ESV - 20 Then the Lord said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave.
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There are a few proposed reasons as to why Sodom and Gomor'rah were destroyed. Whatever the sin was that incurred God's anger, we know that it was very great and caused not a single person of the cities to be counted righteous. Traditional answers include homosexuality, orgies and pedophilia, although some modern answers include (or argue exclusively) assaulting and raping the angels to be another reason for Sodom and Gomor'rah's demise. We know this from a reading of Genesis 18:16-19:29. Of note is the following verse: “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” (Genesis 19:5) Know, in Scripture, refers to sexual relations, so it is clear that active homosexuality was a great issue of these people. Outside of Genesis, we see in Isaiah 3:9 that they were also proud of their sins. Ezekiel 16:49 states: "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." Another possible cause could be found in Luke 17:28-30, the presumption of God's Mercy and time for repentance. Jude 1:7 identifies the men of Sodom as having "indulged in unnatural lust." Outside of Scripture, the Catechsim summarises the "sin of the Sodomites" as sodomy, pride, gluttony, negligence of the poor, and the abuse of children. I would argue therefore that it was a synthesis of the above issues. But it is clear that the most serious sin caused by the men of Sodom and Gomor'rah has to do with the flesh. Progressive Christians will sometimes argue that the main cause was inhospitality - it is quite funny to see how one makes the case that God destroyed Sodom and Gomor′rah because of the "grave sin" that "cries out to heaven" of... inhospitality. While it might be added to the list of the cities problems, it's humorous to think that God "rained on Sodom and Gomor′rah brimstone and fire" (Genesis 19:24) because the inhabitants didn't offer travelers some biscuits and coffee!
I believe [ Romans 1 ] sums up the attitudes, abominations, and abuses that caused God to bring judgment upon these cities, but first look at verses 1-16 and see the contrast of the attitudes, adoration, and attention to things of God that Paul talks about. There is not space to go into detail about how this chapter describes verse by verse the difference heart of the righteous and the sold out to unrighteousness, it speaks of the evolution or really devolution into depravity that humanity can sink into and still believe it is relative. Oh, that we in America might see some parallels to a steady descent into narcissistic, hedonistic, and paganistic attitude and actions, that will bring the kind of righteous judgment without repentance. May we as God's Children be in constant prayer and supplication for our country.
We know, as the above answers indicate, the serious sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The real reason Sodom and Gomorrah were victims of God's wrath (typically complete destruction, as in the Flood), was that they refused to repent of their sins. This situation is in contrast to Jonah and Nineveh where the population, beginning with the king, did repent, and were spared for several generations. There is always a warning coming from the prophets of impending wrath if people don't turn away from their sins. The prophet(s) sent to Sodom and Gomorrah are not necessarily indicated in the text, but we know God does nothing without informing the prophets beforehand (Amos 3:7). Lot may have been regarded as a prophet (he is called a righteous man in 2 Pet 2:7), but he failed to convince the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah to repent.
The Hebrew word which is translated to "Angel" in the Bible simply means "messenger". This could be a heavenly messenger or a human messenger. The messengers that came to Lot were not heavenly messengers, they were human beings. Ezekiel tells us WHY the cities were destroyed- for their arrogance, their over-abundance, they were unconcerned and they did not help the poor and needy. In other words, they were apathetic, selfish, did not trust stranters and did not want to share their abundance of goods or wealth with anyone, they were greedy and cruel, and they had no concern for travelers who required protection from the elements (turning away a traveler was tantamount to murder, as they could easily die without shelter or sustenance). The men of Lot's city were not homosexual or gay, ie., they did not hold attraction or affection for other men, they did not want to have sex with the messengers (men) they wanted to RAPE them. They were, however, everything Ezekiel said they were-- arrogant, unconcerned about anyone other than themselves, they had an abundance and did not want to share or to help the poor and needy. Rape is not an act stemming from attraction of affection. Rape is violence. Rape is about dominance, control, humiliation, and instilling fear and shame in the victim. Men rape other men for that very purpose to this day in parts of the world... it is not homosexuality, it is rape and violence. Homosexuality, or GAY is a man attracted to another man, capable of loving relationships. The word "homosexuality" is a modern word, unknown to the Israelites of Biblical times, other than associated with the worship of idols and pagan ritual. The same Hebrew word that was translated to "abomination" in the KJV ("toebah") was also used for eating pork or lobster, having sex with a woman on her period, and I believe toebah was also the word used regarding lies and false witness. Entirely different Hebrew words, translated to "abomination" were used for the really "bad stuff" like incest and bestiality. They are not all the same thing. Those laws were intended for the ancient Israelites and were not applicable to those living in other nations, unless someone from another kingdom wanted to live among the Hebrews, they would be welcome but would be required to live by their laws. One of my favorite songs says, "Angels don't fly they have no wings. It is another of those things, that we make up, that we believe. The real thing is not what we conceive.
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