Apologetics, Archaeology, Bible, Main, z114
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Evidence found supporting the Biblical description of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction?


The Dead Sea Credit: Daniel Goodwin/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Dead Sea Credit: Daniel Goodwin/Flickr/Creative Commons

In an article published in Science News, archaeologists working at Tall el-Hammam located in Jordan, a site that many believe is the remains of the ancient city of Sodom, have found evidence corroborating its massive destruction recorded in the Bible that spoke of brimstone and fire falling from the sky:

24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25 NASV)

Archaeologists have found evidence of the area being hit with a massive explosion that turned glaze on potsherds into glass. They also found stone fragments stuck in the glaze that supports the idea that something poured down upon cities from the sky.

According to lead archaeologist Philip J. Silvia, the heat was “perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun.”

They also discovered that the bricks used in the buildings were totally obliterated leaving only the stone foundations.

The Bible records that not only were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah but much of the valley as well and Silva confirmed this adding they found evidence the blast covered an area of 15.5 miles and killing upwards of 65,000 people.

The site on the north end of the Dead Sea was so devastated that it took 600 years for the soil to recover sufficiently to allow crops as the explosion pushed saltwater from the Dead Sea on to the land.

Writing on behalf of the Tall el-Hamman Excavation Project, co-director Dr. Steven Collins said:

“The violent conflagration that ended occupation at Tall el-Hammam produced melted potters, scorched foundation stones and several feet of ash and destruction debris churned into a dark gray matrix as if in a Cuisinart.”

According to the team, one possible explanation for what happened is that about 3,700 years ago, the area was hit by a meteor exploding over the city similar to what happened in Siberia on June 30, 1908 that flattened 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of forest.

Many Christians believe God judged Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. However, this is not the reason that the Bible gives for the destruction.

Ezekiel said they were judged because of their arrogance and treatment of the poor and does not even hint of homosexuality:

48 As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not [a]help the poor and needy. 50 Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them [b]when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:48-50 NASV)

The judgement of Sodom revolves around God sending angels to the city warning Lot and his family of the impending destruction. When some of the men in the town heard there were strangers (the angels) in town, several stormed Lot’s house demanding to have sex with these strangers.

Some Biblical scholars have suggested, this was simply a way of humiliating these men. Ancient writers (Book of Jasher possible referred to in 2 Samuel 1:18) added that this was part of these people’s behavior who not only refused to help the poor but went out of their way to mock their poverty.

The author of Hebrews alludes to this incident when he writes we should show hospitality to “strangers” because we might be entertaining angels (Hebrews 13:2).

But Jude offers an additional perspective on why Sodom and Gomorrah were judged and curiously connects their destruction with the flood recorded in Genesis 6.

In an earlier story, I suggested that God judged the world with a flood to remove the Genetic contamination that took place when the sons of God (fallen angels) married human women resulting in powerful offspring (Genesis 6:1-4).

Noah was chosen to restart the human race because the Bible described as “perfect in all his generations” (Genesis 6:8-9). This suggests his lineage had not yet been genetically contaminated.

Jude writes:

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

In this verse Jude describes fallen angels as being kept in eternal bonds. Though Peter also refers to angels in captivity (1 Peter 3:19), curiously, no where does the Bible explain the reason for this imprisonment.

So where did Peter and Jude get this idea?

It comes from the Book of Enoch, an extra Biblical text, that talks about imprisoned angels in its explanation of what happened in the Book of Genesis leading up to the flood.

The Book of Enoch specifically states that the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6:1-4 were angels and after they produced offspring after marrying human women, God judged the world with the flood and imprisoned the offending angels.

We know Jude was familiar with Enoch’s story because he quotes directly from the Book of Enoch in verse 14. Though Enoch is not considered part of the Biblical canon, this is not to state everything inside this book is necessarily wrong.

Jude then compares the destruction of the flood with what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah.

He states one of the major reasons for the obliteration of these two cities is that the men went after “strange” flesh. The Greek word “heteras” translated “strange” in the NASV means “different, other, not the same ones as already mentioned.”

In other words, this is not a reference to these men wanting homosexual sex, but rather their desire to have sex with something that was different from them, not human. Jude is referring to these men wanting to have sex with angels.

Which is why Jude compares this to the Genesis flood which occurred for primarily the same reason (sex with angels) and perhaps not coincidentally both these judgements, the flood and brimstone falling Sodom and Gomorrah, were initiated by God.

Sources:

 

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