destroy utterly, kill, middle/passive: perish; be lost
Some Clever Verses for Context
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost (apollumi) and is found’” (Luke 15:31-32)
There is lost as in misplaced or forgotten and then there is apollumi lost. The former involves car keys hidden beneath a coat, phones buried between couch cushions, and the like. The latter means utter destruction. Think space rocks and the late Cretaceous period and you'll get a good idea of what apollumi means. We also encounter apollumi in Luke 13, when Jesus warns his listeners that unless they repent they will perish(apollumi) like those buried under the fallen tower of Siloam (Luke 13:5). It is significant that we encounter this word again in the Prodigal Parable. No matter how utter the destruction or final the sentence, God’s heart is oriented toward mercy and God’s love can bring about the impossible. What was utterly lost is found.
I really hope this also applies to the events of the Late Cretaceous Period...
In the Iliad, the old king Nestor praises the brave heroes of the past by describing how they “utterly destroyed” (apollumi) the mountain-dwelling Centaurs. Centaurs, or human-horse hybrids, occupied a curious place in the Greek cultural imagination. The hero Achilles was tutored by a wise Centaur named Chiron, yet Centaurs also appear as symbols of savage and uncivilized creatures.
Clever Questions for Further Reflection
Have you ever experienced being lost? Have you ever had to work to love and forgive someone who was lost?
When has God’s miracle working love left you annoyed as the older brother is clearly annoyed at the end of the parable?
Given God's tendency to bring about the impossible and restore what has utterly perished in sin or the fiery blast of an asteroid and the resulting cloud of sun-blocking dust in the atmosphere, what would you say are the chances that the dinosaurs will be included in the Resurrection? Asking for a friend...
A Clever Prayer to Close
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.