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- Holiday in Eden
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- The Garden of Eden: Bible Story Summary
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Holiday in Eden
The Bible speaks of God creating man and woman and placing them in a suitable habitat-the Garden of Eden. After they sinned the two were forever banished from the Garden. Are we to assume that the Garden of Eden is an actual place? If so, then where is it?
Welcome to Garden of Eden
Actual Place The Bible makes it clear that the Garden of Eden was an actual, rather than a mythical place. It is associated with four rivers which are named in the text.
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The Tigris and Euphrates are well known as rivers that flow through modern day Iraq. Indeed, they are located in Assyria vs. The Gihon is associated with the land of Cush which would place it northeast of the head of the Persian gulf.
Thus, the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in Mesopotamia. Does It Still Exist? If the Garden of Eden were a literal place, then should we expect to find it today in its pristine condition? Its magnificence is portrayed to us before sin entered into the universe. The influence of sin was felt upon the Garden of Eden as well as every other place on earth.
The Bible includes only sparse geographic data in its descriptions of the pre-Flood world. This has led to widely divergent theories on the relationship between antediluvian and postdiluvian topography.
The majority of place names that are repeated on both sides of the Flood are simple generic words describing common features of the pre- and post-Flood world. No modern candidate for the location of Eden fulfils the clear biblical conditions for the location such as one river splitting into four. This is because Eden is not placed in reference to modern geographical landmarks, but to pre-Flood topography. The goal of this study is to provide a thorough analysis and refutation of popular modern locations for Eden in order to better establish the idea that Eden was utterly destroyed by the Flood and that attempts to place Eden in a modern geographical context are misguided.
The geography of Genesis 2 is difficult to interpret. As far back as Josephus we find attempts to locate the setting of the Garden in Eden. He expressly rejected the idea that the Flood changed the landscape:. Examples of this sort of interpretation could be multiplied, but the above is sufficient to establish that scholars have been putting forward problematic and mutually inconsistent explanations for the location of Eden for millennia.
However, the view that Eden and the rivers of Genesis 2 are located in Mesopotamia accidentally opened the door for long-age interpretations because it minimized the geological effects of the Flood. Modern biblical creationists attribute the geological record to the global Flood, and so generally accept that the geography described in Genesis 2 would have been destroyed.
They explain the reoccurrence of certain post-Flood place names as re-naming after pre-Flood landmarks. James R. The goal of this study is to bring clarity to the text while refuting attempts to locate Eden in the post-Flood world. We intend to show: 1 The geographical landmarks in Genesis 1—11 are intended to be read as real-world places; 2 This geography does not exist anywhere on the present-day earth; and 3 The explanation for similar place names in the post-Flood landscape in most cases is more complex than re-naming after antediluvian landmarks. Most of the geographical data from the pre-Flood world comes from the Genesis 2 creation narrative:.
It is worth noting that the garden is in Eden Genesis , so Eden was a larger area than the spot occupied by the garden. The feature of one river splitting into four rivers would require interesting topography seen nowhere in the modern, post-Flood world see part 2 of this paper Havilah must have been adjacent to Eden, or nearly so, and the course of the river must have twisted so that it could be said to water or flow around the whole land.
The name of the river does not occur again in Scripture. Hughes comments:. Amalekites another Semitic tribe lived there until Saul defeated them 1 Samuel Elsewhere in Scripture, there is a Gihon spring which supplied Jerusalem with water 2 Chronicles ; 1 Kings , The location of the river associated with the Garden in Eden, however, is a mystery.
As Hughes notes:. As Hughes said:. Elsewhere in Scripture, Cush is consistently associated with an area south of Egypt, not an area in Mesopotamia. But there is another candidate for this identification:. Since it is named after a son of Ham, the African Cush is a post-Flood location. But the Kassites were also a post-Flood people.
Also, the Kassites lived in southern Mesopotamia, and there is no candidate for the Gihon river in this area see figure 2. The only other place it is mentioned in Scripture is in Daniel where it is applied to the modern Tigris river. The antediluvian region named Asshur note that all the other localities in this passage are regions or the post-Flood city that was named after Asshur, the second son of Shem Genesis ?
Also, the Tigris runs through the centre of the ancient kingdom of Assyria, so this is no help. Some might argue that the sheer familiarity of this major regional river meant that no other description was necessary, but this assumes the river is the same one mentioned in Genesis 2. There are only a few other verses that give references to geography or place names before the Flood:.
Because the cherubim were placed to the east of the garden, one might assume there was only one possible entrance to the garden, and that it was at the east. One might also assume that Adam and Eve would have gone to the east of Eden. While it is always precarious to assume what the text does not explicitly state, their son certainly went east:. The place names in Genesis 2 are generic words that deal mostly with easy-to-understand traits.
These words are also easily reused, and we suggest they were, explaining how multiple people and places could have the same names. There is a strong tendency to repeat this pattern in modern societies. How many places exist that are named after simple and common terms? The point is that the post-Flood people would naturally have recycled some names, named people after pre-Flood people who then had post-Flood places named after them , or simply used names that were common before and after the Flood.
They would have been as freely inventive as people are today.
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Thus, we would expect a few words to be found on both sides of the Flood, but the appearance of such words is no more proof that Eden was located in these areas than that the Eiffel Tower is actually located in Paris, Texas. There is but one cardinal direction referenced in Genesis 2—4: east. The garden was in the east of Eden, the cherubim were placed to the east of the garden, and Cain settled to the east of that. But if Adam and Eve were removed from the garden toward the east, Eden would have been to their west , and east would then be associated with bad things. Significantly, when Israel and Judah went into exile, they also travelled east, and when the Israelites initially entered the Promised Land, they were travelling west.
The natural resources named in Genesis 2 must be found in any area put forward as a location for Eden table 1. These are fairly common materials that can be found in scattered pockets across the globe.
The Garden of Eden: Bible Story Summary
Bdellium refers either to a type of gemstone or to a plant resin of the kind found only in arid regions today. Onyx is a common mineral found across the world, but is noticeably lacking in the Middle East, as is tin. The few correlations in place names are easily discounted and the majority of place names in Genesis 2 have no geographic attestation in the region. In fact, the only way to conclude Eden must be a Mesopotamian locale is to first adopt a low view of Scripture! If one assumes the rivers of Eden can be located on modern maps, one has to start with the Tigris and Euphrates.
This generally leads to one of two conclusions: Eden was in Armenia close to the sources of the Tigris and Euphrates or Lower Mesopotamia close to where the two rivers come together.