“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.” (Genesis 19:24-25)
Some time ago archaeologist Dr. Phillip Silva proposed to the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) a theory that Sodom was destroyed by a meteor.
Silva, together with Dr. Steven Collins, has for the years been excavating at Tall el-Hammam, located on the Jordanian side of the southern part of the Jordan valley. Tall el-Hammam itself was an ancient city-state ruling a territory covering 125 square miles, an area today referred to as the Jordan Disk, or Kikkar, where the five cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Zoar used to stand. According to Silva and Collins, Tall el-Hammam is Sodom.
In their article, Collins and Silva came to the conclusion that 3,700 years ago, a cosmic airburst event obliterated the civilization that was thriving in what up until then was a lush and fertile region. The Bible says that it was “like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt” (Genesis 13:10).
According to a paper submitted by the team, “archaeological data collected from across the entire occupational footprint of Tall el-Hammam [demonstrates] a directionality pattern for the high-heat, explosive 3.7kaBP Middle Ghor [another name for the region] Event that, in an instant, devastated approximately 500 km2 immediately north of the Dead Sea, not only wiping out 100% of the Middle Bronze Age cities and towns, but also stripping agricultural soils from once-fertile fields and covering the eastern Middle Ghor with a super-heated brine of Dead Sea anhydride salts pushed over the landscape by the Event’s frontal shockwaves. Based upon the archaeological evidence, it took at least 600 years to recover sufficiently from the soil destruction and contamination before civilization could again become established in the eastern Middle Ghor.”
Silva and Collins believe that their explanation best fits the evidence, and is therefore more probable than other theories that either take the biblical description literally (ie. sulfurous fire miraculously blasted out of heaven), or assume some kind of natural event like a tectonic shift that caused the five cities to sink beneath the Dead Sea.
An exploding meteor confined to an area that happens to be exactly where Sodom and Gomorrah were, that took place at the time of the biblical narrative, does provide a possible scientific explanation to what the Bible presents as divine wrath. In fact, the two accounts don’t contradict one another. Rather, they demonstrate how science can actually substantiate a major miracle, which more often than not took the form of a singular natural phenomenon corresponding with a particular trend in human behavior or event.
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