Garden of Eden, in the Old Testament Book of Genesis, biblical earthly paradise inhabited by the first created man and woman.
Adam and Eve, prior to their expulsion for disobeying the commandments of God. It is also called in Genesis the Garden of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Suggestions for the location of the Garden of Eden include: at its source of the rivers, while others, including Juris Zarins have looked at the head of the Persian Gulf, in southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers run into the sea; and in the Armenian Highlands or Armenian Plateau.
British archaeologist David Rohl locates it in Iran, and in the vicinity of Tabriz, but this suggestion has not caught on with scholarly sources
Most Bible commentaries state that the site of the Garden of Eden was in the Middle East, situated somewhere near where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are today. This is based on the description given in Genesis 2:8–14:
“A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.” (Genesis 2:10-14)
First, let’s examine the Biblical information. While the Tigres and Euphrates both have their headwaters in the area surrounding Mt. Ararat, they do not flow from a source like the spokes on a wheel, filling the land as mentioned. Nor are the other two rivers present and none go to Ethiopia. Furthermore, the mineral deposits mentioned bear no resemblance to those in this area. In short, the geography and descriptions don’t match.
The key is in recognizing that through the Flood of Noah’s day, “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (II Peter 3:6). As described in Genesis 6-9, the Flood would have totally restructured the surface of the globe. It would have done what major floods do—erode the land surface in one area and redeposit those sediments elsewhere. Biblically, the Flood covered the planet with processes operating at rates, scales, and intensities far beyond those possible today. No place on Earth could have survived untouched.
These sediments would have been full of organic debris, which over time would either fossilize or metamorphose into oil and gas. The sediments would harden into sedimentary rock, in places bending into mountains or breaking along fault systems.
Today, the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley contains sediments over two miles thick, from which are pumped enormous quantities of oil and gas. The sediments, now rock, are dramatically bent into modern mountains as well as subsurface mountains, and brutally broken by major fault systems. They deeply cover and obscure any possible pre-flood locations. Furthermore, the basement rock, if indeed it was present before the Flood, would have likely undergone erosion also. No present topography or underground surface could possibly bear any resemblance to the pre-flood world. That world is gone!
Noah and his family would have encountered the present-day Tigris and Euphrates Rivers soon after leaving the Ark. As their descendants migrated, they would give familiar names to the new rivers and places.
Eden isn’t about the location, it’s about the meaning of life
It seems that the exact location of the garden is not that important to us. Rather, we should focus on the relevance of the garden of Eden for our lives, as the Bible portrays it. In Eden, man was perfect. He walked joyously and sinlessly with God. The name Eden probably refers to a life of luxury or pleasure. This would be a striking description of the life lived by Adam and Eve before they sinned against God. This brings us to the “dark side” of Eden. Man sinned, and came under dominion of death and sin (Romans 5:12). He was driven out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24).
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