A Physical, Chemical, & Thermal Evolution of Suffering in the Hellish Firestorm of Divine Wrath

Now we must begin a more detailed exploration of the firestorm from the vantage point of the Sodomites as they would have experienced it when they suffered through it physically, chemically, and thermally from start to finish. No suffering on earth at any time in history so resembles that of hellfire like the doom of Sodom & Gomorrah (Jude 1:7)! Therefore, this dreadful event of history sheds light on otherwise incomprehensible prophecies.

“The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God.” - Psalm 9:17

Behold, the fire of God! See how divine wrath is kindled (Ps. 2:12). Study and comprehend with all saints “the heat” of divine anger (Deut. 29:24). Only then will we understand exactly what happened to Lot’s wife in the extraordinary circumstances that made her turn into a pillar of salt rather than powdery salt. Even so, may we be helped on our journey to fully realize the divine commandment: “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Lk. 17:32). The pillar of salt was a divinely constructed memorial. Those beholden to it should remember the day that Sodom & Gomorrah became Hell on Earth.

The Physical Effects of Raining Brimstone

The rainstorm of fire and brimstone was an evolving situation of destruction and death that intensified over time. In the beginning, before most people even saw or felt the fire, they would have heard and felt the physical impact of falling brimstones causing the earth to shake and houses to crumble. The sheer weight and size of the brimstones is staggering to behold.




Originally, the brimstones were even larger than those found by explorers in the Cities of Ash. The fire dramatically decreased the size of the brimstones before the flames were extinguished when the stones were embedded in ruins. Can you imagine the physical effect of the falling brimstone? Brimstone is comprised of elemental sulfur having a constituency of rock. These were like falling rocks from the sky! As a rule of thumb, the average range of size could have been like that of golf balls, tennis balls, baseballs, and softballs. Comparable sized hailstones of ice absolutely destroyed Egypt! Remember?

Hailstorm of Ice: Exodus 9:19, 22-26, Psalm 78:47-48, 105:32-33, Ps. 18:12-13, 2 Sam. 22:9, 13

Everyone without shelter died in that hailstorm! Both men and animals (Ex. 9:19). The hailstorm destroyed the tender vegetation of the land and even broke down the trees (Ex. 9:25)! Considering the circumstances, let the reader understand that the density of sulfur is about 2 g/cm3, which is twice that of water. This means that hailstones of sulfur are double the weight of comparably sized ice stones! Doubling the weight means double destruction. Can you imagine it?

Hailstones of sulfur weighing 10 lbs would reach a terminal velocity of 130 mph before striking Sodom and Gomorrah. Hailstones of sulfur weighing 30 lbs would reach a terminal velocity of 153 mph! Brimstones weighing 10 to 50 lbs would reach a terminal velocity ranging from 130 to 169 mph. The rainfall of heavy stones of this density, weight, size, and velocity would bring about a total catastrophe! This isn’t like your average hailstorm of ice in modern times. This would be more like the rain of cannon balls from the sky, like those fired on the battlefield in ancient warfare! The brimstones would crush most things upon impact. Buildings constructed from bricks of limestone would crumble and collapse.

The Chemical Effects of the Gases Produced by Burning Brimstone

Sinners fleeing outside would have to face the raw power of the hailstorm. If the stones didn’t physically strike and kill them, and if the fire hadn’t yet filled the land and sky to utterly consume them, then the Sodomites would have been arrested by the airborne gases produced by the burning brimstone. Literally, this would make it impossible to flee! No one can brave the storm of divine wrath.

Those who were too afraid to go outside, who found themselves hiding in the crevices of collapsing buildings, would then be tormented by the toxic smoke until the liquid fire of the storm increased overhead and they were eventually consumed in their places. The gases alone were capable of paralyzing, overpowering, and killing the entire population. The smoke produced by burning sulfur tormented everyone it touched! Why? Because a chemical reaction took place turning the moisture of the people into sulfuric acid.

“Sulfur burns in air to form sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide gases, which are easily absorbed into human beings through the skin, eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs, entering into the bloodstream immediately. Sulfur dioxide reacts with water and oxygen in the presence of heat to form sulfurous acid. Sulfur trioxide reacts with water and oxygen in the presence of heat to produce sulfuric acid. Therefore, the moisture on the skin of the Sodomites would immediately turn into sulfuric acid all over the body in the conditions present at Sodom and Gomorrah. The moisture in the eyes would turn into sulfuric acid in the eyes! The moisture in the nose, mouth, and lungs would also turn into sulfuric acid! It would be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream within minutes according to scientific research (Dahl (1983)). The death of an average Sodomite was accompanied by much suffering due to the extreme chemical effects involving strong acidic reactions in all parts of the human body.” – Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

Upon the acid entering into the bloodstream through the lungs, the human heart would pump sulfuric acid to all parts of the body! These acids would cause severe burning and tissue damage in every conceivable place it touches, as the acid reacts violently with water to produce heat (approximately 60% of the body is composed of water), and the burning sensation would then be accompanied by headache, nausea, and vomiting. Upon contact, the destruction of bodily tissues is reported to take place in minutes and the destruction of bones within hours (Cadwell (2018)). Death of the brain cells leads to brain damage, blindness, incoordination, seizures, and death.” – Dr. Preethi Morris, PhD in Nutrition

There is something to be learned here about “the smoke of their torment (Rev. 14:11, 18:18, 19:3, Isa. 34:10). Under the circumstances, the longer anyone lived the more suffering they would endure in Sodom & Gomorrah. Of course, just like anyone else, the Sodomites would have tried to survive for as long as possible! But this only perpetuated their suffering. This is a horrible way to die.



The Thermal Effects of Raining Fire & Brimstone

By design, the Creator of heaven and earth made sulfur to have a very low melting and boiling point. The melting point of sulfur is 114 °C. The boiling point of sulfur is 444 °C. The implications of this are staggering when it comes to the creation of an unprecedented firestorm of destruction on earth. Meditatively, and prayerfully, let us imagine what the thermal evolution of the atmosphere must have been like during the rainstorm of fire and brimstone.

This is a rare “blue lava” volcanic eruption. It affords to mankind a small glimpse into what the sky above Sodom & Gomorrah might have looked like when it was illuminated with burning sulfur.


Amidst a constant downpour of fire and brimstone falling from the sky, let’s say, from an altitude of 4000 to 6000 ft, the temperature of the firestorm would steadily increase with the presence of the burning brimstone. As the brimstone burns in freefall it would melt and boil, and because both the liquid and vapor form of sulfur are highly flammable, the sky itself would then appear to be on fire. The solid, liquid, and vapor form of sulfur would all be present in the atmosphere behaving like a rapidly expanding conflagration.

During freefall, liquid droplets of burning sulfur would increasingly be displaced from the falling rocks, as molecules of vaporized sulfur would increasingly be displaced from the boiling liquid droplets, and all of it would be on fire. In the presence of a rapidly expanding firestorm, the whole area would begin to behave like an enclosed furnace making the temperatures at the center of the storminside the engulfed Cities of destruction the hottest part of the Inferno of Hell.

Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” - Psalm 11:6

The LORD was majestically presiding over the fiery furnace of Sodom and Gomorrah. Every increase or decrease of temperature was under divine control. Practically, this means that God was controlling two things: firstly, the amount of burning brimstone in freefall during the storm; secondarily, the wind currents of oxygen that were feeding the fire. It is easy to imagine how a single jetstream of oxygen would excite and infuriate the fire! And of course this would radically increase the temperature. Similarly, depriving the firestorm of oxygen would decrease the fire and lower the temperature. Nevertheless, despite any fluctuations, we can be sure that the general temperature of the furnace was exceedingly hot! Remember, sulfur burns with a blue colored flame that can reach temperatures approaching 1600 °C. The color of fire changes with the increase of heat as follows: red (525-100 °C), orange (1100-1200 °C), white (1300-1500 °C), & blue (1400-1650 °C).

The sights and sounds are still horrifying in the event that the firestorm was deprived of oxygen. Even if there wasn’t enough oxygen to burn up the trees of various edenic gardens in some parts of a City, the trees and plant life of that area would melt. Literally, the trees in their entirety would melt into a black slimy liquid instead of burning into ash. Those beholden to this scene would find it looking eerily like the pit of Hell, because various pockets in the inferno would be mostly void of fire, albeit surrounded by fire, as melting gardens accumulating into streams of fiery pitch flowing on the ground.

And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” - Isa. 34:9-10

Pitch is formed through the melting of organic matter, like leaves, stems, branches, and trees, in an atmosphere of extreme heat that is void of sufficient oxygen to create flames. However, in the process, yet another chemical reaction takes place to create pitch! For the sake of simplicity, I have called it melting. Scientists would prefer to use more technical terms. They would call this process a chemical conversion under non-oxidative thermal conditions. Nevertheless, let the reader understand that the mighty trees of the edenic gardens in Sodom liquified because of the fervent heat, and this makes possible the chemical conversion.

Organic material burns and vaporizes at 600-650 °C. The crust of the earth melts at 1200 °C. Seeing that a furnace of burning sulfur can reach temperatures approaching 1600 °C, the activity described in Isaiah 34:9-10 would certainly be present in the Cities of Destruction. Now this brings us to Lot’s wife.

“Remember Lot’s Wife.” – Lk. 17:32

Why did Lot’s wife turn into a pillar of salt instead of a pile of powdery salt like the rest of the population of Sodom and Gomorrah? There is a scientific and biblical explanation for this marvelous phenomenon.

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And He overthrew those Cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the Cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Gen. 19:24-26

Firstly, during a rainstorm of fire and brimstone, the only way possible for Lot’s wife to become a pillar of salt is through a process called sintering.

“Sintering is a process whereby the powdery constituents would fuse together to form a dense structure with good mechanical strength and integrity. It would take place when the melting and re-solidification of the calcium sulfate produced from her bones happen ultrafast, with her body in a standing position, so that the sintered calcium sulfate would appear in the form of a pillar before there was a chance for her body to fall down.” – Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

Secondarily, from a biblical perspective, let the reader understand that pillars were made to mark a special event in history to bring to remembrance something important. Those beholden to them understand the message being communicated.

Jacob did it to mark the place where God appeared to him in the wilderness (Gen. 28:18, 22). Jacob did it again, as a matter of life or death, to bring to remembrance the agreement of peace that he made with Laban (Gen. 31:45-55). Grieving spouses, like Abraham, mark the graves of their dead family members to bring to remembrance the location of their resting place (Gen. 35:20). Samuel did it to set up a memorial of victory, an Ebeneezer, to bring to remembrance how the LORD helped Israel in battle against the Philistines (1 Sam. 7:12). The reprobate, Absalom, did it in a vain quest for immortal glory, wishing that his own name would be held in remembrance forever (2 Sam. 18:18).

Even so, when God made a pillar, it served as a signpost of salvation! The message being communicated is loud and clear: Flee from the wrath to come!

Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” – Luke 17:32-33

Why did God turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt? You know. Those beholden to it know the message being communicated! The LORD did it to bring to remembrance the day when divine wrath turned the Cities of the Plain into an infernal dungeon of Hell on Earth. Now she serves as an omen, an eternal warning, bidding pilgrims of all ages to avoid her fate while fleeing the wrath to come in their generation.

How did God turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt? Most materials will either vaporize or sinter together at these high temperatures. 550 °C is the minimum temperature that vaporizes organic material. 876 °C is the minimum temperature for sintering the calcium sulfate. 1,485 °C is an approximate temperature that would allow for ultra-fast sintering in the case of Lot’s Wife.

Seeing that Lot’s wife was outside of the City of Sodom at the exterior of the inferno as it was heating up, when she looked back, it was then that the LORD targeted her specifically with an especially intense downpour of fire and brimstone. A finger of fire proceeded out of the mighty storm and touched Lot’s wife! It was a tornado of fire, a firenado, and it proceeded out of the firestorm and descended upon the head of Lot’s wife. It whirled around her to bury and burn her in heat reaching 1,485 °C, and then it lifted off of her as quickly as it came upon her, and this allowed the pillar to cool down and solidify.

A rain of burning sulfur would have vaporized all the organic matter, entombing her with the rainy deposits of burning sulfur, and converting her bones into a pillar of calcium sulfate salt, as a testimony to all mankind. Bone is comprised of calcium phosphate, along with collagen and marrow. Upon heating, the organic components will burn at 650-700 °C. Once the organic components of the bone are burned up, the bone normally becomes very porous and brittle, having a tendency to crumble. However, if the temperatures are much higher, at 1,300-1,670 °C, the bone becomes harder because of the sintering of calcium sulfate.

The high temperatures and reactive atmosphere present during the exposure of the skeletal remains of Lot’s wife create ideal conditions for the following: (1) the chemical reaction of bone material to form calcium sulfate, and (2) the melting and re-solidification leading to chemical sintering of calcium sulfate. This happens in the presence of calcium phosphate, a constituent of bone which acts as a sintering aid. Adjacent pieces of chemically converted bone fragments can likewise get sintered together when small amounts of additional material such as calcium phosphate or silica are present as sintering aids. Upon sintering, the chemically converted skeletal remains lose their form and turn into a pillar having a dense structure with excellent mechanical strength and integrity.

A heavy dose of brimstone rain must have been responsible for the extreme effect upon Lot's wife when compared to the general population of Sodom and Gomorrah. The impulsive, intense rain of brimstone would have increased the temperatures sufficiently enough to not only convert the bones to calcium sulfate, but also sinter the calcium sulfate due to the high instantaneous heat flux. This may be similar to the heat flux from a laser beam, which is frequently employed to sinter 3D printed powders. The impulse of brimstone rain would not have the sustained, moderate heating effect of a continuous brimstone rain which would have been the case in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Upon sintering the calcium sulfate, her body would have rapidly cooled down because the rainfall was not sustained over a prolonged duration, but momentarily effected by the intense wrath of Almighty God.” – Dr. Moses David, PhD in Chemical Engineering

There is much more to this burden than what immediately appears. Sodom is explicitly mentioned a staggering 48 times in Holy Scripture! Herein, a full spectrum of topics is brought into view: Judgments in time (Jer. 49:18, Zeph. 2:9) & judgments in eternity (Matt. 10:15, 11:23-24, Mk. 6:11, Lk. 10:12)! However, that being said, the most frightening prophecies are those that foretell the judgment of God upon the backslidden Church through the Beast. Dreadful visions of a fiery divine majesty are associated with these prophecies. The prophets told us exactly what they saw: Micah (Micah 1:2-4), Isaiah (Isaiah 28:2, 17, 29:6, 32:19, 64:1-2), Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:2-28, 13:11), Nahum (Nahum 1:1-10), & Amos (Amos 9:5). Believe it or not, these visions align with the context of Luke 17:22-37.

When and if the Jews become spiritual Sodomites (Deut. 32:32, Isa. 1:10, 3:9, Jer. 23:14, Rev. 11:8), God will then be intensely provoked against them with a desire to totally annihilate them like Sodom and Gomorrah (Hos. 11:8-9). For, in reality, they have sinned worse than the Samaritans and Sodomites by virtue of sinning against a salvific influence of divine light (Ezek. 16:46-56). Nevertheless, it is written that God will not utterly destroy them for His own namesake. The annihilation of the Jews and the Holy Land will indeed be like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Deut. 29:33)! However, a small remnant will be saved (Isa. 1:9-10, Rom. 9:29). A remnant will be engulfed by the fire and then plucked out of it before being utterly consumed by it (Amos 4:11, Zech. 3:2). In the latter days we will consider it perfectly.




Dahl, Alan R., Sharon A. Felicetti, and Bruce A. Muggenburg. "Clearance of sulfuric acid-introduced 35S from the respiratory tracts of rats, guinea pigs and dogs following inhalation or instillation." Fundamental and Applied Toxicology 3.4 (1983): 293-297.


Cadwell, Lindsey M. Macroscopic observations of the effects of corrosive substances on bone and soft tissue when subjected to heating. Diss. Boston University, 2018.