I’m constantly reminding people in my writings the importance of context; but in this article I want to deal with the danger of interpreting the Bible out of context. Perhaps there is no better example of modern Christianity interpreting the Bible out of context and creating a very damning narrative that misrepresents God than the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis.
This story is often used by the Christian community to ostracize and condemn people in same-sex relationships, and going as far as to say God destroyed these cities because of the sin of homosexuality. That is NOT what the Bible states!
Here is the context:
In Genesis 18 God appears to Abraham and tells him he is going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham began pleading for the cities and asking God if he would spare the cities if there were 50 righteous persons. God said yes. Abraham negotiates down to 10 right persons. God said he would spare the cities if there were 10 righteous persons living in those cities. What we need is more christians like Abraham standing in the gap for their neighbor/city.
Apparently, they didn’t find 10 righteous persons, because here is what it says in Genesis 19:29 - “God destroyed the cities in the valley, but he remembered what Abraham had asked. So God saved Lot’s life, but he destroyed the city where Lot had lived.”
We are told God destroyed these two cities and the people who lived in them. The question is why? And the answer is not what many people think.
Here is what the Bible says why God destroyed these two cities:
In Genesis 13 it tells us that God had been good to the cities of the plains and they were referred to as - the garden of the Lord.
In Genesis 14 we are told that Melchizedek met with the king of Sodom and Abraham.
In Genesis 18:20 it says: “Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
Notice God said there has been an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah. In other words, a mass of people are crying out to God asking for his help against these two powerful cities.
If we go to Ezekiel 16:49-50 we discover what was disturbing to God. ‘Now this was the sin of Sodom: 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.”
What we need to know is what are these detestable things?
They were a wartime people brutally attacking the cities around them
They would torture their victims in a very slow death
They would cut babies out of pregnant women offering the baby to their gods and killing both mother and baby
They made child sacrifices to their gods
They would rape men and women
They found pleasure in torturing people
They would place people in prison just to watch them slowly starve to death for sport
The cries of these innocent people reached the ears of God, and after years, decades of grace, he said — enough is enough, I must do something. And in my opinion, he came down and fought for the innocent, oppressed, & the persecuted.
Here is something about God people often miss - God was willing after all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had done, to spare them if 10 righteous persons could be found.
God brought judgement upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because they were oppressive, cruel, haughty, brutally killing innocent people, ignored the needs of the poor and needy for many years, and not for homosexuality.
Perhaps if you and I were living back then, and we lived in one of those cities that Sodom & Gomorrah brutally attacked, and God came down and done away with them we might see that as an act of justice from a loving compassionate God.