Why does it seem that God treats good and bad people the same? Abraham asked this same question. In 1897 BC, God visited Abraham and Sarah manifested as three men. He came with some good news, Sarah would give birth to a Isaac well beyond her child bearing years. With the promise of many descendants, Abraham had the burden of imparting righteousness on his children, so that it would carry on for future generations. Standing by the trees in Mamre, the three men contemplated whether or not they should reveal God’s plan to Abraham. Wanting to teach Abraham God’s righteousness they revealed God’s plan- to visit the metropolis of Sodom and destroy it if it proved to be wicked.
Just as the men got up to leave for Sodom, Abraham asked “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”(Gen 18:23-24 ESV). Abraham knew that God was just, but he pondered if God would really kill the innocent alongside the wicked. God replied and said he would spare the city if there were fifty righteous in the city. It seems that this answer was not enough for Abraham for he proceeded to ask the same question again for forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty and ten people with a few pleas of pardoning. Every time God gave the same response, “for the sake of ‘number’ I will spare the city”.
After this Yahweh left and his two Angels went down to Sodom to investigate. There they verified that the city was very vile after they witnessed an attempt by the townsmen to rape them. So, Lot and his daughters escaped to the nearby town of Zoar and escaped Sodom before its destruction (alongside the cities of Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim).
God listened to Abraham’s request, by saving his nephew Lot from the city’s ultimate destruction. God did spare the righteous, like Abraham wanted. Lot was now out of his home and no longer had his wife , but he was still spared. God did not treat good and evil the same here, in fact he gave some a chance to flee, but they did not take the opportunity. Abraham had not witnessed God’s righteousness like in the destruction of Sodom and deliverance of Lot before. Abraham knew God’s nature, without it being shown to him; yet he doubted. Abraham’s experience shows that our doubt in God’s nature is always proven wrong. This is Part 3 of “Ancient Answers to Modern Questions” blog series- through the people who questioned God in the Bible, we can find answers to some of our greatest questions. Check out Part 2.
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