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            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. 20).

                 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 sexually.

            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 and wide.

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 drastic means.


From, IS GOD CRUEL? -- An In-Depth Analysis of God's Apparent Acts of Cruelty in the Bible


Noah's Flood

Sodom and Gomorrah

Lot's Wife

Destruction of Canaanites

Jephtha's Daughter

David's Punishment for the Census

Israel's Captivity

Removal of Foreign Wives

Ananiah and Sapphira

Paul's Suffering    

The Catastrophes of Last Days



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Booklet cover: Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Why Does God Allow Suffering?