Part 2  (Link to Part 1)


(Investigator 176, 2017 September)


Part 1 of Spacewatch, Spaceguard and the Bible (#171) showed that:

a)    Earth is at risk of asteroid impacts; a big impact could eradicate humans and all their cities;
b)    1700 "potentially hazardous" near-earth-objects were known by 2016;
c)    Spacewatch and Spaceguard projects are established in many countries;
d)    The Bible has "enigmatic passages" that apparently predict an impact from Space.

Part 2 is more theological and analyses pertinent verses in the Bible.


Small asteroids are hitting Earth or Moon, or narrowly missing, regularly.  Adelaide’s Sunday Mail reported:

A meteor slammed into the moon in March, causing an explosion so bright anyone looking up at the right moment would have spotted it… About 300 lunar impacts have been logged over the years… It is understood the space rock, estimated to be about 40cm and weighing 40kg, left a 20m-wide crater…
(19 May, 2013, p. 15)

On February 15, 2013 a 45-metre-wide asteroid missed Earth by 30,000 km. On the same day another, smaller, asteroid disintegrated above Chelyabinsk in Russia. Seven thousand buildings in six cities were damaged and 1500 people injured.

The United Nations has designated June 30th International Asteroid Day to be observed annually. It remembers the 100-metre-wide asteroid that exploded above Siberia in 1908 and flattened 2000km2 of forest.

Asteroids have history-changing potential. If the 1908 asteroid had exploded above London in 1916 then Germany would have won World War I!

British astronomer Edmund Halley (1656-1742) commented on the massive destruction a comet impact would cause. For the next two centuries most scientists considered the idea of rocks from Space hitting Earth nonsense. This changed around 1980 with the discovery that an asteroid impact wiped out the dinosaurs 65,000,000 years ago.

Hundreds of impact craters are now known on Earth. For example:

•    35,000,000 years ago the 100-kilometre Popigai crater in Siberia and the 85-kilometre Chesapeake Bay crater occurred only 10,000 years apart. (Hecht 2004)

•    A 480-km-wide structure, discovered via gravity measurements, beneath Antarctica's ice, is believed to be a crater created by a 48-km-wide asteroid. (Sunday Mail, June 4, 2006, p. 38)

•    Even bigger impacts occurred earlier, and produced tsunamis that circled the planet! (Genesis 1:2, 9) (Marshall 2014)


The LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities… (Genesis 19:24-29)

…by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly… (II Peter 2:4-6)

… the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be burned up. (II Peter 3:10)

The above quotes are from the NRSV Bible. The King James Bible has "brimstone" rather than "sulphur".

The Hebrew word is gophrith and occurs 7 times in the Old Testament. (Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 18:15; Psalm 11:6; Isaiah 30:33; 34:9; Ezekiel 38:22) The corresponding Greek word in the New Testament is theion which also occurs 7 times.

What is brimstone? Scholars disagree. Young's Analytical Concordance says bitumen and pitch. Unger's Bible Dictionary says the gum of a tree and "It was thence transferred to all flammable substances, especially sulphur." The New Bible Dictionary (1982) says: "a yellow crystalline solid … in regions of volcanic activity…"

Genesis associates brimstone with fire and says brimstone came from “heaven” i.e. the sky. Brimstone is something that is “scattered” (Job 18:15) and “rains” down with a “scorching wind”. (Psalm 11:6; Ezekiel 38:22) These clues fit the description of an asteroid breaking up in the atmosphere like the one in 1908.


What does it mean "the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire…"? Is the Bible teaching that God alters or directs nature to inflict punishment on people?

Not necessarily.

The book of Job reports that Job suffered a barrage of calamities including:

•    Desert raiders killed his servants and stole his oxen and donkeys;
•    "Fire from God" burned up his sheep;
•    A storm killed Job's sons and daughters;
•    Job developed "loathsome sores" from head to foot. (Job 1-2)
Job attributes these calamities to God. (9:17; 10:1-17) However, Chapters 1-2 explain that God's supernatural opposer "Satan" has asked God to stop protecting Job and God consented. (1:8-12; 2:4-6) The cause of evil among humans, therefore, is "Satan" and God's withdrawal of protection.

Another example is the Garden of Eden where God warns Adam "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat you shall die." (Genesis 2:17)

The biblical position appears to be that the natural world is dangerous and God lets bad events happen although able to prevent them. It is in that sense — by God not intervening — that God brings evil.

By applying this principal to "the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire" it merely means that God let it happen when he could have prevented it.


Amos wrote in the 8th century BC when Israel experienced prosperity but suffered from social corruption and injustice. Amos foretold Israel's destruction if conditions did not improve and emphasized the impossibility of escape:

Though they dig into Sheol, from there my hand will take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search out and take them; and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them. (Amos 9:2-3)

In Old Testament times Israel was God's people. (Psalm 135:12; 148:14) In New Testament times all nations are "ransomed" (or "purchased") for God by Jesus having died for their sins and therefore all are God's people. The New Testament says that ancient Israelites were "examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did". (I Corinthians 10:6-11; Jude 5-7) Therefore ancient Israel — like Sodom and Gomorrah — is "an example of what is coming to the ungodly…"

In the greater, worldwide, application of Amos' prophecy, the wording of 9:2-3 reflects escape attempts that are possible today:

•    Sheol — Deep underground;
•    Climb up to heaven — Escape in spaceships;
•    Carmel — High mountains and caves (Revelation 6:12-17;
•    The bottom of the sea — Nuclear submarines.

The phrase "the serpent…shall bite them" is a figure of speech (Compare Ecclesiastes 10:8) and means that escape to the bottom of the sea will be thwarted.


                                         There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars… (Luke 21:25)

Jesus' description of the future in Mathew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 appears literal, not symbolic. Jesus' prophecy would guide the Church for at least 2000 years and therefore had to be easily understood. Sun, moon and stars therefore mean sun, moon and stars.

What are the "signs"?

"Signs" that indicate Christ's return and worldwide fire probably include craters. The first person to see craters on the Moon was Galileo in 1609 using the newly-invented telescope.

The word "stars" includes planets, these being "wandering stars" (Jude 13), and meteors or shooting stars. Beginning in the 1970s close-up photos of other planets revealed them covered in craters and forced the realization that the Solar System is like a shooting gallery with asteroids and comets for bullets.

Stars, by the modern meaning of distant suns, became "signs" with the discovery that stars originate through the collapse of vast clouds of dust and debris involving trillions of collisions and impacts.

"Signs in the Sun" could include solar flares. Clark (2013) reports that colossal blasts of radiation struck Earth in 775, 992 and 1859AD and were likely triggered by massive asteroids 40-80km diameter hitting the Sun. The 1859 event: "induced electricity to flow in the world's telegraph lines, stunning operators unconscious and causing telegraph offices to burst into flames."

Such events today would wreck the world's power grids and possibly all electrical appliances!

Similar chaos to our electronics could come from cosmic rays which sometimes intensify dramatically — in 1956 by 100 times! (Hambling 2014)


But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be burned up. (II Peter 3:10)

Some religions interpreted this fire symbolically. However, Peter compares the fire with Noah’s Flood (3:1-7) and it would therefore be as literal as the Flood.

"Heavens" refers to the sky as viewed from ground or sea level. The sky would "pass away" after an asteroid or comet impact by getting obscured with dust, fire, soot, smoke, rocks, and shooting stars.

II Peter says the fire starts with "a loud noise" (3:10). Even a small event like in 1908 was heard 1000 kilometres away!

The prophet Zephaniah added:

The day of the Lord is … a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness…  In the fire of his [God’s] jealous wrath, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full, yea, sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. (2:14-18)

Zephaniah's message, by the same argument given above for Amos 9:2-3, applies to today's world. We see this also by the phrase "day of the Lord" used by Zephaniah seven times (1:7, 8, 14, 14, 18; 2:2, 3) and repeated in II Peter 3:10.

Carl Sagan (1985) wrote of widespread fire from the impact of asteroids. But the earliest mention I've found of worldwide fire is in the book Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites (1990). This book describes the impact of a 9-km-wide asteroid resulting in trillions of glowing rock particles circling the world, heating the surface to 300oC, and thick layers of soot, dust and nitrogen oxide smog blocking sunlight and darkening Earth's surface.


Since worldwide fire on the "day of the Lord" is part of "God's wrath" for human wickedness what should we do about it?

 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? (II Peter 3:11-12)


Anonymous, Investigator #62; #83; #171

Clark, S. Star Burst, New Scientist, 10 August 2013, 46-49

Clark, S. Should We Be Worried About An Asteroid Hitting Earth, Science Focus, February 2017, 60-66

Douglas, J.D. et al 1982 New Bible Dictionary, Second Edition, Inter-Varsity

Hambling, D. Burnout, New Scientist, 27 September 2014, 42-45

Hecht, J. Dual asteroid strike hits comet theory, New Scientist, July 31, 2004, 8

Marshall, M. Seriously big rocks hit Earth's early life, New Scientist, August 2014, 11

Sagan. C. & Druyan, A. Comet, Michael Joseph

Time-Life Books (1990) Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites, Joseph J. Ward

Unger, F.M. 1983 Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press

Young, R. 1939 Revised edition, Analytical Concordance To The Holy Bible, Lutterworth


Continued in Part 3

Modern scienfific discoveries anticipated in the Bible, revealed on this website: