A Mystery In History: When God Made Burning Sulfur Destroy Sodom And Gomorrah
“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land…” (Source)
Sodom and Gomorrah were two ancient cities that, according to the Old Testament, were destroyed in ancient times by supernatural means.
The cities are described as two of the cities that were part of the biblical Pentapolis, located on the shores of the Dead Sea. Gomorrah was situated in the valley of Siddim next to the Dead Sea and was one of the five cities of the plain, along with Sodom, Adma, Zoar, and Zeboim.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah takes place primarily in Genesis 19, where it is reported that God sentenced the destruction to these cities by the abject perversion of its inhabitants.
YHWH rained on Sodom, and Gomorrah brimstone and fire destroyed these cities and all the men in them.
“(Gn 19: 27-28) God decides to take the life he gave them, but before executing his sentence sends two angels to the city of Sodom with the mission of rescuing Lot and his people.
In this part of the scriptures, Gomorrah is not mentioned as part of the visits of the angels or that Lot had any connection with this neighboring city of Sodom.
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, John Martin, 1832. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Moses referred to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Deuteronomy 29:22–23:
“Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it. The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger.” —NIV
A wealth of information is available about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in various religious texts, including the Koran, where we find details of accounts that are a mixture of facts and myths.
The legends of Sodom and Gomorrah speak of peculiar personalities, angels and other deities who literally warned people to leave these doomed cities whose catastrophic fate was inevitable. These stories are a mixture of different accounts.
Many Biblical scholars would agree that Sodom and Gomorrah are probably two of the most infamous cities that may have existed on planet Earth.
These cities have been lost for millennia, and only in recent years, have the sites been tentatively identified by experts who have proposed dozens of different theories about these mystical cities and their fate.
But what really happened here and what do the stories tell? What has been written down?
Here are some of the things we have to know when talking about Sodom and Gomorrah
The Bible tells the story of what happened:
(Genesis 18:20; 19: 24-26.28)
24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed in the background of Lucas van Leyden’s 1520 painting Lot and his Daughters. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Their Geographical location remains disrupted. However, some experts believe that the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are Bab edh-Dhra and Numeira, two adjacent archeological sites said by some to be the two cities’ locations.
Bab edh-Dhra is the site of an Early Bronze Age settlement located near the Dead Sea, on the south bank of Wadi Kerak. Some biblical scholars argue that this was the ancient city of “Sodom”. Other archaeologists disagree.
The archaeological site of Numeira is, according to some scholars, the location of the city of Gomorra.
It has been argued that Numeira approximates the alleged biblical city of Gomorrah, although other several scholars have countered these claims, arguing that it is in the wrong geographical area, and is not within the designated timeframe.
And while the location of these two important historic cities remains a mystery for experts, ancient astronaut theorists suggest that Sodom and Gomorrah are the Hiroshima and Nagasaki of the distant past, 4000 years ago.
Some ancient astronaut theorists believe that these ancient accounts, described in the Bible and other religious texts indicate the presence of supernatural beings present on Earth, and how these two cities were destroyed, not by God’s wrath, but by the use of extremely advanced weaponry, brought to Earth by beings, not from Earth.
The Area where Sodom And Gomorra were allegedly located is also particularly interesting.
The Dead Sea’s surface and shores are 429 meters (1,407 ft) below sea level, representing Earth’s lowest elevation on land.
The Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, which makes it the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.
With 34.2% salinity, The Dead Sea also happens to be one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, though Lake Vanda in Antarctica (35%), Lake Assal in Djibouti (34.8%) in Jordan and many smaller rivers flow into the Dead Sea.
The Jordan river has a major importance in Judaism and Christianity and, to a more moderate degree, Islam. It is said to be the site where the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land and where John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth.
Interestingly, according to scientific measurements, evaporation under the burning sun occurs on the surface of the Dead Sea at a speed of more than 230 million cubic feet per day.
As noted by Arab tradition, there are many poisonous gases evaporating from the lake that are so hazardous that birds cannot fly over it.
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons