Sodom & Gomorrah - Scientific Evidence
The Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of greatest mass destructions caused by God. The question remains, is it a true story or not? Biblical Archaeologists believe that it is a true story, but either internal earth gasses or the impact of an asteroid has always substantiated their reasoning. We have already analysed the story from Bible’s perspective. Now we will investigate the story from science’s perspective to see where the truth may lay.
To recap, the men of Sodom were wicked and disobedient to God, defying his power and his authority. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was thus the result of this behaviour. According to Biblical archaeologists, the story must have happened near the Dead Sea or the ‘cities of the plain’ as mentioned in Genesis (13:12), as Abraham could look upon the two prehistoric cities in ancient Israel from the area of Hebron.
Archaeologist Steven Collins, using information from the Bible and archaeological evidence from the site of Tall el-Hammam in Jordan, suggested that he located Sodom to the northeast of the Dead Sea. However, his suggestion has not been accepted by other biblical archaeologists for two reasons: a) geographical misplacement and b) chronological misplacement. Therefore, if Tall el-Hammam is indeed Sodom then the Bible cannot be used as a rule for accurate dates and locations.
Another, more popular, opinion is that the cities of Bad dh-Dhra and Numeira, which are the only known inhabited towns in the region of the Dead Sea for the period of time between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE, could be the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah respectively. Both of these towns were simultaneously destroyed at the end of the Early Bronze III period by an enormous fire so big as to create debris three feet thick. The question here is what could have caused such destruction? The excavations in the area point to falling burning debris. This is where geologist Frederick Clapp suggests that a release of the subterranean substance called bitumen (a derivative of petroleum) during an earthquake may account for the debris. According to his theory, it ignited in the air and led to a shower of flaming debris that destroyed both of the cities.
Another theory that has created debate between archaeologists is based on an Assyrian clay tablet showing that an asteroid may have destroyed the two cities. A Sumerian astronomer inscribed this Cuneiform clay tablet around 700 BCE. It shows the trail of an asteroid hitting Kofels in Austria around 3000 BCE, which also may account for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In both suggestions, the descriptions of such events by ancient people could very well identify with the description in Genesis:
Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. Genesis 19:24
Yet until definite proof is presented, we must ask ourselves if the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah could have been the result of ‘God’s’ actions?
By John Black