Sodom and Gomorrah

There is an account in Genesis 19 of the destruction of two wicked cities – Sodom and Gomorrah.  Before that destruction, some angelic beings visit Abram’s nephew Lot, who lives in Sodom, to rescue him from the impending doom. The city’s inhabitants demand that these visitors be turned over to them for carnal reasons. Thanks to angelic urging, Lot and his daughters escape (though his wife is turned to salt when she looks back) and the cities are totally destroyed.

When I was younger, I understood that the wickedness of the city was in men wanting to know (in the King James sense) these visitors. That was also where the term “sodomy” came from.

But there are a few verses in Ezekiel that are quite clear regarding what their sin was. “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16:49-50.

Jude 7 & 8 make it clear that sexual perversion was also part of the sin of these cities. “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

If you read in the New Testament about the early church we see these same issues.

There was inequality surrounding the distribution of goods and eating the mutual meal. Some were eating and others who were hungry were not able to eat. The early church chose some to oversee the distribution and ensure that things were handled equally and well.

There were issues with sexual perversion in the early church too. There was an incestuous situation in Corinth that Paul addressed via letter, saying it is a situation “even pagans do not tolerate.” The church leaders reportedly did address it and purge that from the church.

Clearly these are issues that are common across cultures and time.

So how well is the culture I am in avoiding these sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? If we do not avoid the sins, should we expect to avoid the judgment?