Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Abraham dickers with god

The Genesis 18 story of God and Abraham’s dialogue about the pending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is fascinating in a couple of respects. The first thing that strikes me is the fact that Abraham dares to question God, even boldly asking if God is not committed to doing what is right. Many have been taught that such presumptuousness should have resulted in immediate destruction. God is not supposed to put up with questioning.


Secondly, when Abraham asked God to consider whether some there were sufficiently righteous to avoid destruction, what performance standard did he think God would use to determine the righteous ones? It is easy to believe that Abraham assumed that people who were as “good” as he was should escape destruction.


Next, I wonder about a related question. What was God’s standard in making the judgment that no one would be spared? Elsewhere the Bible says unequivocally that there are no righteous under any kind of performance standard. Therefore, if God applied such a standard in judging Sodom and Gomorrah, He could never find righteousness there. Even if God had found 50 men who were perfect clones of Abraham, He still would have destroyed them for the lack of righteousness.


We have all been conditioned to believe that righteousness exists within certain people in a certain place because of how the people perform or act. In the minds of many that is the message behind the story here. When one considers the details a little more seriously, asking the implied questions, a very different message can be imagined. The entire account easily demonstrates the uselessness of performance as the road to righteousness.


Many of us tend to judge “rightness” by conformity with our own way of doing and believing. That may seem natural enough; but, in reflecting that idea, we make ourselves God, being the capable judge of a performance standard we can’t even define much less measure.