue? Lots of theological terms don't appear in the Biblical texts.
    – curiousdannii
    May 30, 2022 at 2:54
  • 1
    @curiousdannii Because destruction “ὄλεθρον (olethron)” 2 Thess 1:9 for example is a different concept and word altogether than “aphanizō (ἀφανίζω)” hence the question, because if an Annihilationist holds to their view (so be it) I am curious to where they get the idea of annihilation from destruction? You can’t eternally destroy something and that process be unending. If it had an “end” then it would disappear or vanish away. Yet, with respect to Hell, the term “unquenchable fire” implies a fire that doesn’t go out, if it doesn’t go out, then that would imply everlasting suffering.
    – Cork88
    May 30, 2022 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


As @curiousdannii mentions, it's no issue that one specific word isn't used, there are plenty of others; while I don't know Greek, I'm sure there are words meaning 'torment' or 'torture' that don't appear in Scripture either.

So, to answer your question, we believe what we do because there are many passages in Scripture that indicate the wicked will be destroyed rather than living in torment forever; examples include Matthew 10:28, John 3:16 and Jude 1:7. Not only this, but we believe these passages significantly outweigh those used to defend the traditional view, both in number and strength.

Additionally, the concept of destruction/death as punishment fits what we see of God's judgment throughout the Bible; death is always the ultimate punishment, God never sentences anyone to be tortured in His commandments to my knowledge.

There are other, secondary arguments, based on the character of God and the nature of sin, but Scripture is the primary basis for most of us.

  • 2
    NB: I do not intend to debate the doctrine in comments and will likely not engage with questions not pertaining to the OP May 30, 2022 at 4:40
  • With respect to the doctrine of Hell, and with what you said here: “I'm sure there are words meaning 'torment' or 'torture' that don't appear in Scripture either.”. What do you mean by that? When in scripture, relating to the doctrine of Hell we read in Revelation 14:11 that Greek word used is “βασανισμός (basanismos)” which means: “pr. examination by torture; torment, torture, Rev. 9:5; 14:11; 18:7, 10, 15*”. So, again; what did you mean by your quotation that I quoted? I’m curious.
    – Cork88
    May 30, 2022 at 17:17
  • @Cork88 I mean that the absence of one word in particular is not a problem when plenty of others are used to the same end. Just as the absence of aphanizo doesn't matter as other passages like those I quoted serve the same purpose, the absence of any specific word meaning torture doesn't make an argument against the traditional view, as they have their own passages they use, like Rev. 14:11 (which isn't as strong a case for eternal torment as you might think, look at where else the phrase "smoke rising forever" appears) May 30, 2022 at 20:32
  • eg. while we may not see aphanizo, we see words such as ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi), which very clearly carry a primary meaning of destruction, as in Matthew 10:28 May 30, 2022 at 20:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .