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Answering The Atheist
July 9, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 28

Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Was it the angels who were sent there (Gen 19:13), or was it God (Gen 19:24)? Is there a contradiction?

Genesis 19:13 reads, "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it."

Genesis 19:24 reads, "Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens."

To answer the question posed, we must first go to Genesis 18:20-22. There, we read, "And the LORD said, 'Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.' Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD."

Notice, the LORD said that He would go (v 21), but in verse 22, it is the men (angels) who went. The angels went as representatives of the LORD. They went down for the LORD; He went down through them. The angels were responsible for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, for it was their observations which prompted the LORD to rain brimstone and fire upon the cities. Both statements, Genesis 19:13 and Genesis 19:24 are accurate.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible