Is Genesis 19:24 Evidence for the Trinity?
Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; KJV
In efforts to support their doctrines well-meaning but perhaps over zealous Trinitarians appeal to this verse to imply more than one person in the nature of God. At the very least they want this verse to give us some implication of the Trinity. Notice the remarks of John Wesley from his Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible:
"Then the Lord rained - from the Lord - God the Son, from God the Father, for the Father has committed all judgment to the Son. He that is the Saviour will be the destroyer of those that reject the salvation."
Ironcially, Trinitarian apologist James R. White has also utilized this text in debates attempting to make a similar argument. Such Trinitarians are thinking that there is one Lord who rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah and yet another, within the same text and using the same noun, who also rains down. By necessity this conclusion would imply that there are two Lords at work here. Yet, the Lord of the Old Testament is repeatedly said to be one and never two or three (Deuteronomy 6:4). There is not just one Lord, but the Lord is one. Let's look at this verse closer to see what could be happening. Consider some other translations of this text:
NET | Then the LORD rained down sulfur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. It was sent down from the sky by the LORD.
NIV| Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.
TEV| Suddenly the LORD rained burning sulfur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
The NET actually makes two sentences out of the verse and the NIV uses the dash. Both are emphasizing the source of the destruction is from the Lord above. Notice that the KJV had "brimstone and fire" where as the above translations have "sulfur and fire" and "burning sulfur" since in the context they are actually to be understood as one and the same. The TEV actually does not include the second reference to the Lord in their translation indication it is the same Lord in either case. Notice the NKJV rendering below:
NKJV | Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens.
The NKJV adds the comma to separate the second instance of Lord to more clearly indicate that the second instance is indicating or emphasizing the source. It is not an indication of a second person in the Trinity nor does it indicate the Lord is actually a divine being comprised of more than one person. Notice 2 Chronicles 9:2 from the KJV:
KJV| And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.
Here the noun Solomon is repeated for emphasis, not to point out that Solomon is actually two persons in one being or that another person named Solomon has suddenly entered the context. Solomon answered all of her questions. Meaning there was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her. The second reference helps to shed light or emphasize information disclosed in the first. Notice the following two later verses which summarize the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah:
Deuteronomy 29:23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath--ESV
2 Peter 2:6 ESV if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; ESV
In both accounts the Lord which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with burning sulfur is described with singular personal pronouns like "his" and "he". Therefore, if Genesis 19:24 was teaching that more than one divine person was involved in the destruction it was lost upon Moses and Peter for they certainly never recorded it in any way. Instead, they refer to the Lord of Israel as uni-personal. Trinitarians should rethink such arguments and more closely align their view of the God of Israel to that of Biblical monotheism.