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Sodom & Tel El-Hamman

12 Mar

It now seems that  Dr. Stephen Collins and associates have uncovered a ‘palace’ at this site:

 

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2017/02/28/For-Dust-Thou-Art-and-Unto-Dust-Shalt-Thou-Return.aspx

 

Two views of the sun-dried mudbrick walls of an ancient palace at Tall el-Hammam, Jordan, where the author is currently excavating. These mudbrick walls were later burned in a fire. Note a lone mudbrick sitting on the wall to the left. It was found in destruction debris above the floor of this room.
It is amazing the number of palaces archaeologists ‘discover’ in the ancient world. Almost as many as temples. It is as if the ancients had no other interests, business ventures or needs. Since there are no surviving documents describing this find, we will not join in the identification of this building. Archaeologists are well known to create a past that they want to see and not proclaim the past that actually was.
While God made this statement to Adam in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:19), it reminds me of what I’ve spent so much of my time with these days. I am writing this article from the Holy Land where I am excavating the palace on an ancient acropolis. It has thick walls of mudbrick constructed on stone foundations. When uncovered, we have found that a number of the walls have disintegrated badly during the last few thousand years. They really were manufactured from dust and back to dust they have gone!
We really do not need mud bricks to teach us this lesson. We have millions upon millions of graves which remind us of God’s declaration to Adam.
Archaeological excavations suggest the earliest dwellings in the ancient Near East were natural shelters – caves and rock formations. Where available, they would have been sufficient for small groups of people and frequently served as non-permanent habitation. That meant people could only settle in places where such natural shelter was available.
This sells the ancient sort and makes them seem like unintelligent knuckle draggers. While some people may have taken shelter in caves it does not mean they all did or that they all did not use their brains to solve their housing problems.What that author forgets, though he reminds us of the erosion of mud bricks back into dust, is that housing material will rot, erode, rust over time thus it would be impossible to find all the shelter that ancient man used. To make the assumption that author does means he commits a disservice to the past and his readers by misrepresenting what took place in ancient times.
God made us from the dust of the ground – in a miraculous way – and we become someone of value and important to him. Yet in the beginning and in the end we are just dust!
Just to clarify a point here, it is our human bodies that return to dust not our spirits. If people are going to draw a spiritual example, they need to get the information correct so that they tell the truth and not mislead the people. If you want proof of that, how can a spirit return to dust when it was not made of dust?
But getting back to the idea that Tel El Hamman is Sodom. We vigorously disagree with Dr. Stephen Collins on his identification of that ancient city with the one destroyed by God. He states in his season ten report the following:
As is now widely accepted, Tall el-Hammam remains far-and-away the most logical candidate for biblical Sodom based on a detailed analysis of the relevant biblical and historical materials regarding the chronology and location of the city (http://nebula.wsimg.com/9a161034ecbdd5c976d2608ac7eb2d09?AccessKeyId=AD0C503627C3B88E5A7F&disposition=0&alloworigin=1)
It may be widely accepted but that acceptance is wrong. Tel el-Hamman is nowhere close to being Sodom. It is like saying a future archaeologist excavating in what is now L.A. has discovered New York City. That is how off the mark Dr. Collins and his associates are.
That the enduring and powerful presence of Tall el-Hammam and its associated towns and villages on the eastern Jordan Disk during the Bronze Age gave rise to the Cities of the Plain tradition reflected in the stories of Genesis 10-19 is a reasonable theory commensurate with all of the available geographical and archaeological data.
This is impossible for Sodom and the cities were destroyed and made examples for those who would live ungodly lives (see Jude 7 and 2 Peter 2:6). You can’t be made an example by hiding the destruction for thousands of years and telling no one where the example is.God never promised to restore those cities and there is no scripture stating they were restored.Tell el-Hamman, and we use the Israeli word ‘tell’ not the Arabic word ‘tall’, is not Sodom. Dr. Collins misleads so many people and provides an excellent example of our point that archaeologists create their own past not the one that actually was.
Sadly for Dr. Collins and his associates., they have been calling this site Sodom for over ten years now and when they finally realize that they are wrong their reputations will take a great hit. Not only as archaeologists but also their claim to being Christian. Christians cannot afford to get these things wrong nor can they afford to misrepresent something for such a long period of time. We have too many people watching for us to make mistakes and capitalize on them. We are not just living in this world as our actions have eternal consequences for many.  I call on Dr. Collins to admit his error now and make things right before it is too late for him and his associates.
As you can tell we are not a fan or a supporter of his but we also do not want to see him be embarrassed by this gigantic error. No Christian wants to see someone claiming to be a Christian made a fool of, be embarrassed by their mistakes or do badly in their chosen profession.It is not a Christian attitude to want those things. Dr. Collins may be gaining support for his identification but support does not mean one is correct in their identifying the remains they are excavating. It means that those people believe him over God. We have talked directly to Dr. Collins and his associates many times over the years and unfortunately, we doubt he and they will admit their error. It is sad to see.
Sodom and Gomorrah have been discovered but those cities are not near Tell el-Hamman, they are at Bab el-Dhra and Numeria a very desolate wilderness where nothing lives. Dr. Collins and some of his early associates asked why would anyone build cities in such a barren and god forsaken land. Well they were looking at the land AFTER the destruction and not when Lot saw it.That error has led Dr Collins and friends to take the wrong path and mis-identify another tell.e need to correct our mistakes as believers and get back on the right path before we go too far and cannot return to the straight and narrow. Now is the time to do so and this applies to all areas of life not just archaeology
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