Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
Human Remains Found at Sodom!
In a culture that generally believes that science and faith in the Bible are incompatible, once again scientific evidence has been discovered that supports the Bible’s testimony of a real historical event. The April 2013 book entitled Discovering the City of Sodom by Dr. Steven Collins and Dr. Latayne Scott published by Howard/Simon and Schuster details how Dr. Collins came to believe Tall el-Hammam in Jordan was the location of ancient Sodom. Dr. Collins made this determination based on Genesis 13:10 which placed Sodom and Gomorrah in the “plain of the Jordan (River),” an area that it describes as “well watered.” In an otherwise arid land, this same area that remains well watered even today could only be the somewhat circular plain at the southern end of the Jordan River before it enters the Dead Sea.
Dr. Collins, an archaeologist at Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has excavated in this area for seven years. However, his breakthrough discovery came in 2011 when he found human skeletal remains and an unusual potsherd at the siteof Tall el-Hammam. While the unusual potsherd hardly compares in sheer visual drama tothe obvious glories of Stonehenge or the pyramids, it is turning out to be an artifact of monumental importance. The discovery and analysis of this potsherd provides physical evidence for what caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven.
Dr. Collins found the 4,000 year old potsherd that would fit in the palm of your hand in an undisturbed layer of hardened black ash. One side is typical of ancient pottery, but the opposite side is coated with a thin layer of a beautiful translucent greenish glass called trinitite. The trinitite tells us that one side of this clay potsherd was briefly subjected to an extremely high temperature, which caused the silicon of its clay to melt and be converted to glass. Trinitite gets its name from the first atomic bomb test in1945 near Alamogordo, NewMexico whosecode name was Trinity. Trinitite was formed when the sandy clay soil at the test site was drawn up and melted by the explosion, then rained down and solidified into glass.
We now know that a comet or large comet fragment exploding in the atmosphere can produce the same effects as an atomic explosion, including the very high temperatures necessary for the formation of desert glass such as trinitite. This trinitite coated potsherd corroborates that the brimstone and fire Genesis 19:24 says rained out of heaven came from a comet fragment that exploded in the atmosphere over Sodom and Gomorrah. Like an atomic explosion, this comet explosion over Sodom and Gomorrah would have caused a fiery column of smoke, dust, ash and debris to rise up (possibly looking like a mushroom cloud). Genesis 19:28 tells how Abraham “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.”
The same black ash that contained the “Trinitite Potsherd” also revealed the partial skeletal remains of three individuals who were found huddled together in this black ash. Their bones were abnormally extended and twisted. The leg of one was charred off at mid-femur. While the intense heat generated by the fireball of a cometary explosion would literally vaporize everyone it directly hit, these people somehow were partially shielded. The macabre scene speaks of the sudden death and extreme trauma that engulfed these three people who were among those alive at the time the Bible says Abraham negotiated to save the city.
I am particularly excited by Dr. Collins’ discoveries because my book The Comets of God published in 2010 (www.thecometsofgod.com) analyzes the Old Testament catastrophes and their connection to cometary activity and impacts. I detailed how the scriptures make it clear that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by cometary activity. On page 416 I wrote, “The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, where fire and brimstone (burning sulfur) rained from heaven (Genesis 19:24 and Luke 17:29), is an accurate description of airburst explosions.” I explained how “Airburst explosions were not recognized until after the 1908 Tunguska Event in Siberia had been intensely studied by scientists. The Tunguska event is now believed to be the result of an airburst explosion high in the atmosphere of a small asteroid or cometary fragment approximately 100 meters in diameter.” Since comets are rich in sulfur, cometary material can release brimstone or burning sulfur as it comes in on fire.
Today a number of astronomers believe that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah involved comet activity, but until now there was no evidence for this event. In my book (page 149) I wrote that: “The most definitive evidence for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah would come from physical evidence associated with cosmic impact. Core samples from buried sediments dating to the time these cities were destroyed by fire should contain high concentrations of cosmic dust with very high concentrations of iridium, nickel, and other elements rose at impact. There could also be grains of shocked quartz, whose structure stems from the high pressures of impact or tiny spherules of fused glass like material that stems from the high temperature of impact…. The bottom line is this: if the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was caused by cosmic bombardment as the Bible indicates, there should be evidence waiting to be found.” Little did I know that at the time I wrote this in my book Dr. Collins had already located Sodom and had begun to find significant evidence for cosmic impact.
Since the initial discovery, four more trinitite coated potsherds have been excavated at the Tall. In addition, a number of small lumps of desert glass have been found at different locations within five miles of the Tall. While the brief heat flash or thermal pulse from the cosmic airburst was hot enough to melt and convert the outer surface of these clay potsherds into glass; this thermal pulse was also able to convert some of the silica of the sand on the ground into what geologists call “desert glass” which is not unlike trinitite. Geologists have come to learn that the creation of desert glass is typical of cosmic airbursts over sandy areas. It has not yet been confirmed how large of an area was affected by the cometary blast above Sodom.
As far as I know, Dr. Collins has yet to do a mass spectrometry analysis of the ash itself to see if it has a definitive “cosmic fingerprint” of specific elements brought in by the cometary material. This “cosmic DNA” test could provide the most compelling evidence of all. The ash might even contain nanodiamonds, microscopic diamonds that cosmic impacts can sometimes produce. It would be nice if a pollen study was done in the area to provide scientific evidence to confirm that the plain of the Jordan was then indeed “well watered.” A null hypothesis could also be employed to further establish that the Sodom of the Bible has finally been found. For example, pollen studies at the other proposed locations for Sodom should show that they were not in a “well watered” area. Likewise core drilling and analysis of the soils at the other proposed locations for Sodom should show that they do not contain evidence of fire and brimstone as a result of a cosmic airburst.
Interestingly the thick hardened black ash Dr. Collins found at the site sheds a different light on what happened to Lot’s wife. Genesis 19:26 should now be translated to read, “But his (Lot’s) wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of hardened ash (not salt). The Hebrew word usually translated as “salt” is the word “malach” (#4417 in Strong’s Concordance) which means “powder” as in something “pulverized” like salt, ash or dust.
About the author:
An archeologist and a geologist, Dr. Goodman has devoted over twenty-five years to the study of the Bible. He holds a geological engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a M.A. in anthropology from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from California Coast University. He also earned a M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He was accredited by the former Society of Professional Archeologists. Goodman is a Messianic Jew who was saved in 1987.