Bible Study · Science and Technology

Was Sodom destroyed by an asteroid?

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a painting by John Martin, 1852
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a painting by English artist John Martin, 1852.


According to archeologists, about 3700 years ago a massive airburst meteor blasted a 25 km wide circular plain on the northeastern edge of the Dead Sea.

In an article in ‘Perth Now’, Jamie Seidel reports that the Trinity Southwest University archaeologist and biblical researcher Philip Silvia revealed these findings in a presentation to the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

3700 years ago, that is the time in which Abraham lived. Genesis 19 tells us the history of the destruction of Sodom. ‘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 plane and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.’ This is what we read in Genesis 19:24-25.

The LORD rained brimstone and fire from the LORD out of the heavens: a superheated asteroid exploding into a massive fireball could very well be what is being described here.

The archaeologist discovered that a disaster took place in that area, which was limited to a 25 km wide circular plain. Surrounding cities outside this area remained unscathed. Archaeologists discovered that there was a civilisation in that area which flourished for centuries, until, all of a sudden, the area suffered a civilisation-ending calamity. The most productive agricultural land in the region, which had supported flourishing civilisations continuously for at least 3000 years, all of a sudden became an arid plane, resisting human habitation. The archeologist Silva explains that the shockwave of the asteroid likely forced a tsunami of Dead Sea brine over what was once fertile farmland and made it a wasteland.

These discovered facts agree with what we read in the Bible. Genesis 13:10 describes the area of Sodom and Gomorra before their destruction as very fertile and well-watered. The asteroid as coming from heaven fits in the description in Genesis 19 of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

What to think of this?

Can we as Christians be happy that now again proof has been found that stories in the Bible are really true? (Some time ago I wrote an article on this site about the discovery of the seal of the prophet Isaiah)

Yes, it is interesting and encouraging to read that apparently, those Bible stories are not just mere myths but that now also scientists admit that they may be true stories. However, what does that change? We do know from the Bible that they are true stories. God is not telling us myths. What is more important: the scientists, journalists, and many other non-believers are not now all of a sudden going to believe that the Word of God is true. The only thing they say is: what is being described in the Bible, may be about something that indeed did happen.

The Bible describes the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as coming from the LORD. The Bible describes how Lot was warned by angels before it happened, and told to flee. The Bible also describes the reason for this destruction: the sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah. All these things which are also clearly written in the Bible, are willfully ignored by all those unbelievers.

What happened in the past, was that modern scientists and theologians started saying that all those stories were not true stories but myths; and based on those myths the people of Israel or the Christians made up those stories and introduced the element of God’s wrath and punishment; it all fit in so well with the Bible narrative, but wasn’t really true. And therefore we shouldn’t take the moralisation of those stories in the Bible seriously either. It was not about God’s wrath, it was about some events in nature which developed into the stories which we have in the Bible.

That was the story which scientists told us, for a long time. And then, recently, scientists discovered that really something did happen, which can very well be the events as described in the Bible. So those stories have some truth in it. But in the meantime, they have done away with God and God’s wrath and they can now conveniently read over it and ignore those parts. Because they have already decided in the past that it was not about God’s wrath.

Instead of saying: now we have proof that Sodom and Gomorrah were really destroyed and therefore we better believe all the rest that the Bible tells us in Genesis 18 and 19, they now say: interesting, what the Bible says about Sodom did happen, but it was only an asteroid and not from God.

Yes, sure, it may very well have been an asteroid that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but wasn’t that asteroid not sent by God? We believe that nothing happens without God directing it. God uses natural disasters to bring punishment. The Book of Revelation is full of all kinds of disasters that come over the earth. They all may very well be natural disasters or other disasters that mankind can explain. Nevertheless, they are all sent by God as a warning to those who reject Him. But Revelation also tells us that they will not repent and will continue on their evil way.

The same we see here: Sodom and Gomorrah were punished because of their sexual immorality, as well as their blatantly turning away from all God’s good commandments, about which the Bible tells us. There were not even ten who were righteous in Sodom (Genesis 18:32). But nobody wants to talk about that. That is conveniently left out of the picture. Because if that would be mentioned, it would be an indictment of the sinful lifestyle which is so heavily promoted in our western society.

We take note of this discovery. It may be an interesting fact for us to know how the destruction of Sodom happened. It may also be another encouragement for us, to know that the Bible doesn’t tell us myths. But it doesn’t change anything for us. It doesn’t change anything for unbelievers either. Even if God would send an angel from heaven which would perform all the miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did on this earth and even more, they would not believe. They will continue to do their best to suppress the truth in unrighteousness.