Sodom and Gomorrah ExcavatedBiblical "scholars" pride themselves on questioning the authenticity of every passage in the Bible. It is a process that requires a real lack of faith. For all the pseudo-history that they make up, God responds by showing that the events in the Bible really did happen the way the bible says they did.
By far the most interesting session at the recent Society of Biblical Literature Congress in San Francisco was one I wandered into by chance. I am always curious about what is going on in biblical archeology, so one afternoon I decided to skip the dozen or so sessions dedicated to Bakhtinian Decontextualization of Identity Construction in Persian Yehud (I had to tear myself away) and go hear about the excavations at a certain site called “Tall-el-Hammam.” I had no idea what I was in for. After about five minutes into the session, I realized that the archeological team assigned to this dig was convinced that they had found the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. After another half-hour, it seemed they had most of the participants convinced as well. The sites fit the geographical and temporal context into which Sodom and Gomorrah are placed in the biblical texts. The cities at the site were suddenly and completely wiped out in the Late Bronze Age, which makes a reasonably good fit with the biblical accounts of Abraham and Lot. The entire presentation was very convincing, but never once did they deal with the “elephant in the room”: what caused the sites to be suddenly abandoned? As soon as the session was over, I was the first to raise my hand. “Did you find any arrow heads? Signs of invasion? What happened to them?” The lead archeologist paused for a moment. “I didn’t want to go there,” he said. Another pause. “I’m preparing material for publication.” Pause. “All I want to say ‘on camera’ is, they appear to have been wiped out in a ‘heat event’.”
A “heat event”!? What?!
“If you want to know more, I’ll talk after the session off the record.”
I wish I could divulge what he said to a small group of us clustered around the podium after the session was over, but it would break confidence. We’ll have to wait for the official peer-reviewed publications.
From the Book of Genesis (19:24-28):If your wondering just what "brimstone" is, it's solid sulfur. We normally think of sulfur in its gaseous state. When it is solid, it is an actual rock. That rock is called brimstone. Various places around the dead sea are full of it. You can literally pick it up off the ground, set it on fire, and it will hold a flame.
And the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrha brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he destroyed these cities, and all the country about, all the inhabitants of the cities, and all things that spring from the earth. And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt. And Abraham got up early in the morning and in the place where he had stood before with the Lord, He looked towards Sodom and Gomorrha, and the whole land of that country: and he saw the ashes rise up from the earth as the smoke of a furnace.
V. And do Thou O Lord have mercy on us.
R. Thanks be to God.
If you back up in Genesis a bit, it is revealed that the twin cities were destroyed for sodomy. Homosexuality was so rampant there that it came to be named after on of the cities. Together with shedding innocent blood and defrauding workers of their wages, the sin of Sodom is one of the three sins crying out to Heaven for vengeance. God literally wiped Sodom and Gomorrah off the map for this sin. Only now has the remains of the two cities been found and their location re-discovered-over 3,000 years later. That's one offended Lord.
According to the findings, the cities are northeast of the Dead Sea. That squashes theories that they were on the plain south of the Dead Sea and that a certain famous pillar of salt shaped like a woman was Lot's wife. No one believed the story of that pillar anyway; it's far bigger than life-size.
This reminds me of the finding of the Red Sea crossing site. The Bible says that the Israelites crosses the Red Sea with the sea forming two sheer walls of water on either side-just like in the movies. "Scholars" came up with every half-baked nonsensical theory to dis-prove this, from saying that they crossed the Reed Sea and that "Red" was a mis-translation, to saying a tidal wave occurred causing the recession of the water before the wave killed the Egyptians, to claiming they crossed a shallow point at low tide. Then scientists found human and horse remains at the bottom of the Red Sea in a place far from where people had supposed in the past, with a large encampment off-shore. The Biblical account is litterally true, but people mis-located Mt. Sinai. It has been supposed that the Holy Mountain was on the Sinai Peninsula and that the Isrealites crossed the northwest branch of the Red Sea. Turns out that they crossed the northeast branch out of the Sinai Peninsula and into the Arabian peninsula, which is where St. Paul claims the Holy Mountain is located. Oops.
It's amazing how much sound science supports the Bible, whereas the Bible's critics need to resort to psuedo-science and outright speculation to support their claims.