Why Did God Destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?
It is now predicted that the Supreme Court will give its ruling on same sex marriage on June 30.
The Mass readings for that day are Genesis 19.15-29 – the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
We should be clear. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not simply because the city was full of homosexuality.
The violent homosexual rapists were a symptom of a deeper ugliness in Sodom and Gomorrah.
We know from earlier in Genesis that the cities of the plain were lush, rich and luxuriant. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were also warlike and violent.
The violent homosexual rapists of Sodom and Gomorrah were an example of the decadence, lust, luxury, greed and violence of the whole civilization.
The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was, therefore far deeper than a sexual problem. The sexual problem was the symptom of a deep, fetid and stubborn rebellion against God and everything that was natural and simple, innocent, free and good.
St Paul outlines this sick depravity in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?
Because there was nothing else he could do. His “doing a deal” with Abraham indicates that he had extended his mercy time and again. He waited for them to turn from their destructive ways. He waited for their stubbornness to subside and for them to turn from their culture of death.
They would not.
Did he punish them out of some sort of petty and arbitrary desire for vengeance or the need to punish evil?
I don’t think so. I think God’s judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah were linked in with the path they were already on. They were so wallowing in the culture of death, so immersed in hell that they got what they asked for. They went on the path to hell and destruction and would not turn from that path so they were given hell and destruction.
I think there comes a time when God simply can’t do anything more with humanity because we continue to go our own way and continue to reject every offer of goodness, forgiveness, life and all that is natural and beautiful and innocent and free.
We choose hell and destruction.
God will eventually give us what we have asked for.
The only thing that remains for me to wonder is how far along the road to Sodom is our present society and world?
And how much more patience will God have?
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Catechism of Catholic Church teaches that, “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357).