Archaeology comes through again!
One of many iconic accounts from the Bible, going back to the very edges of antiquity, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a cautionary tale.
But it is something else, too: a real event in time. I’m always fascinated by skeptics that claim the Bible is myth, or full of contradictions.
It’s neither, but at least in the realm of myth, archaeology helps us answer these unfounded charges. It then becomes a faith-strengthening opportunity.
Now, the region where this biblical disaster happened is a very unforgiving place. Almost a moonscape, near the Dead Sea, and straddling the modern states of Jordan and Israel. (I’ve been to Masada several times, but only once in the summer! The heat can reach dangerous levels.)
Here is an exciting account of research there, per the Jerusalem Post:
Biblical sin city Sodom destroyed by asteroid stronger than nuke – expert
Excavations in Jordan offer compelling evidence for the authenticity of the biblical tale of the destruction of Sodom, but by an asteroid impact, says theologian Dr. John Bergsma.
A theologian is pointing to excavations in Jordan, uncovering what the Post refers to as one of the Bible’s “most improbable narratives.” Hint: Media doesn’t believe it.
“Bergsma asserts that archaeological findings in Jordan corroborate the existence of the biblical city of Sodom. Prior research had already indicated that the ancient city of Tell el-Hammam, located in the southern Jordan Valley, suffered a catastrophic fate—a revelation that Dr. John Bergsma, a theology professor at Ohio’s Franciscan University, believes aligns with the biblical account.
“As per the Book of Genesis, God unleashed brimstone and fire upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in response to the sins of their inhabitants, resulting in their complete obliteration. Similar destruction patterns were uncovered at Tell el-Hammam, leading Bergsma to reevaluate the credibility of the biblical narrative. He pointed to signs of extreme heat detected on skeletons and pottery fragments unearthed by archaeologists, suggesting a possible impact from an asteroid.”
If it is Sodom, we must keep in mind that even if someone acknowledges a biblical account is true, there is a tendency to find more naturalistic causes for the destruction that in reality came straight from God. As we read in Genesis 19:28—
“And he looked over the face of Sodom and Gomorrah and over the entire face of the land of the plain, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the earth had risen like the smoke of a furnace.”
By the way, it’s interesting that even secular scholars and archaeologists usually date ancient Near East cities and other sites at around 4000 B.C. for the earliest inhabitants. This of course corresponds to biblical chronologies, and not to the purely evolutionary dates that emerge from the mists of time, often stretching back hundreds of thousands of years. These great ages are assigned because evolution demands it, with the progression of hominids into modern humans. So when it’s acknowledged that an ancient city state began less than 5,000 years ago…that in itself is confirmation of the biblical timelines.
Located not far from Jericho (considered today to the be oldest continuously inhabited city in the world), Tell el-Hammam puzzles researchers because it ceased to exist suddenly. No siege works are present in excavations, so the fact that the city was destroyed very quickly lends credence to the biblical account of the cosmic/divine destruction.
“Bergsma received insight into some remarkable discoveries from Steven Collins, the chief archaeologist at Tell el-Hammam. Among these discoveries were pottery shards coated with trinitite, a glassy substance formed when an atomic bomb detonates in a desert, as Bergsma explained. Additionally, human remains were uncovered, with skeletons intact up to the mid-spine, above which only scorch marks remained. These findings provide substantial evidence that a tremendous burst of heat from the sky incinerated the twin cities on the Jordanian side of the river.”
I’m not particularly interested in the asteroid hypothesis, because it tends to minimize the direct hand of the Lord, but if that is the method He used, fine. The point here is, there is “concrete” evidence for the destruction of the cities of the plain, as described in Genesis.
Besides the prophecies being fulfilled at an astonishing rate, this is also another Golden Age of archaeology in the region, as a new discovery routinely affirms Scripture.