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How Europeans saw the Garden of Eden in the Middle Ages. Painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)

Was the Garden of Eden a Real Place?

Mention the Garden of Eden to a group of friends and you are likely to get as many suggestions on its true location as people you ask, plus a fair number who will deny that it was ever a real place at all. Places that have been claimed as the true whereabouts of mankind’s original home include numerous sites in Iraq and around the Persian Gulf, Bahrain, Iran, Anatolia, Armenia, Turkey, Jerusalem, east Africa – and even the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, and Jackson County, Missouri. And those are just the better known claims; there are literally hundreds.

Will we ever know for sure where it was, or even if it really existed? Given that most of the clues to the garden’s location come from ancient texts, will we ever find any new evidence to its whereabouts? As it turns out, remote sensing, archaeological and DNA studies have provided some compelling hints to its true location in recent years, and future work might well prove it once and for all.

The Original Legend

The Garden of Eden features in the creation stories of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions, being the place where Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman, were placed by God to live after their creation. The Book of Genesis, written around 500 BC, contains our main clues about its geographical location through a description of the rivers flowing through it and its proximity to a gold-mining area. Genesis 2:3 says:  ‘Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows from the land of Havilah, where there is gold.[...] The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria and the fourth river is the Euphrates.’

The Tigris and Euphrates are well known, they flow from Turkey through Iraq and into the Persian Gulf. But the Pishon and Gihon do not exist today – however science has given us a strong clue where the Pishon once was. In 1994 Dr Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University and a pioneering figure in remote sensing, used ground-pene­trat­ing radar images from the Space Shuttle to locate and trace the bed of an ancient river that flowed for about 600 miles (965 kilometers) through Saudi Arabia, ending in Kuwait where it became a broad water­course three miles (almost five kilometers) wide.

This ‘Kuwait River’ as El Baz named it, also known as Wadi Al-Batin, is believed to have been flowing until around 2500-3000 BC and has its origins in Medina province in western Saudi Arabia in an area called Mahd adh Dhahab, also known as the Cradle of Gold, which has been the main gold-mining area in the Arabian Peninsula since at least 3000 BC. This lost river therefore appears to match well the biblical description of the river Pishon ‘flowing from the land of Havilah’, suggesting a probable north­ern Gulf location for the Garden of Eden, per­haps offshore modern Kuwait. The Gihon River however has not been unambiguously identified, but a strong contender is the Karun River which flows out of Iran to join the Pishon, Euphrates and Tigris just north of the Gulf.

When did all this happen? Two events help tie it down. The Pishon dried out around 4,500 years ago, so it must have been before then. Perhaps more importantly we know the northern Persian Gulf was largely a dry valley until around 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, so if the Garden existed beneath the present northern Gulf as we will see later it most probably did, then it must have been prior to this date.

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Top Image: How Europeans saw the Garden of Eden in the Middle Ages. Painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) ( Public Domain )

By David Millar

Comments

The Guardin' of Eden may have been a real paradise, but more importantly, the Story at the Start of Scripture was encoded, i.e. S: Shape/Symbol/Sign of the Snake/Serpent that Slithers/Slides/Strikes and hisses. S+he=She, S+in=Sin, S+on=Son.

“….The Book of Genesis, written around 500 BC, contains our main clues….”

King Josiah miraculously ‘found’ the Book of the Law in the temple while renovating it and thereupon immediately banned all other forms of worship in favor of the current Yahwehism. It is widely thought that he actually “wrote” the book, rather than finding it.  This was in approximately 750 BC.

It strikes me as odd, the claim that the book of Genesis was written in 500 BC, some 200+ year after the torah is likely to have been written. All the Mosaic nonsense aside, how did they make the connections to Adam?  In hindsight or just make it up?

Regarding the Garden and the description of the rivers, I had to laugh at:  “….The name of the first is Pishon; it flows from the land of Havilah, where there is gold….”  Seems the’ve lusted after gold from the very beginning. And how is it that with only 2 people allegedly inhabiting the planet, that these other lands have already been given names? The book even refers to Assyria. I guess the world was well established while these two garden-dwelling hermits were picking their apples! No?

 

May I suggest researching the Urantia Papers starting with Paper 73 to Paper 75..
This information about Adam and Eve, and the Garden...has been given to the peoples of this world, no more secrets all shall come abroad

"Mosaic nonsense"?

Nonsense.

Native's picture

“Was the Garden of Eden a Real Place?” Yes it was – and it still is.

The ancient world perception included without any doubts the Milky Way and everything in it. This knowledge is embedded in the numerous and very similar cultural Stories of Creation which derives from the fact that we all live on the same planet Earth, in the same Solar System, in the same Milky Way galaxy and in the same local part of the Universe.

This is the local creation and the Milky Way center is the specific location of the Garden of Eden where all creation in the local part of the Universe takes place. The Milky Way contours are mentioned as "heavenly rivers” in the garden and the Serpent represents the entire countours of the Milky Way which can be observed all around the Earth.

When dividing the Earth hemispheres in south and north, the southern hemisphere Milky Way contours represents the female part of the creation and the northern hemisphere Milky Way contours represents the male part of the creation.

Regards
Ivar Nielsen

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