The Case for Annihilation of the Unbelievers & the Wicked

Definition of Annihilationism

The term annihilationism is taken from the Greek word, apollumi, which is translated as “destruction” in 2 Peter 3:7.

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction (G622) of ungodly men. (NASB)

Strongs Concordance:- G622 apollumi

From G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: – destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

The belief in annihilationism believes the wicked will suffer in hell, but eventually, will be totally destroyed at some point after death. 2 Peter 3:7 is one example.

John 3:14-16 can been seen to mean that suffering in hell is a short period of time, but the salvation of believers is forever.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

In 2 Thessalonians we have a slightly different example of people who have rejected the Gospel knowingly.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 [This is] an indication of the just judgment of God, to consider you worthy of the Kingdom of God over which you are also suffering,

6 since it is just to repay those afflicting you with affliction from God,

7 and to [repay] you – the ones being afflicted – [with] rest along with us at the revealing of the Lord Jesus from the sky with His mighty messengers,

8 in blazing fire, delivering vengeance to those who have not perceived God, also to those who disobey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 These [1] shall incur the judgment of permanent annihilation [2] 11 from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power

[1] “These” are two distinct groups, which is evident from the Greek grammar (Granville Sharp construction – both groups having the definite article). It is significant that Paul’s language does not include those who have never heard the Gospel, because in both groups the emphasis is on blatant rejection. The same is true in similar passages that speak of the destruction of the wicked (cf. John 3:36). Nowhere does the Bible condemn to permanent destruction the ignorant (cf. Romans 4:15 & Romans 5:13).

[2] This expression leaves no room for unending torment of the wicked. See also: Psalm 37:10; Isaiah 1:28-31; Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:42-48; 2 Peter 2:6 (Sodom & Gomorrah to ashes),12 (utterly perish) ; Jude 1:7.

Wayne Grudem summarizes four arguments that are used to support the view of annihilationism. Here is his summary,

Arguments advanced in favor of annihilationism are:

(1) the biblical references to the destruction of the wicked, which, some say, implies that they will no longer exist after they are destroyed (Philippians 3:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Peter 3:7);

(2) the apparent inconsistency of eternal conscious punishment with the love of God;

(3) the apparent injustice involved in the disproportion between sins committed in time and punishment that is eternal; and

( 4) the fact that the continuing presence of evil creatures in God’s universe will eternally mar the perfection of a universe that God created to reflect His glory.

Sodom & Gomorrah – completely consumed, absolutely nothing remained.

2 Peter 2:6 “and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly”

Jude 1:7 “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

1 Kings 18:31-39 Elijah and the “Fire of God.” is an example where what was burnt with “fire of God” was completely destroyed.


The word rendered “eternal” in many passages in the KJV does not mean that the fire burns forever, but that the effects of the fire are PERMANENT. Sodom and Gomorrah were completely obliterated so that absolutely nothing remains even to this day as we can all see in Israel. Sodom and Gomorrah are not still burning. Using Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of what is going to happen to people shows that people will not burn in fire forever.

Does it makes sense that billions of people will be burning in hell forever?

Annihilation is in keeping with God’s character as a righteous judge, merciful and loving Father. A Righteous Judge will ensure that the punishment fits the crime.

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