by Tom BrennanI have just read (actually, devoured is a better term) an extremely readable book about archaeology in Biblical Lands. Dr. Stephen Collins is President of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, NM. He has a background in several academic areas and is quite a gentleman and author. Discovering the City of Sodom is a unique approach to a topic often dismissed by critics of the Bible as a legend, a fable or exaggeration. It is none of these. Many archaeologists and authors located the “Cities of the Plain” where Abraham’s nephew Lot chose to locate his herds and flocks when they settled in Canaan. Theorists placed the cities at the southern end of the Dead Sea for various reasons. Several “tells” or remains of ruined cities in mounds were considered to be the Sodom and Gomorrah sites. Dr. Collins details why he and others consider Tall el-Hamman at the north border of the Dead Sea to be the sites. In clear but not remotely tedious detail he presents evidence why this site fits the description of the city from the perspective of Abraham, Lot, Moses and others who passed that way and knew its fate.
For several seasons a team from TSU has excavated the site and made astounding discoveries. Perhaps the one that made the most impression on me are these in particular. Sodom was not a bunch of mud huts surrounded by a primitive stone wall. It was more on the scale of Troy, huge acreage, thick walls with assault proof slanted surfaces, a place of power that as a city-state dominated the neighboring cities. Its size is comparable to cities in Egypt, Ur and Mycenae, its contemporaries. It had sophisticated homes, pottery and all the accoutrements of a Bronze Age civilization. It also was totally corrupt. Lot chose to transit from the life of a patriarch living in tents with his clan to that of a city dweller, even being a politician and sitting at the gate to officiate over civil matters. He lost touch with his roots.
God was enraged over the corruption and moral degeneration of the cities and told Abraham He was going to wipe them out. He had done so before when only Noah and his family were preserved. The world was flooded and a new generation was given a covenant to try again. Abraham entreated God to spare the city if any righteous persons could be found, not even ten were there. Angels were sent to rescue Lot and his citified family. Then it happened, not a flood but a catastrophic detonation that Dr. Collins says has the physical evidence of a nuclear explosion or a comet explosion such as occurred at Tunguska in 1908. Not too far from Albuquerque is the testing ground for the first atomic bomb, sand was heated into glass that still dots the landscape. Similar glass fragments and calcified materials are found at the layer where the time frame of Biblical Sodom is found. Some bones from human victims have been found but they show results of a catastrophic explosion, the bones are pulverized, shattered and in fragments not caused by blunt instruments; they literally exploded from within. There is a gap of over 700 years before another city was built upon it.
Sodom’s location is very strategic; it is not a place to be abandoned. But for centuries after the event, it was a place considered cursed, there was a stigma attached to it and no one settled there. The last city built there was a mere shadow of Sodom. Yet many times in the Bible Sodom is referred to as an example of what happens when men abandon God’s favor, build cities, turn inwards to their own lusts and pleasures and make their own rules. Yet God was willing to spare an entire city if only ten righteous men could be found a remnant of leaders who could possibly turn hearts and minds away from the perversions the cities had enjoyed. None were found.
Today many nations are open to things that were considered wrong by previous generations. America is wracked by perversions of God’s Law that only a generation ago were universally rejected. A media that knows no boundaries, politicians who desire power and know no limits of law, aggressive groups which force their agendas on believers and a population numbed by sensationalist and irrelevant entertainment into hibernating in front of huge television screens and entertainment all avoid the warnings in the Bible.
Israel is protected by an eternal covenant. America is not, neither are other nations. Will ten righteous be found? Will prophets arise to declare God’s warnings to the people? Israel’s firm stand against the demonic pressures that are amplified by a media that sells perversion like fast food to an audience that has no time for truth will endure. Christians must take courage from Israel’s faith in this time of testing. Sodom was once a world leader in its time, it was destroyed because it rejected The Almighty’s ways; let the remnant arise and fight the fight.Share this page with your friends
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