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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Is Mankind "evolving" about homosexuality?



According to The Blaze, Christians are “evolving.” The story, based on the latest Pew religion poll, claims that, as a society, we are becoming more accepting of homosexuality, and The Blaze sees that as progress. 
 
Evolving from what? Evolving compared to when? Sodom had a homosexual society 4,000 years ago.

Actually, there has been a more recent take on Sodom. This is not one of those silly stories that float around the Internet like “Egyptian Chariot Wheels Found Under the Red Sea!” Unlike that story, this story is coming from an actual professor of archaeology who has been digging for ten years at a site he believes to be Sodom. Professor Steven Collins of Trinity Southwestern University set out in 2005 with a basic premise: Sodom can’t be where everyone thinks it is.

Genesis chapter 13 describes Abraham and Lot deciding to separate their flocks, and Abraham giving Lot first dibs on what part of the land he wanted. Verse 3 of chapter 13 suggests that this discussion might have taken place between Bethel and Ai, a few miles northwest of Jericho. If that is true, then when verse 10 says, ‘Lot looked east toward the district of the Jordan’ and saw Sodom, he couldn’t have been looking all the way to the south end of the Dead Sea; it is well over 50 miles away from Bethel. 
 
The second clue Collins sees is the reference to the “district of the Jordan.” Since the Jordan River ends when it enters the Dead Sea, almost due east of Bethel/Ai, it's hard to imagine the southern end of the Dead Sea being called the 'district of the Jordan'.



Clue #3 for Collins is the rest of verse 10, which says the “district of the Jordan was well-watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” ‘Garden of Eden’ and ‘land of Egypt’ imply greenery, crops, and palm trees. Archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, who spent a lot of time in the Jericho area, just east and downhill from Bethel and Ai said: “The view to the east from Jericho in the late afternoon, with the palm trees and banana groves of the oasis in the foreground, is one of the most beautiful I know.” 
 
The south end of the Dead Sea, by contrast, looks like Arizona during a particularly tough summer.

So when Collins stood on a mountain near Bethel and looked east, past Jericho, the spot he saw that most resembled the ‘Garden of Eden’ was the delta where the Jordan fans out, watering a circle of land approximately 12 miles in diameter before draining into the Dead Sea. Even the circular appearance of the plain matches the text: the word translated “district” can also be translated ‘circle.’ So he decided to excavate the largest ancient site within that circle, Tall el Hammam.

The generally accepted belief has been that ruins at Tall el Hammam are the remains of biblical Shittim or Abel Shittim. Here’s the problem with that theory: Shittim is a place where Israel camped before entering the Promised Land (Numbers 33:49), as in open space, water and trees... not a city. Nowhere in the Bible is it referred to as a city. 
 
Now, Collins hasn’t found a buried sign reading “Sodom City Limits,” but neither has he found a sign reading “Entering Shittim.” Archaeologists almost never do. But what he has found makes Tall el Hammam more likely Sodom than Shittim; or, more precisely, the city of Sodom and later, a ruin, a campsite called Shittim.

According to the Bible, Sodom was city with a wall, a gate, and a public square. (Genesis 19:1, 2) It was not a campsite or a small village. It had already existed for a hundred or more years before Lot moved there. (Genesis 10:19) 
 
The account of its destruction does not say, ‘Sodom will never be rebuilt.’ However, whenever it is mentioned afterward in the Bible it is used as a metaphor for destruction. So if a city was later built on or near the site of Sodom, it would not likely have been right away, and any new city built on the site would not likely have been called Sodom.

According to Collins’ archaeological timeline, (as opposed to biblical chronology) the city buried at Tall el Hammam existed a few hundred years before Lot, with a massive wall and gate. It and several nearby excavations show a total simultaneous destruction layer not accompanied by any evidence of military conquest. After the destruction layer, it and the nearby cities remained uninhabited for 500-700 years before new structures began being built on top of the remains. 
 
Considering the location – a hilltop with good sight lines, reliable water supply, roughly the same distance east of the Jordan fords that Jericho is west of the fords – its being left uninhabited for so long is puzzling. But if the site were believed by the locals to have been miraculously destroyed by God, that puzzle is solved.

So Collins’ formula, “Right place, right time, right stuff,” convinces him. Tall el Hammam could be the right place, biblically, for Sodom. Its archaeological record of habitation and destruction line up with the right time - he's finding stuff from Lot's time and earlier. Is he finding the right stuff?
 
Well, he has found “pillared-style architecture” that is unusual for bronze-age Israelite sites. He says this is actually Minoan (Cretan) in style. Remember that term, it will become significant later. Second, he says the site is littered with clay, life-size representations of penises. Clay penises are not exclusive to Minoa; sadly, they litter nearly every ancient Israelite site. Lastly, he has found several representations of bull’s faces. While bulls were a common theme of idolatry, these particular representations give evidence of being Minoan in style. Minoans coming to Canaan and establishing a colony there is not a stretch: the Philistines, too, were said to have come from Crete. (Amos 9:7)
 
Perhaps most significantly, he’s found clay fragments that have been melted into glass on one side, similar to “trinitite,” the melted earth found in Trinity, New Mexico, after nuclear bombs were tested there.

Melting a clay potsherd into glass is not something that happens accidentally by, say, a clay pot falling into a cooking fire. A cooking fire typically reaches about 1,100 degrees. Glazing pottery requires temperatures two to three times that high. Ceramic glazing doesn’t appear to have been invented until nearly a thousand years after the destruction layer at Tall el Hammam.

In 2022, professionals from several branches of science did detailed studies of Tall el Hammam. You can read their report here. They concluded decisively that the city was destroyed in a near-instantaneous cataclysm similar to an air blast that occurred over the Tanguska forest in Russia in 1908. That devastation was the result of a suspected 700-foot-wide meteor striking the atmosphere about 20,000 feet above the ground. The explosion blew down and burned an estimated 80 million trees over an area of approximately 800 square miles. It broke windows and knocked people out of bed 40 miles away.

The date of the destruction layer at Tall el Hammam assigned by these scientists doesn't match the date of the destruction of Sodom. They carbon-dated charred seeds and other biomass within the destruction layer and agreed on a date of 1650 B.C.E. Bible chronology would put the destruction of Sodom somewhere around 1918 B.C.E. (Genesis 18:10)
 
The date could be wrong; or Tall el Hammam could be Abel-Shittim or some other city not mentioned in the Bible that was in fact destroyed by a meteor blast 250 years after Sodom's destruction, while the Israelites were slaving in Egypt. (To read my column about Bible chronology versus carbon-14, click here.)
 
Still, Collins’ Minoan connection is significant. If the Minoans had one city in the holy land, they may well have had more. Minoa was what today’s homosexual apologists would call an “evolved” society. By 2000 B.C.E. they had developed a societal norm in which boys were ritually kidnapped (kidnapped by prearrangement with the parent and friends of the victim) at age 12 by a young man in his early twenties. The man then used the boy sexually while also giving him military training. After this period of pederasty the boy, now grown, took his own 12-year-old boy. Only then was the older man free to marry a woman.

If Collins is right and this pederastic system had been in the land promised to Abraham, it explains two other verses in the Sodom account:
  1. Genesis 19:4: "The men of the city—the men of Sodom from boy to old man, all of them—surrounded the house in one mob." If it had said, 'all the men of Sodom surrounded the house' it could be taken as hyperbole. But wording it so specifically certainly doesn't read like hyperbole; it was literally every male of sexual age in the entire city - so it was the way their society operated.
  2. Genesis 18:20: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great.” Who was making this outcry to which God was listening? If it was just Abraham and Lot, would that constitute a ‘great' outcry? It seems more likely that the outcry was coming from surrounding communities, which were Canaanites. These were people who had male and female temple prostitutes, who fed their live babies into a fire as offerings to Molech… and yet they were offended by Sodom.
Perhaps they simply weren’t “evolved” enough.

Please leave a comment. 
 
Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at Amazon.com. You can help support this site by purchasing a book.

1 comment:

  1. Being a survivor of this very thing myself, I find it difficult to comment any further other than to say, what disgraceful society we now exist in...

    ReplyDelete