According to archaeologists working on the site believed to include the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they found evidence confirming the Biblical record that the two cities were destroyed by sulphur and fire:
23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur 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: 23-25 NASV
The archaeologists, who have been working on the site for 13 years, reported discovering evidence of intense heat. This included clay and rock that had been turned into glass. This would require a brief burst of heat of between 8,000 to 12,000 degree Celsius.
The archaeologists also noted that the destruction took place “in an instant,” and resulted in the stripping of the topsoil. The archaeologists added that “a super-heated brine of Dead Sea anhydride salts pushed over the landscaped by the Event’s frontal shock wave.”
It is interesting that even the Biblical account noted the appearance of salt as it described Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26), and as well, noted the destruction of vegetation (v 25). The archaeologist estimated it would have taken nearly 600 years for the soil to recover.
They wrote, “the physical evidence from Tall el-Hamman and neighboring sites exhibit signs of a highly destructive concussive and thermal event that one might expect from what is described in Genesis 19.”
The research group believes a cosmic event contributed to the destruction of these cities, more specifically, the explosion of an asteroid over the area. They estimated the blast killed between 40,000 to 65,000 people. Carbon dating indicates the explosion took place about 3,700 years ago.
Though, they suggested a natural event was responsible for the destruction, would this eliminate God’s involvement?
No, because God used natural events when He judged the earth with a flood. This included 40 days and nights of rain and releasing the fountains of the deep (Genesis 7:11-12).
And it is important to note, this won’t be the only time that God will use a cosmic event to judge the world. In the Book of Revelation, we read that God will judge the world with a massive mountain-sized asteroid that will cause massive destruction (Revelation 8:8-9).
So why did God judge Sodom and Gomorrah?
When we read the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, a strange thing happened. After God told Abraham about the judgment of the two cities, Abraham negotiated with God asking if the cities would be judged if there were 50 righteous in the city. When God agreed not to judge them if there were 50, Abraham then negotiated the number down 10. If there were 10 righteous, the cities would be spared.
Why did Abraham stop at 10? I believe he stopped because the patriarch felt he had that number covered by Lot and his family who were living in the city.
But when we read a passage in Ezekiel that describes why God judged Sodom and Gomorrah, the prophet said an abomination (singular), one event, changed everything.
49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.Ezekiel 16: 49-50 ESV
When Abraham and the two angels entered the city, some men of Sodom desired to have sex with the two angels (Genesis 19:4-5).
I believe it was this one event that sparked the judgment. If this had not happened, I believe the cities would have avoided judgment.
It is very similar to what happened during the flood, when God judged the world after the sons of God married the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-2). Most believe the sons of God were angels, and this meant, similar to Sodom, the world was judged because of sexual relations between humans and angels, or in Sodom’s case the desire for it.
And Jude alludes to this in verses 6-7, when he speaks of two incidents that resulted in judgment because of a desire for strange flesh. In the Genesis account, it was the angels that desired strange flesh (human women) and in Sodom’s case, it was men who desired strange flesh (angels).
In other words, the Sodom and Gomorrah were not judged because of homosexuality.
READ: After 13 years of digging, archaeologists said ‘Cosmic airburst event’ wiped Sodom and Gomorrah off the map AND “The 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor Event: Catastrophic Termination of a Bronze Age Civilization.” AND Evidence of Sodom? Meteor blast cause of biblical destruction, say scientists