The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
DID IT HAPPEN EXACTLY AS THE BIBLE SAYS? The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of epic mass destruction brought upon the sinful cities by the hand of God. However, many people have wondered if
DID IT HAPPEN EXACTLY AS THE BIBLE SAYS?
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of epic mass destruction brought upon the sinful cities by the hand of God. However, many people have wondered if the story in completely true or not. Archaeologist do believe it, however they reason that gasses from inside the earth or a massive asteroid impact in the same geographic region caused it.
You can read the entire account of these events in the 18th and 19th chapters of the book of Genesis. You’ll find that God was angered at these two cities because they had sinned greatly. After Abraham was informed of this, he begged God for mercy, specifically because Lot, his nephew, and Lot’s family resided there.
Some of the sins that led up to the annihilation include homosexuality (sodomy), arrogance, gluttony and no concern for their sin. It is quite obvious that the people did not worship God, nor follow His commandments.
“And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21
God decideD to send two angels to look into matters and to warn Lot that he and his family needed to leave before the destruction took place.
“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.” Genesis 19:1
Lot asked the angels to please spare the city of Zoar, because he wanted to go there after leaving Sodom, and they granted his request. However, they warned him to run, without looking back. However, as burning sulphur began to fall from the heavens, completely destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s wife did just that, and was turned into a pillar of salt for her disobedience.
Finding The Ancient Ruins
The modern names of the cities discovered by archaeologist and believed to be Sodom and Gomorrah are Babeth-Dhra and Numeira. They have found evidence that coincides with a huge fire, with debris measuring greater than three feet deep. One geologist believes that it could have been bitumen deposits that were shaken loose during and earthquake, that came out from the earth’s crust and caught on fire, causing this great catastrophe.
To this day, the area that use to be the two cities is still a lighter color than any of the surrounding terrain. You can also still see some of the areas where man-made structures are evident. Forms have been seen that have obvious 90-degree angles, forming structures. However, there are also layers of white, chalky sediment that cannot be found anywhere else in the region.
Upon closer examination, it has been found that the sediment in that area contains both calcium carbonate, which is a gray limestone, as well as calcium sulfate, better known as gypsum. This is created when brimstone and limestone mix.
Fire and Brimstone
Many people use the term “fire and brimstone” when referring to the sermon of a preacher who is quite zealous, or perhaps preaching about the eternal fires of hell. But one has to wonder, what brimstone is, exactly.
The word for brimstone in Hebrew, in reference to the story in Genesis, is gafrit and is usually referring to sulphur. The Targum Yonathan ben Uziel uses the Aramaic word kivraitah when translating the word. It is often used in context of specific cleaning agents. Some have said that the word, gafrit, is actually hydrocarbon bitumen, which can not only be distilled into cleaning products, but is a very important ingredient in asphalt.
Furthermore, the historical author Josephus has made reference to the Dead Sea as “Lake Asphaltites” and states that the formation of this lake was the direct result of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Scientific Evidence of Biblical Fact
There is specific archaeological evidence that supports some of the key Biblical factors of the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. For instance, the Bible speaks of five cities making up a metropolis around the Dead Sea. To date, five, and only five, have been unearthed in the same are.
The Bible also mentions war and conflict, where the Mesopotamians ruled the area for a time. As it has been found, several artifacts from the Dead Sea area show specific Mesopotamian influences.
The Bible also clearly states that it was a fire storm, rained from above, that destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The thick layers, which cover the remains of these cities, that show signs of a great deal of heat and burning, show this to be true.
What Great Sin Warranted This Destruction?
It seems to be, that if people look hard enough, they can certainly find Biblical support for many different ideas, including some with occult undertones. Taking that into consideration, it shouldn’t be surprising to find the same Biblical basis showing that Sodom and Gomorrah’s sins had nothing to do with homosexuality.
While the avid Biblical conservative considers the idea far-fetched, academic scholars take it rather seriously. However, we only seek to find the Biblical answer to this questions: what was their sin?
The actual Biblical account begins with God conversing with Abraham near the Oaks of Mamre. However, we find specific details about the account at Sodom in Genesis 19, verses 4 through 13:
“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and they sons, and they daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because of the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.”
Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many sins. However, the one that reigns supreme is the sin of homosexuality. Homosexuality was wrong for the Jews, and it was wrong for the Gentiles that visited them, also known as aliens. It was an abomination, practiced by pagans who inhabited Canaan, years before the Jews ever showed up, a practice that defiled the land.
Regardless of who practices it, it is a sin that defiles, and it has absolutely no place among any people, at any age, historically or presently.
Proof of Flourishing Cities
Archaeologists have discovered ruins in these areas that were not only inhabited by civilization, but that came to an abrupt end in about 2065BC. In the ruins, they discovered walls, arched doorways, spearheads, windows, sphinxes, ziggurats, burned bones, burned and scorched pottery and even golden ash. There was even the discovery of a cemetery that contained thousands of graves.
The most interesting aspect of all the archaeological finds was that the cities were burned from the roofs down, with nothing but ash left. Even blocks of solid limestone were burned, leaving nothing but ash behind.
All around these two cities, thousand of sulfur balls have been found, measuring about the size of a golf ball, with burn marks surrounding them. You can’t find these anywhere else in the whole world, not even in areas where there is high volcanic activity. Ordinarily, sulphur is yellowish in color and only about 30% pure.
The balls found in the regions of Sodom and Gomorrah are white and nearly 98% pure. To alleviate any differences in findings, these balls were tested in different locations, one in Knoxville, TN, at Galbraith Laboratories, the other in New Zealand, by Ross Patterson.
Experts believe that the burning sulphur that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah must have reached temps of about 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, as it turned sand to glass and gold coins into ash. None of the natural explanations that have been offered seem to be plausible, other than this was, in fact, the judgment of God.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name be the glory
Because of Your love and your faithfulness!