God's malevolence for Sodom


For those who believe in Free Will and Eternal Torment:

Did God love Sodom?

[size=85]***And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. ***[/size]

Now if God could have brought about repentance in Sodom by doing miracles and he CHOSE not to do miracles to bring about repentance then the obvious question is Did God HATE Sodom?

In Evangelical Universalism we hold God did indeed loves Sodom and is not done with her:

***[size=85]53"Nevertheless, I will restore their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and along with them your own captivity,

54in order that you may bear your humiliation and feel ashamed for all that you have done when you become a consolation to them.

55"Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to their former state, and you with your daughters will also return to your former state. [/size]***

It seems to me that the ONLY position that free will eternal torment subscribers can hold is God indeed did NOT love Sodom or he would have done something to save it as he did Isreal.



I also find the apparent incongruence between tales of the afterlife of OT and NT literature to be amusing because it causes confusion between the two accounts for those who hold to some stock across-the-board theology regarding everyone’s destiny wherein everyone has the same experience (yes, there is the explanation of a holding place where the patriarchs were kept until the crucifixion of Jesus, but this is an arbitrary interpretation and therefore doesn’t hold the authority of scripture).

What I’m getting at in regard to this issue is that not only are the aesthetic qualities of the afterlife presented in the OT different from a modern interpretation of NT afterlife theology, but so is the question of open-endedness.

In other words, at the time that Sodom was destroyed and for a significant time afterwards, would Abraham and his descendants have considered that there was no hope for Sodom in Sheol? I imagine the question didn’t even cross their minds, especially as everyone was viewed as going to the same vague destination… eventually, however (and I’m not sure when), the question of the resurrection was brought to the forefront, and then a judgment. This thought is seen to be continued in John’s Revelation yet either ignored or glossed over by modern Christian theologians.

So, there’s a question of whether those who believe in hopeless torment are being true to the original traditions. Did God inspire the words of scripture while simultaneously rejecting the traditions they were borne out of? Or maybe He honors both?


I gotta give thanks to James Goetz for some insight on this one. He posted this very idea concerning Transworld Damnation. Thanks James for the interesting thoughts.



Can you give the precise reference please??

My tradition (annihilation) would simply say that in His love God allowed Sodom to be as if it never was. Or something like that. They would agree that God still loves Sodom, but since they didn’t love Him back freely, He “allows” them to become extinguished. Or something like that.

To me this ignores a whole lot of other things which is why I have parted ways from my tradition and embraced, with all of you here, the understanding of UR…



TV (television)
ok ok (Total victory)

[size=85]20Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.[d] If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."[/size]

The problem I have with the free will defense here is this:
If performing miracles in Sodom or Tyre&Sidon means they are stripped of a free choice then I don’t understand why Jesus is doing miracles in Korazin or Bethsaida.
If Jesus performing miracles in K&B does not disqualify their coming to salvation being free
then God performing miracles in S&G and T&S would have brought repentance which was free.

Now with all this said God chose not to take action upon the old testament cities when HE KNEW if he did do these miracles in them they would have repented.

Thus God did not want to save them (bring about their repentance) by performing miracles in these very cities meaning God did not love them.

Now of course we Universalists read Eze 16 as God stating he’s going to restore Sodom to what she was before (before her days of rebellion).

Hope that clears it up.



I think any discussion of God’s attitude toward Sodom, Biblically speaking, has to include the scene of YHWH (below) calling down fire from YHWH (above) upon the cities.

They didn’t just incidentally kill themselves off. Whatever the actual details were (and there’s evidence of some kind of cataclysm destroying towns in that area of the country), God is presented as taking an active role in their punishment. And insofar as the story synchs up with the idea of Jesus being the visible Presence of YHWH from the OT (for which there is abundant NT data testifying toward that idea), it’s Jesus in the story Who does this.

I’m a little surprised some of our sceptical contingent hasn’t brought this up yet. :wink: One way or another, that scene has to be accounted for and reckoned with.


Yes, I see your point Aug:

However, doesn’t Jesus also say that a wicked and adulterous people ask for signs?
Further, He comments that even with signs and wonders the people had already seen, conviction and repentance did not come. The point being that in some cases (perhaps many cases) miracles are simply impotent to produce the heart change that God wants. So in this case it sounds like free will can in fact defy God’s attempts to persuade.

What do you think?



Oops, seems I’ve missed the whole point of the thread again.

I’ve struggled over this issue myself after reading Jesus’ words, yet the first thought that always came to me is that, since God would have loved for it to have happened, to some degree his hands must have been tied (though I hate thinking that, of course).

However, it’s said that the heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth he has given to the sons of men… therefore he can’t do anything that we don’t give him permission to (free will). And I guess the question is, was there anyone willing to go and do the miracles that Jesus did? Or did anyone even think of such a thing? When Abraham interceded, why did he not go even further and ask if even one righteous man lived in that city that they would be spared? Perhaps his view of God’s mercy had not developed enough yet? Why did Melchizedek or one of his people not perform miracles there? Why did the surrounding cities that were crying out to God for their destruction not pray that, if possible, they would simply repent?

It seems that more than just the people of Sodom were somehow involved in the necessity of that city’s destruction, perhaps to an extent moreso. If there had been people praying for their repentance, and someone to go and show them the way, they would have repented. But the Sodomites did not have this understanding. And so it comes back, once again, to the people who call themselves by God’s name.

Oh, that we would learn God’s wonderful mercy! Perhaps the worst criminals on this earth would change their minds and be overcome with his love if we would but pray heartily and kindly for them. Why can’t it happen within the timeframe of our lives? Paul was turned around on the road to Damascus! There is no doubt in my mind that there were God-loving Christians praying for his repentance… I think God has a much higher view of and love for us than we could ever imagine, yet he can do nothing until we see him for who he truly is.

May we continue to perservere and hope beyond hope for a God truly beyond our wildest imaginations!


sorry for taking so long to respond. I’m very busy as of late and am now catching up.
Sure Jesus says wicked people ask for signs but that does not seem to be at play in this case. Jesus does the signs and they do not believe. And while he comments that even with signs and wonders people don’t always repent he seems to say here, that had these signs been done in sodom/tyre/sidon they would have repented. So either Jesus is wrong about that or he is not.

I think if he thought they (sodom) might not have repented he would not have said they would have remained to this day.

James Goets posted this as a question to transworld damnation (see talbotts comments) which is where I came up with this concerning free will theology.