Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sins of Sodom

What are the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? In the Gen 19 account, two angels are sent to investigate the twin cities as the outcry of their apparent wickedness has risen to the LORD. When Lot took the two messengers home (an act of oriental hospitality), the men of Sodom wanted Lot to release the two "men" so that they could have sexual relations with them. Apparently the angels looked like men as they were called as such in Gen 19. The wickedness of the city then was first the breach of basic hospitality afforded to visitors or sojourners passing through a town and the failure of ensuring their safety and providing for their basic needs before they journeyed on the next day. Second, the sexual nature of the wickedness cannot be denied as Jude in the New Testament writes that, "they went after strange flesh." Strange (or different kind) flesh is not necessarily homosexual behaviour but an act against the natural order which in the order of things is to have sexual relations with your own kind of the opposite sex. Third, the homosexual nature of the wickedness is also clear in Gen 19 since the men of Sodom saw the two men that Lot took in and wanted to have sex with them as it is written: "They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." (19:15). Hence, the angels/men concluded that the men of Sodom were indeed wicked and deserved the punishment God had in store for them.
Further, the twin city of Gomorrah is also implicated with the other cities in the vicinity of the two cities. It can be deduced that the sins of Sodom were contagious in that its wickedness affected other cities and they were also condemned alongside Sodom and Gomorrah. The prophet Ezekiel has a different take of the sins of Sodom when he writes: "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." (Ezek 16:49). In this denunciation against Sodom there is no hint that their wickedness is sexual in nature except perhaps arrogance or ease usually leads to or is associated with lax morals. We cannot, therefore, prove that the sin of Sodom is homosexuality based on Ezekiel 16 passage. When Jesus compared cities with those that were judged by God, one passage includes the mention of Sodom: "I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." (Matt 10:15). In the previous verse 10:14, Jesus castigated those cities that rejected him and those he sent (And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town) just as Sodom and Gomorrah had rejected and abused the two messengers sent to them by God in Gen 19.

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