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Covenants Part II: What Does Lot's Wife Teach us About the “Big Picture” of Scripture?
STOSS Books
Published by Stephen Michael Leininger in Stephen Michael Leininger · 3 September 2019
Tags: lot'ssaltpillarcovenantSodom

Covenants Part II: Lot’s Wife Who Became a Pillar of Salt

 

What Does Lot’s Wife Tell Us about the Meaning of Covenants?


Lot’s Wife Became a Pillar of Salt. What is the Literal Meaning?

To begin with, it would be cumbersome to continually refer to Lot’s wife as: “Lot’s wife.” So, let’s make it a little more personal. According to the Hebrew Midrash, the name of Lot’s wife was either Ado[1] or Idit (Edith).[2] We will refer to her as Idit in this blog. It is important to understand the difference between literal and literalistic when interpreting Scripture. Following the link will detail the distinction between the two.
What this blog will show is that one who interprets Genesis 19: 24-26 such that Idit became a geological pillar of salt (her substance changed) are using a literalistic interpretation. One who believes the verses are phenomenological, are interpreting it literally. Lets explain phenomenology.
John Lennox writes:
Suppose, for instance, that God had intended to explain the origin of the universe and life to us in detailed scientific language.  . . .  If the biblical explanation were at the level, say, of twenty–second–century science, it would likely be unintelligible to everyone.  . . .  Rather than scientific language, the Bible often uses what is called phenomenological language—the language of appearance. It describes what anyone can see.[3]
In all of my writings related to the Theology of Salt (TOS), the hermeneutics of The Science & Theology of Salt in Scripture (aka STOSS) are used to gain a deeper understanding of the biological sciences hidden in Scripture. As a result of that exegetical tool, a compelling case can be made that the words dust and stone in Scripture are direct (and intentional, on God’s part) references to man’s DNA.
In the Bible, dust, stone, rock, salt, and sea all refer to man’s DNA. While all these terms refer to the same biological material, each possesses a particular connotation. That the Bible contains the direct links to the salt and dust of DNA can be found here.
Using the hermeneutical principles of STOSS, lets endeavor to correctly understand the meaning of Genesis 19. Scripture tells us, “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomor′rah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen 19: 24-26). I’m convinced God did not turn Idit into a new substance, i.e., geological salt.
Scripture was not using the word “became” as a description of a change in her substance, but to denote a change in the state/condition of her substance. The word used for “became” in Genesis 19:26 is hyh or hāyâ. It means to happen, fall out, occur, take place, come about, come to pass. None of them refer to the annihilation of one nature to then be replaced by another naturein the same being. Hyh could be a description of a change in appearance, e.g., to decay. Becoming encased in molten sulfur would count as decay.
What is the context of the words “she became” as it is used in other passages? In Gen 24:67, she (Rebecca) became Isaac’s wife. In Ruth 4:13, she (Ruth) became Boaz’s wife. In 1 Kgs 1:14, she (Abishag) became the Kings nurse.
Consider this: every single one of us is a pillar of salt. The difference between each of us and Lot’s wife is this: the former are living and moving pillars of salt (of DNA), while the latter, because of her disobedience, became a dead and immobile pillar of salt. Let's dig deeper.
The options for interpreting the description of the Genesis 19 narrative are as follows:
Option A): Idit was encased by raining brimstone (sulfur liquefied by extreme heat), causing her to become a pillar of the salt of DNA, and her DNA was the only salt present;
Option B): Idit was miraculously transformed into a non-organic salt, replacing her salt of DNA. I don’t view this as likely, and it can be proven through Aquinas discussion on annihilation;
Option C): A chemical reaction occurred within the falling sulfur, causing it to become a salt. Sulfur could, for example, become a sulfide salt through a change in the number of electrons in the ion. This option is not likely considering that which is written in Deut 29:22-23. These passages specifically separate the presence of the chemical salt from the elemental brimstone in its description of a burnt-out wasteland (i.e., Sodom and Gomorrah, among others); and finally,
Option D): Idit was likely encased by molten sulfur and then dusted with geological salt from the turbulent environment surrounding the Dead/Salt Sea. The environmental salt was used by God as a phenomenological sign pointing to the biological truth to which it points, i.e., the salt pillar is the salt of DNA of her lifeless body.Thus, both chemical and biological organic salt could have been present.  One as a sign, the other as the biological/scientific truth.  
If we ignore Option B, the remaining three options leave us with a critical question needing an answer. All three of the remaining options involve scenarios involving multiple materials. In Option A: sulfur and salt of DNA. In Option C: sulfur that had possibly become a sulfide, together with the salt of DNA. In Option D: the salt of DNA, sulfur, and geological salt.
So, the question is this: if multiple materials were involved, why did God only mention salt as a description of Idits state immediately after her demise? Why focus on salt? I believe God intended to use Idit’s salt of DNA as a map legend. Whenever salt is used in Scripture relative to mans body, we would know to interpret it as a direct or indirect reference to the salt of DNA.
Any option involving encasement should not be classified as a pillar of salt. Were the bodies encased during the eruption of Pompeii no longer human? Was their substance changed to lava. In both events, it would be a violation of the tenets of Philosophy. For example, if I want to construct a pillar, I would need to use a substance capable of meeting the philosophical requirements of a substantial pillar. A pillar is “an upright shaft or structure, of stone, brick, or other material, relatively slender in proportion to its height, and of any shape in section, used as a building support, or standing alone, as for a monument.[4]
Genesis informs us of what the pillar is made, i.e., salt. Something that coats a substance would be an philosophical accident—not the substance. Both the molten sulfur (not a salt) and the salt dust stirred up by the event’s violence surrounding the shores of the Salt/Dead Sea. As a result, the salt dust coating over the molten sulfur would be described as a philosophical accident to the salt pillar, not the substance of a pillar.
Of the four options, I believe Option D is not just the most probable but also the only one possible, given the precise wording used in Scripture. Historically speaking, the science of DNA and the knowledge that man’s substance includes a body made of organic salt didn’t become available until recently. Thus the necessity for phenomenological language until the science caught up to the literal meaning of Scripture.
Is there enough salt in man to justifiably classify each of them as living pillars of salt? In every one of our cells, we have a complete copy of our salt/dust of DNA. We have trillions upon trillions of cells in our body. I have seen estimates of between 10 and 100 trillion cells in the adult human body. We have so much salt of DNA in our body that we could place every strand end-to-end, and it would extend 10 billion miles; enough to go to the planet Pluto and back.[5] Yeah, I would say that we are all pillars of salt.
What Does a Covenant of Salt Mean?
Scripture makes reference to covenants of salt (aka, salt covenants). What, if any, is the difference between a “covenant” and a “covenant of salt”? Nowhere in Scripture can a passage be found in which God is cited as establishing a covenant with man that is specifically referred to as a salt covenant. Yet, we know that salt covenants exist. There are three passages that refer to them (2 Chron 13:4-5, Lev 2:12-14, Num 18:18-20). Furthermore, there is also no specific text in Scripture directly defining a covenant of salt.
Due to their eternal nature (among other reasons, as well), all covenants are also salt covenants.[6] In Scripture we read, “Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt” (2 Chron 13:5)? This generational handing down of kingship occurred through a covenant of salt. In other words, this kingship involved the salt of DNA. All multi-generational covenants involve, by definition, the salt of DNA. Who was the final recipient of this salt covenant? Jesus, whose body (salt/stone of DNA) is the rebuilt/resurrected temple (John 2:19-21) whose ancestors were Adam and Eve.
In Genesis we read, “You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you” (Gen. 17:11); and, “So shall my covenant be in your flesh [salt of DNA] an everlasting covenant” (Gen 17:13). In other words, circumcision was only a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his people, but it was not, itself, the covenant. The covenant was ‘in the flesh,’ i.e. a covenant of salt. In the Old Covenant, purification of the heart was affected from the outside of the person, penetrating inward to the heart[7] (cf. Rom. 7:23-24). In the New Covenant, purification/sanctification occurs from the inside of the person (the inner heart…the spirit of the spiritual soul),[8] while simultaneously affecting the outside (the flesh). In the NC, this inner sanctification is accomplished solely through the union of our salt together with the salt of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ (see Nuptial Union).
In all of God’s promises to man, the fulfillment of the promise is conditioned on man fulfilling his end of the bargain, so to speak. This is what constitutes the ‘salt’ component of a covenant with God. In Old Covenant days, in addition to keeping God’s Laws and Commandments, all Israelites were expected to make themselves an offering to God.[9] What are we? We are salt and light (Mt. 5:13-16). We are also told that all of Israel’s offerings had to be salted.[10] It is written in Leviticus 2:13, “you shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be lacking.” God’s part of any covenant could never be lacking. Only man is salt. God is never identified or characterized as salt. The Trinity is not a Covenant of Salt. Only man’s part of the covenantal ‘deal’ can be lacking. It is only man’s salt (as referred to in Lev 2:13) that can be lacking from a sacrificial offering to God.
How does man express the overflow of his inner heart? It is through the mouth, i.e., his body. The mouth is that through which any expression is sent out. Of what is man’s body composed? Salt/dust. All prescribed offerings to God by the Israelites had to be salted. That which was being offered (e.g., meat, cereal, and non-water drink) was a type of the suffering of the incarnate Jesus (the anti-type of the offering), who would make of himself a perfect offering to God the Father. All offerings to God had to be both unblemished, and also first fruits. Only the incarnate Son of God could ever be described as being without blemish (Mary was without blemish, but only through the offering her Son would make). Therefore, the salt that had to be added to the salt of the offerings prescribed in Scripture is our salt (of DNA). Our sufferings/offerings are ‘acceptable and pleasing’ (cf. Malachi 1:10-11, Is. 64:6, 1 Pt. 2:4-5) to the Father only when we unite them with the Son’s infinite and eternally perfect offering on the wood of the cross. This is exactly what occurs at each and every Mass.
Through the Eucharist, we are made present at the crucifixion. We are united to Jesus on the cross ... uniting our imperfect offerings (but made perfect and pleasing by our union with Jesus) to our Father.[11][12] This is what the wood of the cross represents – us. The salt of DNA of the wood represents our salt of DNA to which we are nailed together (joined together) with Jesus through the salt of his body, blood, and soul, hypostatically united to his Divinity in the Eucharist. We are the wood upon which Jesus is nailed (united). I will talk in more detail about this in Part IV.
Scripture is not silent about a direct link between organic substances (e.g., humans, food, juice, etc.) and the word ‘salt’. Let’s take a look at some very interesting wording that Luke used. During the resurrected Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles, Luke writes, “And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem.” (Acts 1:4: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition). Pope Benedict XVI places great significance on the wording that Luke chose to describe Jesus’ eating with them. According to Benedict, the word that Luke used is synalizômenos. Benedict tells us this wording was very important to Luke; that he must have deliberately and purposefully chosen to use it. The literal translation of the phrase in question is “eating salt [SML] with them.”[13] Benedict believed that purpose was to form a direct link to the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, we form a sacred salt bond with Jesus. Like the Israelites, we are adding our salt to the unblemished offering of Jesus to our Father.
The New Covenant is a covenant of salt. The miracle at the wedding at Cana is a foreshadowing of what would be the ultimate accomplishment of the covenant of salt (Jesus’ mission). There is a three-part blog titled, The Wedding Feast at Cana. The links to Parts I can be found here. Hmm. Isn’t the Sacrament of Matrimony a covenant of salt also ... you know, that whole one flesh thing? By the way, this marital one-flesh union is not ... I repeat ... not symbolic. Explaining that would require a different blog series. More is explained in the Nuptial Union.
Interestingly, inside the Ark of the Covenant was: 1) Moses’ staff which was budding (a miracle attributable to the power of the Holy Spirit). Perhaps this was a ‘type’ of the resurrected body of Jesus, who is often represented by wooden branches, doors, and gates, and made fruitful through the power of the Holy Spirit. Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD), who was a historian and eyewitness to much of the earliest events in Church history, described Moses/Aaron’s rod as growing new branches upon which were also growing almonds;[14] 2) the two stone tablets which were written by the finger of God, i.e. the Holy Spirit; and 3) a gold urn containing some of the manna from heaven (Heb. 9:4).
In my opinion, the two stone tablets represent the salt of DNA (the dust of the earth) of our flesh upon which the Law is written (Gen 17:13). They also represent the unchangeable Truth of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God[15] (who took upon himself the heaviness of a mortal body). The manna represents the salt of DNA of Jesus in the Eucharist (described above as salt by Pope Benedict XVI) through whom we receive an increase of the purifying gifts of the Holy Spirit. In other words, all three items represent the coming of the newly rebuilt Temple (described in Ezekiel’s dream), which is the final and everlasting Covenant of Salt.

What Does Lot’s wife (pillar of salt) Tell us About the Big Picture?

Considering everything we have discussed so far, what does Lot’s wife becoming a pillar of salt tell us about covenants between God and man? While God made a covenant with Abraham, he didn’t give him a manual to describe what that means. Or did He? The events described in this multi-part blog are, I believe, an integral part of that manual.
If it was God’s intention to save mankind, Idit (together with other components of the event) was a sign of why it was necessary for Him to enter into a covenant of salt with man. Idit was a sign of the seriousness and gravity inherent in being, and remaining, in a covenant with God. This was a covenant made with fallen man ... man who had not, as yet, been redeemed and was without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Living Water). Sulfur is an element in the Periodic Table. It is not a chemical salt [...] If we assume that sulfur was somehow involved in the “encasing” process [which I believe is the likely scenario - SML], it would be germane to note that science has discovered the existence of a proportional relationship between the amounts of sulfur in the cellular environment and the degree of water loss in the cell;[16] the higher the sulfur content, the greater is the loss of water—potentially leading to cell death.[17] It is not coincidental that this event took place on the shores of the Dead Sea.
From a scientific standpoint, the role of water (I like to refer to it as bio-living water) within the cell is mind-boggling. According to Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, “We are able to begin to see water as really alive and moving.  He characterizes life as water dancing [SML] to the tune of macromolecules.’[18] ... a sort of quantum jazz which is both, always being improvised in response to its environment and is also coherent beyond our wildest imaginings. Our body is a liquid crystalline [liquid stone] organism that is, in fact, quantum coherent.”[19]
In other words, Scripture is telling us that Lot’s wife’s death was not only physical, it was also symbolic of the following fact: By disobedience to God’s covenant, man would lose forever the Living Water of the Holy Spirit. We were being shown the drastic consequences of disobeying God and breaking the covenant. Scripture tells us, “Evidence of their wickedness still remains: a continually smoking wasteland, plants bearing fruit that does not ripen, and a pillar of salt standing as a monument to an unbelieving soul” (Wisdom 10:7).
St. Clement of Rome writes:
On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodom when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture. (Genesis xix; cf. 2 Peter 2:6-9) For Lots wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself, and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day. This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves and become a sign to all succeeding generations.[20]  
In the next part of this blog series, we will be discussing how the Dead Sea and Sodom and Gomorrah contribute to a deeper understanding of the meaning of covenants in Scripture. We will learn why the usage and connotation of salt in the Old Testament/Covenant is drastically different than in the New testament/Covenant.
Part I of this blog series can be found here.
Part III can be found here.
Part IV can be found here.
Too see a list of all bogs and articles with descriptions and links, go here: https://www.stossbooks.com/index.php
Updated: 02/01/2024

ENDNOTES:


[1]. Book of Jasher, Chapter 19, #52, http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/jasher/19.htm, accessed 7/6/2019.
[2]. Kadari, Tamar. "Lot's Wife: Midrash and Aggadah." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. February 27, 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (accessed July 12, 2019) https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/lots-wife-midrash-and-aggadah.
[3]. John Lennox, Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 26.]
[4]. “Pillar,” Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/pillar, 2021.
[5]. Weir, Kirsten. “20 Things You Didn’t Know About ... DNA.” Discover. June 13, 2011. Accessed April 8, 2017. https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/20-things-you-didn't-know-about-dna.
[7]. Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, 154.
[8]. Catechism of the Catholic Church, http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm: ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, n.1968.
[10]. Ibid.
[11]. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), nos. 5, 8, and 11.
[12]. Catechism of the Catholic Church, http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm: ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, nos. 1323, 1353, 1364, 1366-1367, 1382.
[13]. Pope Benedict XVI, (2011-03-10). Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection (Kindle Locations 3436 - 3437). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition).
[14]. Josephus, The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, Kindle Locations 3599 - 3600.
[15]. cf. Hildegard, Scivias, 191, 213, 333, 360.
[16]. Christine L. Haskin, Gary D. Fullerton, and Ivan L. Cameron, “Molecular Basis of Articular Disk Biomechanics: Fluid Flow and Water Content in the Temporamandibular Disk as Related to Distribution of Sulfur,” Water and the Cell, Pollack, Gerald H., Cameron, Ivan L., Wheatly, Denys N (The Netherlands: Springer, 2006), 64.
[17]. Leininger, Stephen Michael. The Science & Theology of Salt* in Scripture, Vol. I: *Light, Water, Dust, and Stone too. STOSS Books. Kindle Edition. Location 333 - 338.
[18]. Gerald H. Pollack; Ivan L. Cameron; Denys N. Wheatley, Water and the Cell (The Netherlands: Springer, 2006), viii.
[19]. Mae-Wan Ho, Zhou Yu-Ming, Julian Haffegee and others, "The Liquid Cyrstalline Organism and Biological Water," Water and the Cell, eds. Gerald H. Pollack, Ivan L. Cameron, Denys N. Wheatly (The Netherlands: Springer, 2006), 220-221.
[20]. Translated by John Keith. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm.


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