That word? "Abaddon." The conflicting meanings surrounding this word have amazing applicability to Lost.
First off, the word means "place of destruction," or, in many cases, the underworld itself. Now, remember that the hieroglyphics in the Swan Hatch spell out "underworld," according to the producers (confirmed in a Season 3 Blu-Ray extra feature). Many of us wondered why the word "underworld" was chosen to be shown after the counter went to zero: could it be the Dharma Initiative saw the Island itself as a version of a hellish underworld? Or was it something more?
Perhaps the "Abaddon" they had in mind referred to an alternate meaning of the word, one in which Abaddon described an actual demon. The following passage comes from Revelation 9:11 (as quoted here):
REVELATION 9:11 They have as king over them, the angel of the Abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.
Now, both these words translate as "destroyer." Could Abaddon refer to the smoke monster itself? Remember: the work of the Dharma Initiative, in the words of Alvar Hanso, involved nothing less than saving the world. And here Abaddon appears in the Book of Revelations, a book that describes the end days of man. Surely such images were on the mind of the original members of the Dharma Initiative after the "incident" which, in my own theorizing, created the smoke monster itself.
Furthering this theory, let's look at another passage from Revelations which talks about Abaddon:
REVELATION 9:3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth; 4 they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads...
I mean, that sounds a lot like our eco-friendly, yet people-averse smoke monster, if you ask me. Think of how the smoke monster dealt with a non-repentant Eko, for example.
But there's another way to interpret the word Abaddon, both geographically and biographically as well, and here's where things, to me, get incredibly interesting. On the geographical side, Abaddon can refer to a pit or a cave in which one performed a rite of passage to prove worth to encounter the "mind of God." This has incredible resonance for the show, in that the Island itself seems to consistently test its inhabitants through visions of great personal pain. It's also resonant in that the ARG strongly suggests the Sundra Trench, acknowledged as one of the deepest parts of the known world, has something to do with the geographical location of the Island.
And biographically, Abaddon is often referred to as not a demon, but an angel. Now, in many religions, a demon is simply a fallen angel, so this could explain part of the discrepancy, but as the "Angel of the bottomless pit who binds Satan for a thousand years." Whoa, now that's slightly different than our previous definition. This suggests someone rather heroic, one valiantly binding the devil within the underworld to prevent his escape. In this construction, Abaddon and the devil are intimately entwined, each defined by his conflict with the other. A horrible symbiosis, to be sure. One that could take an enormous toll or one or both of them.
This is all a way of saying, of course, that Abaddon has both positive and negative connotations, positive and negative aspects, positive and negative sides, almost as if it coexisted in a world of light and dark. And if THAT duality isn't the hallmark of not only Jacob/Smokey, but Lost in general, I just don't what is.
One more Revelations quote to stick in your thinking cap before we end today's less-than-expert theological discussion:
REVELATION 17:8 "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the Abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come."
Now, that's some crazy confusing stuff right there. Abaddon was...is not...is about to come. It's almost as if there's something peculiar about the nature of time as it relates to Abaddon. Something that exists how we normally view time. Something non-linear.