ANSWER: Before we explore what might have led to the incest between Lot and his two daughters, it is importance to remember that overall God considered him a righteous man (2Peter 2:4 - 9).
Most people are somewhat aware of what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, his wife, and two daughters are saved when God sends two angels to make sure they are out of Sodom before the city is punished for their wicked ways. Lot's request to have the family flee to the nearby small town of Zoar, instead of the mountains, is granted (Genesis 19:18 - 22). As they came into Zoar, God brought brimstone and fire upon the two sinful cities and totally cleansed the land of their existence.
Lot's stay in Zoar was likely not very long. Although he begged the two angels to not send him into the mountains but instead let him seek safety in Zoar, he soon leaves the city and heads for the mountains (Genesis 19:30)! Once in the mountains the family finds a cave to live in. It is then that the older sister tells the younger one the following.
'Our father is getting old, and there are no men in the whole world to marry us so that we can have children. 32 Come on, let’s get our father drunk, so that we can sleep with him and have children by him' (Genesis 19:31 - 32)
The daughters proceed to get their father Lot drunk with wine then have sex with him. They do such a good job at getting their father inebriated that he does not know what they are doing to him (verses 33, 35). The two women become pregnant and eventually give birth to boys named Moab (father of the Moabites tribe) and Benammi (father of the Ammonites).
Factors that led to decision
Before the incestuous events with the daughters occurred, the family experienced some awesome and heartbreaking events in a very short period. They had to run from Sodom in order to save themselves. They then saw the aftermath of Sodom and Gomorrah TOTALLY destroyed and wiped completely from the face of the earth. Then, not only is Lot's wife turned into salt, they must flee yet again out of fear and end up living in a cave. Would any of us not feel a bit distressed, uptight, confused, and afraid of what might happen next if we saw and experienced what they did?
It certainly seems the daughters panicked when they were at the cave with their father. This may have led to their confused thinking, which led them to make conclusions that were not accurate, which were then used to justify their impulsive reaction to the situation. The Bible states that they justified having sex with their father because they BELIEVED all men were dead (Genesis 19:31)! This, however, shows the daughters acted impulsively and did not question their assumption that all men were gone. They forgot they left the city of Zoar, which surely had some men in it, AFTER God has completed punishing Sodom and the surrounding cities of the plain for their sins.
29. And when God destroyed (past tense!) the cities of the plain, it came to pass that God remembered Abraham . . . 30. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and lived in the mountain, and his two daughters with him . . . (Genesis 19:29 - 30)
On the surface, the desire of Lot's daughters to continue the human race after Sodom and Gomorrah is certainly noble. Their behavior, however, was based far more on their skewed thinking brought on by fear and panic than anything else. As for the father, he sinned willingly, but not willfully. He succumbed to human nature and put himself in a compromising situation that led him to do that which he normally would not. In the final analysis, based on 2Peter 2:4 - 9, God ultimately forgave him for his errors.