Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sodom and Gomorrah
The absolute destruction and total obliteration of two cities to the point where there is minimal evidence that they ever existed, is a singular point in the story of Genesis. Much is made of the alleged decadence of these two cities (but in comparison to New York or Los Angeles... who knows?). All of it does seem to be a bit overwrought.
It is, unless one is attempting to justify the wholesale destruction of two or more cities, complete with their complement of human inhabitants (accept for Lot and his daughters who managed to escape the alleged wrath of God). Modern history revisionists have even used the Sodom example to name the act of sodomy (sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation) as a means of identifying the latter as the most heinous of crimes.
In the context of history, however, Sodom and Gomorrah, were not wholly different from Minneapolis and St. Paul. (6/6/05) Laurence Gardner , for example, has noted that based on writings from the Nag Hammadi Library, codices (copies of much older Greek works) included tracts of various texts (including previously unknown gospels): "The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, for example, are not presented as centres of wickedness and debauchery, but as cities of great wisdom and learning." [Okay, then maybe Minneapolis and St. Paul are different.]
The only difficulty, apparently, for Sodom and Gomorrah was that both cities chose the wrong side in a much wider conflict. The error of their ways was less debauchery and more the wounds of war, but nevertheless resulted in their becoming the precursors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Basically, Sodom and Gomorrah were bombed into oblivion with the use of nuclear or atomic weaponry. The evidence is both Biblical and via the ancient Sumerian texts, as well as modern data which relates to a dramatic and stunning increase in windborne dust and what-not, the latter which apparently led to the end of the Akkadian Civilization. The latter is presented in the paper, "Climate change and the collapse of the Akkadian Empire: Evidence from the Deep-Sea" by Heide M. Cullen, et al. Their results docummented a "very abrupt increase in eolian dust and Mesopotamian aridity which is AMA radiocarbon dated to 4025 (plus or minus 125) cal. years BP [Before Present] and which persisted for approximately 300 years."  The graphs given by these researchers provide physical evidence of something very major happening, and while there is no reason to assume the authors believed Sodom and Gomorroh were A-bombed, the abrupt increase in dust does provide plausible evidence. 
In the written records from the time, meanwhile, there is simply no question. It is the open warfare between Enki and Enlil, circa 2000 B.C.E., in which Enlil’s sons are clearly identified as the guys who pulled out all of the stops, and sealed the fates of the twin cities -- as well as the Sumerian Civilization, which was downwind of the radioactive fallout. Sitchin , Gardner , and Bramley  have all identified the demise of the two cities as acts of atomic warfare.
But for those with less ready access to ancient Sumerian texts, consider the story as told in Genesis, chapters 14 and 19.
The account begins with the War of the Kings, which pitted Shinar (Sumer), Ellasar, and Elam (among others) against Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (Zoar). When things went badly at one battle (Genesis 14:8-10), Lot, Abram’s brother’s son was captured as a Sodomite (because he had dwelt in Sodom).
Abram, upon hearing the news, rallied his 318 well trained and armed servants -- just the sort of thing that every sheepherder always keeps on hand -- and in true military fashion rescued Lot, “and his goods, and the women also, and the people.”
The king of Sodom, with others, wanted to reward Abram, but the hero accepted only from Melchizedek, King of Salem (who was the priest) the blessing of “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” [The latter sounds like an Enlil promotional brochure.]
[For those concerned with a reticent Abram in receiving his just rewards, “the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision” (Genesis 15:1), wherein “the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the Great river, the river Euphrates.” (Genesis 15:18) This would have to be considered to be “greater Israel” and thus everything from the Nile to the Euphrates including the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, portions of Iraq, and presumably, all of Jordan and parts of Arabia. Obviously, this was not a bad deal for our boy -- even if he may have been dreaming at the time. I.e., “In your dreams, (b)Abe!”]
Meanwhile, after a quick name change for Abram/Abraham, the attention is drawn to Lot’s hometown, Sodom and the city, Gomorrah. The charge being brought was that the two cities were committed grievous sins. Abraham managed to plea bargain the charges down to a commutation of sentence if ten righteous men could be found in the cities -- but considering what might qualify as lacking righteousness, the cities weren’t out of the woods yet.
On the other hand, there was Lot, his goods (including women) still residing in Sodom. Which is curious. If Sodom and Gomorrah had found themselves on the wrong side in the Enki vrs. Enlil conflict, what was Lot doing there? Spying? A loyal follower of one side, who had been rescued once already? Was he worth saving again? Apparently.
Lot was told to clear out of Sodom in no uncertain terms. He was even advised to head for the hills, where mountains might shield his family from the impending destruction. Lot did the good neighbor thing and argued to avoid the wholesale slaughter of his fellows, but to no avail. Lot bailed, and “the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” (Genesis 19:24).
Unfortunately, Lot’s wife looked behind her, and was turned into a pillar of salt for her trouble. [(6/22/06) One reader, Paul Cilwa, has noted that, "In Hebrew, the word used for "salt" also means "vapor". Lot's wife wasn't turned to salt. She was VAPORIZED."] When Abraham got wind of the event, “he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” (Genesis 19:28).
The aftermath was so terrifying that Lot and his daughters fled to a cave, where the natural assumption was that the human race was doomed (i.e. no men to beget children). The daughters then took the next step of lying with their father, conceived, and ultimately bore sons.
Notice how all of the ingredients in the Biblical story account for the destruction of the cities by nuclear blast. The fact that it was Enlil’s sons who had orchestrated the terror and devastation is merely an aside from the human point of view. But those on the ground might have seen things a bit differently. Certainly, Lot’s daughters did. Even Abraham might have been a bit taken aback, and promptly headed south.
On a more practical, modern day level, it is instructive to locate the cities that received the wrath of what has come to be called the War of the Kings. <http://www.bibleplus.org/discoveries/sodomfound.htm> suggests the extent of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (and the other cities which were located in the same area). Besides there beings lots of salt pillars (pardon the pun), each of the locations were indicative of a city turned to ash and sulfur balls -- the latter being the brimstone referred to in the King James version of the Bible.
Mount Sodom is located at the south end of the beautiful, yet barren Dead Sea area. It is believed that it was this area where the city of Sodom was located. Inasmuch as there were, according to the Bible, more than just two cities destroyed that day, excavations thus far have uncovered the remains of at least 5 cities. Each of these have the telltale signs of ash and sulfur balls strewn liberally about. Their locations had been determined by scrutinizing satellite maps of the area and locating geometric shapes, particularly square or rectangular areas. “The houses and buildings were actually quite substantial in size, suggesting a people of great stature once inhabited these cities. The walls and everything in the cities were turned completely to ash!” [emphasis added]
In one case there was a mound which could easily have been a ziggurat -- a type of pyramidal temple found in Sumer. It might be noted that the Dead Sea is divided into two basins, the northern basin being significantly larger. El Lisan Peninsula, where geologists believe Sodom was located, separates the basins at the sea's narrowest point. It is probably that this area was used as a crossing point in shipping salt -- something of a commercial crossroads. According to authorities at sinsal.com, the Dead Sea is located 1,299 feet below sea level (making it the “lowest point on earth”). Because of this dead-end location, the lake is so salty that water life cannot be sustained. The water is sufficiently viscous, that anyone can float on their back without any effort. The sea water and mud are commonly used for treating skin problems.
“The mountains above provide several continuously running water streams, including the hot mineral water of Maeen and Wadi Al Mowgib which ends its long downhill journey just a few hundred meters away.” Until recent improvements, the area was unreachable, even by foot. “Black stones and rocks are scattered all over the surrounding area and geologist claim that the ground layers are arranged in an upside down fashion.”
“This is the Biblical location of Sodom and Gomorra (Ammorah), the same location where the dead sea is right now. However, a major event took place that changed the nature of the land and the nearby areas.” That pretty much says it all.