Sodom and Gomorra
Emerging from the ark, Noah and his family tread upon and looked upon a shattered earth. It looked nothing like it did before the flood. I have always imagined it rather bare, with small trees beginning to grow and dead wood lying about. To be honest, the destruction was beyond description. They needed no convincing that the flood had come, but they did need assurance, a very real assurance that it would not happen again. In His mercy, God granted them this assurance. God said: “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud (Genesis 9:11-14).
I cannot imagine the joy that must have filled Noah and his family at hearing these words of assurance that never again would there be a repetition of the deluge that twice before has covered the earth. The first time at the opening of creation, and second during Noah’s time.
It is interesting to note that the token of God’s assurance that there would never again be a flood is in itself and indicator that points us to the fact that there had been a monumental change in the environment. Specifically, the conditions required to produce the rainbow never existed before the water mantle broke. The water vapor held in the atmosphere would have ben a barrier to the direct sunlight required in order to refract and produce the colors of the visible light spectrum. Now that the more heavily condensed band of water above the earth had passed away, direct visible sunlight could readily pass through the thin dispersion of water droplets in the earth’s atmosphere and create the rainbow phenomenon. So, here we have yet another example of biblical language in that God says the He “set the rainbow in the cloud.” The rainbow is a natural phenomenon, but God takes the responsibility for it since He is Creator of all nature.
What is interesting by this statement in our last paragraph is that God was not responsible for the Noachic flood. The flood came in spite of His efforts because God removed himself from where he was not wanted. Therefore, His statement that there would never again be a flood of water of the size to destroy the whole world was not to restrain Himself, but a prediction of what the future would hold. Specifically, the prophecy is limited to a flood of water. It does not ensure against the deluge of fire by which the earth will finally be consumed. (II Peter 3:5-7).
For there to be another flood on the scale of Noah’s flood the condition necessary to produce it must also exist, and they must exist as they did before Noah’s time. The only way total flooding could reoccur would be for the polar caps to melt, and mountains to be leveled into the ocean depths, and in general, the landmasses reduced to about the same elevation. All the water that covered the earth on the first days of creation, which then returned to submerge it again is still here. Therefore, it would cover the earth if it was evenly distributed over the surface again.
Should the Lord withdraw His sustaining presence from the earth, convulsions of this magnitude are not impossible and in fact, will happen again, but the result is not seen in the flood of water, Rather, a flood of fire will engulf the planet.
These floods, first of water and lastly of fire, are not disconnected. The former is the parent of the latter. This relationship should be clearly understood.
Generally, we do not associate water as producing fire, for water is most commonly used to extinguish a fire. However, the waters of the flood were the means whereby enormous amounts of fuel were burned under the earth and will be provided to fire the last great holocaust.
Moreover, the flood, through itself long since over, survives in the form of offspring. Some roam the earth as storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, and tempests, others are confined to specific locations such as volcanoes, geysers, and any other geothermal activities, while still others break forth in expected and unexpected spots as earthquakes and tidal waves. All are devoted to the missions of destruction.
The flood marks the time division between original tranquility and the aberrations of nature. Of every one of these deviations from God’s original scheme of things, the flood is also the parent. These disturbances may be divided into two categories: Those found in the earth, and the others in the atmosphere.
The first of these include volcanic eruptions, thermal activities, earthquakes, and tidal waves. The later are storms, tempests, hurricanes, blizzards tornadoes, typhoons, floods, and drought.
At the time of the flood, “the fountains of the great deep were broken up” (Genesis 7:11), and water came up from below, in addition to the great downpour from above. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air is the way some have recounted what took place.
Problems arising within the earth were spawned when the earth’s crust suffered this breakage. The inner molten materials are brought near the surface in many locations and in many cases erupt onto the surface of the earth. Water and other substances result in sudden shifts of the rocks beneath the surface, resulting in earthquakes. When earthquakes or volcanoes occur under the sea, tidal waves and tsunamis are launched.
Thus, the flood is truly the parent of all these troubles within the earth itself.
Weather, as it is today, is the product of conditions brought about by the flood. The redistribution of land and water masses, the location of mountains and flat lands, and the inequalities of climate, all formed by the flood, are the determining factors in producing atmospheric problems from their mildest to their wildest forms.
What tremendous changes the flood set up, producing results that reach down to the end of time. The destruction initiated at the flood but halted before it consumed all things will then break forth to completion. Those fires that contribute to the decimation of the earth at the second coming and finally at the end of the millennium will also be the offspring of the flood, as remaining deposits of coal and oil in the earth will contribute to the fuels of these final conflagrations. Undoubtedly, there will be other sources of fire coming at that time as well. The inner molten materials will be released at unprecedented rates and volume, as there are no restraining protections in place to keep the mantle of the earth from breaking apart in continuance of the chaos initiated at the flood. As the liquefied elements release under great pressure, they will spew high into the atmosphere, as did the waters from under the earth during the time of the flood, to rain back down upon the earth in torrents of molten fire, as “from God out of Heaven” (Revelation 20:9).
We have no way of knowing for certain what other mechanisms may contribute to the fires, but it is not outside the realm of possibility that there may be burning materials coming from outside of earth’s atmosphere in the form of meteoric showers or other material.
Additionally, it seems probable that humanity’s activities will play their role. We know that under the sixth plague the forces of the world will turn upon the New World Order/ Babylonian system and “burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16; see also Revelation 18:8, 9). Satan delights in war and bloodshed, and by this point in earth’s history, there will be a tremendous buildup of horrific weapons of mass destruction. Undoubtedly, as the earth has been completely given over to the control of Satan, these will be unleashed, and the conflagration will be unlike anything the world has ever witnessed.
Drought and flood, tempest and earthquake, tidal wave and hurricane, volcano and fire are the cataclysm’s unruly children that will plague earth dwellers till the end and especially at the end as we can read in Revelation 16 pertaining to Armageddon and the closing scenes at the second coming of Christ (see also Revelation 6:14-17).
Not every area is afflicted with all these scourges. In fact, some parts are apparently free from them. This explains why some centers of sin pass unscathed year after year while others seemingly less iniquitous are struck down with shocking suddenness. Those cities located right where one of these children of the flood resides need to be far more careful than those in positions more favored. For years the giant of destruction will remain unseen or manifest itself only in mild forms, because the restraining power of God holds it in check while He seeks to woo men and women from their danger and while there remains in the city a faithful remnant for whose sake He will continue His restraint. But during this time the unwitting inhabitants continue to resist His appeals until finally he has no choice but to leave them to their desires.
The unfettered monster then bursts with unannounced fury upon the unprotected heads and homes of the abandoned sinners, whose destruction may be as total in the area where they are as it was over the whole earth when the flood came.
Sodom and Gomorrah were a case in point. The Scriptures reports the devastation of those cities and their peoples in the same way that all the other destructions which fell upon abandoned sinners are described. “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, an all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground (Genesis 19:24, 25).
To millions of Bible readers, these words have pictured God as personally pouring great sheets of liquid fire from His own hands upon the hapless victims below. But those who have come to learn and accept the principles of God’s character, as explored in this series, and who have learned to use the Bible as its own dictionary, know that such an interpretation is wholly incorrect.
Rather, the true biblical interpretation of these words is that the Lord had no option but he with draw and leave the wicked to the fate they had chosen. This He did only when every means and appeal had been totally exhausted and there was nothing more He could do. Then, whatever potential destruction was lurking in the area was unleashed. The result was terminal.
There is always great value in assessing the implications of a certain belief, so study will now be given to see in what image God is cast by the belief that He personally poured fire down upon the dwellers of the plains. Only a certain kind of God would do this.
Death by fire is one of the cruelest and most feared ways to die. On February 1, 1974, a fire started in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Read the following except from the 1975 Britannica Book of the Year: “A fire started by an electrical short-circuit in the air-conditioner, engulfed the upper fourteen stories of a new constructed twenty-five story bank building, trapping hundreds of workers as the flames fed on combustible interior-finish materials; due to inadequate escape facilities, at least two hundred an twenty-seven persons lost their lives.
Those in the higher floors above the fire found themselves cut off. As the fire advanced upward, many chose to die by leaping from the upper levels rather than face the hungry flames.
In the jungles and forests it is the thing most feared by the animal kingdom. Beasts and reptiles lose all fear of each other as they flee pell-mell from the roaring flames. There is good reason, for death by fire is a horrible death.
Think of yourself as facing the dead penalty, the only consolation being that the choice of how you will die is given to you. The choices are firing squad, gassing, the electric chair, and beheading, hanging, or being burned alive. None of these is a pleasant prospect, but when you sit and think of your body being roasted while you were still alive, you know that that is the very last choice you would make. It is not difficult to realize that this is the kind of death which a judge or king would impose upon a person whose death he wished to make as painful as possible.
It is not a pleasant scene to dwell upon. Yet it must be visualized as realistically as possible so that it can be comprehended that no God of mercy, justice, and love would ever behave in such a way to personally and deliberately inflict a death of this nature upon anyone.
The ability to do certain things reveals the disposition within the doer. It is not possible for any being in the universe, including God to do everything. The truth of this statement is confined to the spiritual and ethical side of the person. Admittedly, God has the physical power by which He can do anything. But while He has the might, there are some things His character will never permit Him to do. If God poured the fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, it could only be because it was in Him to do so. It had to be a part of Character. Therefore, God has within Him a spirit of cruelty by which He is motivated to select the cruelest possible death for those who have refused to obey Him. Without that, He could never have treated the Sodomites as He is accused of having done.
But that is not God’s character. He is not cruel, sadistic, and revengeful. He would never select the worst conceivable punishment and then administer it to those who did not appreciate His ways and acted contrary to His ideas.
Terrible are the implications of believing that God determined that the cities of the plain should be consumed by fire and then proceeded to do so. It is to equate Him with the false church or Babylon, those constant practice was to burn to death those who refused to submit to her assumed authority. Something of the seriousness of this is manifested when it is recognized that the false church is Satan’s masterpiece of misrepresentation of God’s character. If we wish to understand what God is not, then behold the principles and practices of the church of Babylon or the false Christian church. The way God is supposed to have behaved at Sodom and Gomorrah is exactly as the false church or Babylon would have behaved if she had been in God’s position. Therefore, how God is thought to have behaved is certainly not the way He conducted His affairs there.
The church, the antichristian church, went forth to convert the people to her religious beliefs and service. When her efforts were unsuccessful, she (the church) began to exert pressure upon them until, when it was clear that the subjects of her had no mind to ever obey her, she cruelly destroyed them with fire. In doing this, she represented herself not only as administering the will of God but of doing so as she and Satan would have to believed God does it.
In all of this the false church was carrying out Satan’s plans. The very fact that this is the way of the false church is certain denial of its being God’s way for if anyone wishes to know what God is not, let him behold the character of the false or anti-Christian church is, and what she does. Then counter that if one wishes to know what God is, then let him look to the life of Jesus Christ. Never will the two witnesses agree.
The ultimate witness to the character of God is found in those who have drawn so near to Him as to possess His character. Such a people cannot be brought to take up any weapon of destruction against anyone, not even their very worst enemies. They would must rather die themselves than take the life of another. That is the example of the life of . He would rather die Himself than require that the life of another be taken. This is the ultimate outliving of t the injection to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. A God who counseled this kind of behavior as the reflection of His own could never pour fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. He did there just what He did on every other occasion. He did not “stand toward the sinner as an executioner or the sentence against transgression” but He left “the rejecters of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown.”
If the Lord of heaven did not act the part of an executioner and personally pour fire on those cities, then how were they destroyed? Are we left with no scientific information to reveal the nature of that disaster?
There is a considerable amount of information available if careful search is made to it, through hampering the search is the relative uncertainty as to where these cities actually stood.
There are those scholars who have looked for the cities on the northern side of the Dead Sea, but other scholars seek these cities underneath the waters of the southern end of the Dead Sea. Arguments for this view are more numerous and weighty: (1) The “valve of Siddim” in which these cities were located is identified with the “salt sea” in Genesis 14:3. The Northern two-thirds of the present Dead Sea reaches a depth of one thousand, three hundred and twenty-eight feet, and must have existed as early as Abraham’s time, but the depth of the southern part nowhere exceeds sixteen feet. Submerged trees show that part of this area was dry in relatively modern times, and accurate measurements have shown that the level of the sea has been steadily rising during the last century.
(2) Asphalt is found at the southern end of the Dead Sea, while the Vale of Siddim is said to have been “full of slime pits,” (RSV bitumen pits Genesis 14:10). Bitumen, or asphalt, still erupts from the bottom of the southern part of the Dead Sea and floats to the shore.
(3) Statements made by classical authors, Diodorus Siculus (ii. 48, 7-9), Strabo (Georgr. Xvi 2. 42-44). Tacitus (Hist. v. 6, 7), and Josephus (War iv. 8. 4), describe an area south of the Dead Sea (presumably now covered by its rising water) as scorched by a fiery catastrophe that destroyed several cities whose burned remains were still visible in their day. Foul gases are said to emerge from the fissures of the ground. Compare Deuteronomy 29:23.
(4) Geologists have found oil and natural gases in the ground at the southern end of the Dead Sea, which is the same time an area frequently disturbed by earthquakes, hence furnished all the conditions for the catastrophe described in the Bible, if God used natural means in the destruction of the cities (see above). Furthermore, Jebel Usdum, the “Mount of Sodom,” at the southwestern shore of the Dead Sea, consists of 50 per cent rock salt. Some have conjectured that in an upheaval during the destruction of Sodom some of this salt may have been dislodged and may have buried Lot’s wife, pillar over her to form a “Pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).
(5) A number of streams enter the southern part of the Dead Sea from the east, in a region that is still very fertile, and it is reasonable to believe that the whole valley now forming the southernmost part of the Dead Sea was once that exceptionally fertile plain, one fitting the Bible description which compare the land with the Garden of Eden and the Nile Valley (Genesis 13:10).
In 1924 W. F. Abright discovered Bab edh-Dhra, a site on the El Lisan peninsula in the southern part of the Dead Sea . . . and thought it to be religious and rallying venter of the cities of the plain, now covered by the waters of the Dead Sea.
This statement gives excellent reasons for concluding that he site of those ancient cities was at the southern end of the Dead Sea. But it also tells some further interesting facts about the area.
“Bitumen, or asphalt, still erupts from the bottom of the southern part of the Dead Sea and floats to the shore . . . Geologist have found oil and natural gases in the ground at the southern end of the Dead Sea, which is at the same time an area frequently disturbed by earthquakes.”
In ancient times the Elamites, Chaldeans, Akkadians, and Sumerians mined shallow deposits of asphalt, or bitumen, for their own use. Mesopotamian bitumen was exported to Egypt where it was employed for various purposes, including the preservation of mummies. The Dead Sea was known as Lake Asphalites (from which the term asphalt was derived) because of the lumps of semisolid petroleum that were washed up on its shores from underwater seeps (Encyclopedia Britannica, “Heavy oil and tar sand”).
Even today the southern region of the Dead Sea is rich in asphalt. Inflammable gasses still escape from rock crevices in the area. Asphalt rising to the surface of the southern part of the Dead Sea gave to it the name Lake Asphaltitis in classical times. Massive lumps of asphalt floating on the surface are often of sufficient size to support several persons. Asphalt, Sulphur, and other combustible materials have been reclaimed and exported from this region for years.
Asphalt, oil, natural and highly inflammable gases and earthquakes are not common to every part of the world, but they are a combination often found together. Where they are found indicates a spot where enormous amounts of vegetable material in the form of plants and trees together with animal and human carcasses were buried at the flood. Where such materials are found there is a formation of coal, oil, gas, and petroleum that may or may not ignite. If it doesn’t thermal activity will result, usually accompanied by earthquakes and tremors.
Before the flood there were immense forests. The tree were many time larger than any trees which we now see. They were of great durability. They would know nothing of decay for hundreds of years. At the time of the flood these forests were torn up or broken down and buried in the earth. In some places large quantities of these immense trees were thrown together and covered with stones and earth by the commotions of the flood. They have since petrified and become coal, which accounts for the large coal beds which are now found. This cool had produced oil. God causes large quantities of coal and oil to ignite and burn. Rocks are intensely heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. Water and fire under the surface of the earth meet. The action of the water upon the limestone adds fury to the intense heat and causes earthquakes, volcanoes and fiery issues. The action of fire and water upon the ledges of rocks and ore, causes loud explosions which should like muffled thunder. These wonderful exhibitions will be more numerous and terrible just before the coming of Christ and the end of the world, as sings of it speedy destruction.
Coal and oil are generally to be found where there is no burning mountains or fiery issues. When fire and water under the surface of the earth meet, the fiery issues cannot give sufficient vent to the heated elements beneath. The earth is convulsed – the ground trembles, heaves and rises into swells or waves, and there are heavy sounds like thunder underground. The air is heated and suffocating. The earth quickly opens, and spews forth its toxic gases, fire and superheated water or lava and in some cases swallowing up whole cities and villages..
Nothing the expressions pertaining to underground thunder in the above text, we need only do a little searching to find out that these events are now happening. We can find many instances in the news reports from recent years of these muffled explosions being heard in various location. In an article titled “Mystery of ‘the Earthquake Boom’ – a real earthquake” we read: On June 11, 2003 the first volcanism article, Volcanoes In California, Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Building Towards Catastrophic Eruptions, reveals a startling discovery to science – the ‘earthquake boom’. . . . Currently a mystery to seismologists, a powerful explosion sound which eludes detection by the vest of seismographs, is a real earth event and should be correctly classified as an ‘earthquake.’ The rare earthquake boom is part of a ‘family’ of five types of events the earth can generate of which only two are known by science. It is important for residents near volcanoes to be aware of the ‘earthquake boom’, although an unnerving experience, doesn’t indicate an actual explosion occurred or that eruption is imminent. . . .
An Earthquake Boom is a very loud, deep sounding explosion, which emanates from the earth. If directly above emanation, directional determination may be difficult as sound is not from a distinct direction as it is from a wide area of earth’s surface. It is a higher frequency audio from the traditional shaking earthquake even though current seismographs cannot ‘see’ or ‘record’ them. Scalar devices are able to clear ‘see’ these events along with the rest of the earthquake ‘family’ of earth-generated events such as the ‘silent’ or ‘slow’ earthquake. Another relative to the ‘family’ is the earth ‘lurch’ and a ‘fast version of slow’ earthquake – these yet to be discovered by mainstream science.
These loud explosions have been witnessed by many over the years. They also accompany traditional earthquakes as these are part of the mix of seismic activity (earthquake and earthquake boom) (Larry Park, Terra Research LLC, http://terraresearch.net/article1.htm (accessed February 28:2012)).
Whenever there is a spot on the earth where enormous amounts of vegetation have been buried to petrify into coal and oil, there is the potential for volcanic eruptions and devastating earthquakes. The evidences still existing today show that Sodom and Gomorrah and their associated villages and towns were located over just such a spot.
They were in danger constantly, for they were living over a powder keg, a disaster that was only waiting to happen. But he Lord desired their salvation. He was as loathe to see them perish as He is to see anyone destroyed. So He filled His usual role of Protector of those wicked cities, while His Spirit pleaded with them to repent and escape the wrath to come. But they would not, and the time came when finally the protecting Presence had to be withdrawn, leaving no power to control the seething elements beneath the ground. Long held back, when released they exploded in one spectacular and all-consuming fireball of destruction that filled the heavens above where they stood and the earth where they rested.
It was not something that God sent in the sense that He decreed what should happen to them and then personally used His power to see that it happened. Rather it came, not because the Lord brought it, but because He could not hold it back any longer. There was no one the Sodomites could blame for their destruction but themselves.
The burning of the cities on the plain is not an event singular to them. There is a modern counterpart to this in the destruction of St. Pierre on May 8, 1902. The story is told in a book by Hal Butler titled Nature at war.
It was on May 8, 1902 that the town of St. Pierre, on the lush West Indies Island of Martinique abruptly died. At exactly 7:50 A.M. on the disastrous morning, 4,583-foot Mont Pelee – a long dormant volcano-blew its top in one of the world’s most cataclysmic explosions.
The French-held island of Martinique shuddered like a stricken giant at the violent eruption. From the yawning mouth of the volcano, a huge black cloud of superheated air and gas emerged that rolled down the sloping side of the mountain like a monstrous tumbleweed. In its path, at the foot of the mountain, lay the harbor town of St. Pierre. Within seconds the cloud swept over the city. Street by street, buildings leaped into instant flame and people were turned into human torches. The hideous black ball – its core later estimated to have been at least 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit – quickly reduced St. Pierre to smoldering ashes. Only two people survived the fiery devastation, and the rest of the populace more than 30,000 died.
Elapsed time from the moment of eruption to extinction of the city was less than two minutes! (pp. 131, 132).
We have no eyewitness accounts of the destruction of ancient cities as we have here of the modern decimation of St. Pierre, only the terse Bible statement of what God did there.
Yet the similarities between the two situations are very obvious. Both were located in an area of intense volcanic and earthquake activity and both were suddenly overcome by the descent of fire upon them of such ferocity and intensity that the cities were obliterated, never to be rebuilt, and the population was exterminated but for very few survivors. In the case of Sodom, there were only three, Lot and his two daughters. In St. Pierre, only two in the city and the family who fled just in time escaped death.
Like Sodom, St. Pierre was a place of abandoned wickedness. Here is the description of it as given in our source by Hal Butler: In 1902, St. Pierre, on the western coast of the island and only four miles from Mont Pelee, was Martinique’s major city. Twelve miles to the south was Fort-de-France, the capital of the island, but his was a small village that bore no resemblance to glittering St. Pierre. France was proud of St. Pierre; indeed, the French often referred to the city as the “Little Paris” or “The Paris of the West” because of its sparkling social life.
In addition to being the social capital of the island, St. Pierre was also the commercial center. One of its major industries was the rum distillery, and its principle business street, Rue Victor Hugo, was lined with banks, stores and other commercial establishments. The “Paris of the West” was also equipped to cater to both the welfare of the soul and the gratification of the flesh, for it boasted a stately Catholic cathedral and several parish churches, along with a theater were actors from France entertained, cafes, nightclubs and assorted emporiums designed specifically for uninhibited revelry.
The French colonists, whose ancestors had settled on Martinique generations before, represented the elite of the island. They owned and supervised plantations producing tobacco, coffee, cacao and sugarcane. Most of them had built ostentatious villas in the mountains and spent much of their time either relaxing at these summer homes or sipping cognac in St. Pierre’s hotels and inns. This wealthy group of Pierrotins – as residents of St. Pierre were called – numbered about 7000.
Most of the city’s 23,000 other inhabitants were blacks. The men usually bare chested and dressed in canvas trousers and hats made of bamboo grass – were typically handsome; the women couched their natural beauty in colorful robes and turbans and strode the streets with trays and baskets of salable goods balanced on their heads. The waterfront was a scene of continuous activity as stevedores loaded and unloaded ships calling at what was one of the most profitable port in the Caribbean.
This was St. Pierre in 1902 – a city that had every reason to believe in its future but a city that had no future at all.
Life in St. Pierre and Sodom followed a similar pattern. Sodom and Gomorrah were places where study was given to the development of every means whereby the desires of the flesh could be gratified and, from the description given here, so was St. Pierre. Thus the very things that caused the departure of the restraining and protecting spirit of God in the ancient situation were also present in this fair city. In both cases the balmy climate and abundant wealth tended to stimulate this pursuit for the licentious, until a fever pitch was reached.
It is not to be supposed that Sodom was irreligious, for in those days worship of the sun god was the devoted spiritual exercise of those peoples. Wherever this religious influences has been present, it has encouraged licentiousness and immorality of all kinds. It was in this way in Martinique as well in that the local religion was like a spawning ground for various types of sin and wickedness. The same religious influences, therefore, that which brought Sodom and Gomorrah to the pitch of wickedness and total unrestrained rejection of God also brought the inhabitants of St. Pierre to that same point.
St. Pierre, then, provides us with a splendid illustration of the death of Sodom and Gomorrah. God did the same thing in both the ancient and the modern situation for the same reason. He left the rejecters of His mercy to themselves to reap that which they had sown and He did that because that was what the people in each case demanded of Him. Because the cities concerned were sitting over a time bomb just waiting to go off in the form of a volcanic eruption, that was the fate of which overtook them. In other words, they died, not because God decreed that this was the way it should be but because that was the potential destructive threat under which they lived.
A wide variety of destructions befall the wicked. There are those who, as in the cases of Sodom, Gomorrah, and St. Pierre, are wiped out by volcanic eruptions, while others are taken by flood, earthquake, hurricane, hailstorm; accidents by air, sea, and land; faint conflagrations in forest and buildings; famine; or the safe outburst of human wrath. The only consistent pattern through it all is that the disaster is according to the potential of destruction common to the area. This denies the charge that God personal took hold of the powers of nature and manipulates them according to His design to punish sinners. God has the power to create any kind of destruction at will. He is not bound to the particular peril present in a given area. Being a God of utter justice and consistency would require Him to punish the same offenses with the same punishments. But his is not what happened. The same offenses are dealt with by widely varying punishments always according to the destructive potential of the place where the offenders reside.
The nature and location of these catastrophes are clear proof that they are not the work of God. They occur because of the presence, in scattered area of the earth, the pockets of potential destruction seeded at the time of the flood. Those who live in such areas need the protecting care of God more than do others who live where there is a lesser threat. But by their impenitent living, they grieve away the shield of omnipotence, thereby exposing themselves to the terrible storms of earthquakes, fires, floods, volcanic eruptions or whatever else is poised to obliterate them. Therefore, they suffer the awful consequences of the withdrawal of Gods presence as others in more favorable places do not.
This does not infer that there are entirely safe places on earth, for this is not true. As the withdrawal of God’s presence becomes more extensive, the powers of nature are reaching out to waste areas previously untouched. As we draw nearer to the end, this will become universal.
There is no problem in understanding what God did at Sodom, Gomorrah, and St. Pierre and if care is taken to consider all the implications and if the principles that govern God’s behavior are carefully kept in mind.
In our next post we will examine “An Execution”
We will discuss and learn of what we should say about all of the slaughters that took place not at the hand of God but at His command, such as at the rebellion of the golden calf?
Did God fulfill the role of a destroyer at last?
Did God put the sword in the hands of His people? How so? If not, then what was God’s intent regarding how the inheritance of Israel, the Promised Land, was to be taken?
Did the Israelites have any good reason to take up the sword? Did they know any better?
What are the implications of Jesus’ statement to Peter that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword? Was this a new principle? Why or why not?