New evidence solves mystery of Sodom and Gomorrah
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Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara say they now know what caused the destruction of these biblical cities.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - We know the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah existed, and we know they were destroyed in a cataclysmic event. We even know that event occurred quickly, involved extreme heat and fire, and leveled the towns while killing thousands of people. The physical evidence of this is abundant. What is not known is precisely what happened. By what mechanism were the cities destroyed?
Until recently, the leading explanation has been some kind of volcanic activity. The region is seismically active, and volcanic activity did occur in the area in ancient and prehistoric times. However, this explanation still hasn't satisfied all experts who point to a number of other oddities that cannot easily be explained. For example, where's the volcanic crater or lava flow? Why is there evidence of shocked quartz in the area? Why did ancient people abandon the area if they were not affected by the destruction of these towns?
Professor James Kennett of the University of California at Santa Barbara examined the evidence and concluded there was a better explanation --a cosmic fireball. Specifically, the site of Sodom and Gomorrah is below a point where an ancient meteor exploded, just before impact.
Such events have happened before, but none have claimed lives, at least not in in the span of recorded history. In fact, large meteor impacts happen somewhat frequently, but they normally happen high in the atmosphere and over unpopulated regions, such as the middle of the ocean, so they are not reported. Only in recent times, with satellites spying for the telltale signs of a nuclear explosion, was the frequency of such events realized. In 1908, a large object detonated over Siberia, flattening hundreds of acres of forest. No people were killed, only because the meteor exploded in a remote area. But the blast zone, which is still littered with millions of fallen trees (80 million trees across 830 square miles), can still be seen today. And in 2013, another such event happened in Chelyabinsk, caused by a smaller meteor. That event sent thousands of people to hospitals with injuries from flying glass and debris, although no people were killed.
It is therefore, well within the realm of possibility that the same thing could have happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.
There is a fair amount of evidence. Human remans show signs of being blown up in a massive explosion, something that does not typically happen to people in volcanic eruptions. Pottery and other materials were melted, suggesting the temperatures were extreme, the same kind of temperatures that are caused by such a blast. Melted metals, including iron, are present in the soils, something that an iron meteorite would produce if it exploded above the ground. And shocked quartz, a fingerprint of a cosmic explosion, is also found across the region. Volcanoes do not produce this kind of evidence. Finally, large quantities of salt in the soil suggest the nearby Dead Sea was disturbed, showering the region with salt-water, something that could happen if such an explosion occurred near or over the water.
None of this is to suggest that God wasn't involved. A proper understanding of the Biblical account is that the people themselves brought judgement down, because they were exceptionally sinful, down to the last few persons. And we cannot place limits on God, suggesting that He must, or may not use natural means to serve His will.
Whatever happened to Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning for all people, across all time. We all must die, and for some death will come quickly, even violently. However, the final disposition of our soul is one thing we can choose. As awful as it must have been for the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah to die in a violent cataclysm, it cannot compare to the awful fate of damnation, reserved for the unrepentant.
We know not the hour.
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