WHAT IF GOD
HAD NOT DESTROYED SODOM, AND GOMORRAH?
After His visit to Abraham and Sarah to assure them of a child, the divine
messenger, and his angels “looked toward Sodom” (Genesis 18: 16). Abraham
accompanied them to a certain point where God revealed to him His plan to
annihilate both Sodom and Gomorrah. The reason for the coming destruction of the
two cities was the fact that their sins and their evil deeds were “grievous” (V.
Abraham attempted to convince God to spare the two cities, but their
wickedness was so pervasive that not even ten righteous could be found in them.
Thus, God “rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah”(V. 24), and “He
overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the
cities, and that which grew on the ground” (V. 25).
God’s intervention was, no doubt, radical. Because it was radical, some
find it difficult to understand why a God of love would do something so
seemingly cruel and destructive. After all, the entire population of the two
cities was eradicated -- and that included the old, women and children. To
skeptics, such an all-encompassing destruction appears unnecessary and
capricious. But is that really the case?
What if God had simply punished the people of Sodom
and Gomorrah in some other way, so as to get them to change? What if God had
just destroyed one city and had allowed the other to behold the consequences of
sin, and perhaps repent?
Let’s first understand the extent of the wickedness prevalent within the
two cities. God describes the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah as being “very
grievous” (Genesis 18: 20). One quickly understands how grievous their sins
were, by reading the story very carefully. The Scriptures tell us that, when the
angels went down to the city of Sodom, Lot invited them into his home. We read
that, upon entering Lot’s house, “the men of the city…both old and young, all
the people from every quarter surrounded the house” (19:4). They then demanded
that Lot bring out his angelic guests so as to “know them”(V. 5). Lot, instead,
offered to them his two young virgin daughters, but the men of Sodom refused the
offer and arrogantly tried to force the two angels out so as to abuse them
This picture reveals a level of depravity that is difficult to conceive.
Let’s note that “all the people” of Sodom, “from every quarter,”
that is, rich and poor, young and old, were lusting after the two foreigners
and craved to rape them. Their lurid lust was also accompanied by both
aggression and arrogance.
From this picture alone, we may safely infer that the Sodomites were a
totally brutal bunch, without conscience and self-control. We can also safely
infer that within those two cities violence abounded, as did other sinful acts
such as lying, cheating, stealing, adultery and all kinds of sexual depravity.
Sodom and Gomorrah were the nest of a virulent, evil
virus that was spreading quickly through the area and onto other cities. Evil
has a way of spreading far and wide, when left unchecked. The two cities had to
be dealt with, not only because their evil deeds could no longer be tolerated by
the God of righteousness but to also prevent their debauchery from spreading far
The New Testament tells us that another reason why
God overthrew the two cities was because He wanted their destruction to be “an
ensample to those that after should live ungodly” (2 Peter 2: 6). God’s
intervention was meant to be so powerful, and so drastic, that all would hear
and tremble. He wanted generations to come to know that His will is supreme,
that He will not forebear evil forever and that, though He is longsuffering, the
day will come when He will extirpate evil in very dramatic ways. Jude warns that
“Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves
over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an
example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).
If God had not intervened, the evil in Sodom and Gomorrah would have
continued, and it would have actually become much worse. As a result, the
suffering that invariably accompanies evil would have multiplied; the influence
of the two cities would have increased, and it would have affected a great many
near and far; God would have been perceived as distant and uninvolved and,
lastly, the great lesson of God’s ultimate punishment of evildoers would not
have received the powerful emphasis that it received.
God’s intervention was, therefore, timely and appropriate. It shouts to
all generations that God is a righteous God, that he will not endure depravity
forever, and that He will finally punish evildoers by using, if necessary, very
IS GOD CRUEL? -- An In-Depth Analysis of God's
Apparent Acts of Cruelty in the Bible
CLICK ON TOPICS
BELOW FOR A THOROUGH ANALYSIS
Sodom and Gomorrah
Destruction of Canaanites
David's Punishment for the Census
Removal of Foreign Wives
Ananiah and Sapphira
Catastrophes of Last Days
LITERATURE FROM UCG.ORG
(No Follow up)
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
IS GOD CRUEL?