Many Christians believe that homosexuality is the worst of sins because, after all, God destroyed Sodom for it, didn’t He? But does the Bible really say this?
For the sake of completeness, I have done a digital search of the Bible for all references to Sodom. I haven’t copied them all in this post because many references were simply a means of warning Israel regarding the kind of destruction that they themselves deserved because of their sins. (Unless indicated otherwise, all quoted texts are from the KJV.)
What happened in Sodom?
Sodom is first mentioned in connection with Lot’s choosing a pleasant place to live. But the warning is given that “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” (Genesis 13.13 )
A few chapters later we discover that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were so wicked that God thought it best to destroy them. Abraham intervened, and the Lord said he would save the cities if even ten righteous were found in them. Of course, we know the result − not even ten righteous could be found in those prosperous cities of the beautiful plains. Note that judgment was determined on Sodom before the record of the angels visiting Lot’s house.
Genesis 18:20, 21: “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.”
And so two angels are sent to escort Lot and his family out of Sodom before destroying the cities:
Genesis 19:1,2 “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.”
Ancient records show that travelers often spent night in the open (see Gen. 28:11). However, Lot seems to have made it his duty to seek out strangers and invite them to the shelter of his home − probably because he knew of the inhospitable nature of the men of the city.
The subsequent riot and demand to “know” the visitors is probably accurately interpreted as a wish to abuse them sexually.
[Next: Were the Sodomites Homosexual?]