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’s a new Sodom story in the news. 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 that passage implies that this discussion took 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 observed was the reference to the “district of the Jordan.” From Bethel, a person can look east and see the Jordan River, but you can’t look south; the Jordan River ends when it enters the Dead Sea, almost due east of Bethel/Ai.
Clue #3 for Collins was 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 after 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 petering out in the Dead Sea. Even the circular appearance of the plain matches the text: the word translated “district” literally means ‘circle.’ So he decided to excavate the largest ancient site within that circle, Tall el Hammam.
The generally accepted belief has been that Tall el Hammam was 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, 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, the 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 campground or a small village. It had already existed for perhaps several hundred years before Lot moved there. (Genesis 10:19) It was destroyed about 1919 B.C.E. and the “cities of the entire district” were destroyed along with it. The account 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 built on or near the site of Sodom, it would not likely have been right away, nor likely called Sodom.
According to Collins’ archaeological timeline, (as opposed to strictly 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 destruction layer at about the time of Lot. Then 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 un-rebuilt 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,” is taking shape. 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 unique among all 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.
Collins’ Minoan connection is significant. 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 brought to Sodom, it explains another verse in the Sodom account. 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.
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