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Biblical City of Sodom Found in the Jordan Valley? – Lesson

 

 

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‘The Valley of the Jordan from the Mount of Olives’, 1902. Painted by John Fulleylove (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

A 3,600-year-old cataclysm sheds light on one of the oldest stories in the Bible.

 

A new study shows that the city of Tall el-Hammam, in the Jordan Valley, was destroyed by a cosmic event 3,600 years ago. The timing and description of the event match the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible.

Biblical Archeology

Modern scholars often question the¬†historical¬†existence of Biblical characters such as Jesus, but, as technology advances over time, archeology seems to confirm elements of the ancient stories. For instance, in 1961, archeologists found a limestone tablet from the first century with a carving of the name ‚ÄúPontius Pilate.‚ÄĚ Pilate was the Roman¬†official¬†in the Bible who sentenced Christ to death.

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Pool of Siloam, Jerusalem (Photo by: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

During construction work and repairs in 2004, it appeared the Siloam Pool mentioned in the Gospel of John was found in Jerusalem.

In the ancient town of Capernaum, north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel, there is an ancient church dedicated to St. Peter. The Gospels state that the apostle Peter lived in this town next to the synagogue, and Jesus visited him there. Archeologists have found that beneath the church are the remnants of a house from the first century. It contains graffiti talking about Jesus and St. Peter.

Many other discoveries like this have been made.

Sodom

In the Bible, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God due to their wickedness. Could a strike from space have caused the destruction?

Tall el-Hammam was first discovered in 1975. The site has been excavated by scientists in a joint project since 2005. Recently, a Nature article argued that a cosmic event destroyed the city around 3,600 years ago.

The evidence points to destruction caused by such high temperatures that ordinary fires cannot produce them. The article concludes that the cause had to be an extraterrestrial airburst with a lot of power. The event would dwarf the 1905 Tunguska meteor strike. By comparison, the Tunguska meteor hit flattened 830 square miles of forest in Siberia and was so intense that it brightened the night sky in London, thousands of miles westward.

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Trees knocked over by the Tunguska Event, 1908 (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

Since the Tall el-Hammam region was abandoned for 300-600 years, the event likely caused soil contamination, so people could not live in the area.

Tall el-Hammam’s destruction parallels the story of Sodom in geographical location. The timing and scale of the catastrophe also match. This event could be the source of the Biblical story.

Future Findings?

Biblical archeology was once considered unscientific, but important finds continue to show these ancient stories are likely based on actual events. These successes have inspired scientists to take old stories and myths more seriously, since they could record historical events. What discoveries await us in the future? Only time will tell.