Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

Overview
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam
Adam
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

, and his wife, Eve
Eve
Eve is the first woman created by God in the Book of Genesis.Eve may also refer to:-People:*Eve , a common given name and surname*Eve , American recording artist and actress-Places:...

, lived after they were created by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. Literally, the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 speaks about a garden in Eden (Gen. 2:8). This garden forms part of the Genesis creation narrative and theodicy
Theodicy
Theodicy is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence , omniscience , and omnipotence . Theodicy is usually concerned with the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to the relevant...

 of the Abrahamic religions, often being used to explain the origin of sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

 and mankind's wrongdoings.

The Genesis creation narrative relates the geographical location of both Eden and the garden to four rivers (Pishon
Pishon
The Pishon is one of four rivers mentioned in the Biblical Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden...

, Gihon
Gihon
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing"...

, Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

, Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

), and three regions (Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, and Kush
Kingdom of Kush
The native name of the Kingdom was likely kaš, recorded in Egyptian as .The name Kash is probably connected to Cush in the Hebrew Bible , son of Ham ....

).
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Encyclopedia
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam
Adam
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

, and his wife, Eve
Eve
Eve is the first woman created by God in the Book of Genesis.Eve may also refer to:-People:*Eve , a common given name and surname*Eve , American recording artist and actress-Places:...

, lived after they were created by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. Literally, the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 speaks about a garden in Eden (Gen. 2:8). This garden forms part of the Genesis creation narrative and theodicy
Theodicy
Theodicy is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence , omniscience , and omnipotence . Theodicy is usually concerned with the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, due to the relevant...

 of the Abrahamic religions, often being used to explain the origin of sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

 and mankind's wrongdoings.

The Genesis creation narrative relates the geographical location of both Eden and the garden to four rivers (Pishon
Pishon
The Pishon is one of four rivers mentioned in the Biblical Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden...

, Gihon
Gihon
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing"...

, Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

, Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

), and three regions (Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, and Kush
Kingdom of Kush
The native name of the Kingdom was likely kaš, recorded in Egyptian as .The name Kash is probably connected to Cush in the Hebrew Bible , son of Ham ....

). There are hypotheses that place Eden at the headwaters of the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 and Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 (northern Mesopotamia), in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

), Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. For many medieval writers, the image of the Garden of Eden also creates a location for human love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 and sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

, often associated with the classic and medieval trope of the locus amoenus
Locus Amoenus
Latin for "pleasant place", locus amoenus is a literary term which generally refers to an idealized place of safety or comfort. A locus amoenus is usually a beautiful, shady lawn or open woodland, sometimes with connotations of Eden...

.

Etymology


The origin of the Hebrew עדן, which it translates to "delight", may derive from the Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

 term EDIN. The Sumerian term means steppe, plain, desert or wilderness, so the connection between the words may be coincidental. This word is known to have been used by the Sumerians to refer to the arid lands west of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

. Alan Millard
Alan Millard
Alan Ralph Millard is Rankin Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, and Honorary Senior Fellow , at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology in the University of Liverpool....

 has put forward a case for the name deriving from the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 stem dn, meaning "abundant, lush".

The story from Genesis


God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 charges Adam
Adam
Adam is a figure in the Book of Genesis. According to the creation myth of Abrahamic religions, he is the first human. In the Genesis creation narratives, he was created by Yahweh-Elohim , and the first woman, Eve was formed from his rib...

 to tend the garden in which they live, and specifically commands Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
In the Book of Genesis, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or the tree of knowledge was a tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. . God directly forbade Adam to eat the fruit of this tree...

. Eve is questioned by the serpent
Serpent (Bible)
Serpent is the term used to translate a variety of words in the Hebrew bible, the most common being , , the generic word for "snake"....

 concerning why she avoids eating from this tree. In the dialogue between the two, Eve elaborates on the commandment not to eat of its fruit. She says that even if she touches the fruit she will die. The serpent responds that she will not surely die, rather she and her husband would "be as gods, knowing good and evil," and persuades Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve eats and gives the fruit to Adam, who also eats. At this point the two become aware, "to know good and evil," evidenced by an awareness of their nakedness.

God expels them from Eden, to keep Adam and Eve from also partaking of the Tree of Life. The story says that God placed cherubim with an omnidirectional "flaming sword" to guard against any future entrance into the garden.

In the account, the garden is planted "eastward, in Eden," and accordingly "Eden" properly denotes the larger territory which contains the garden, rather than being the name of the garden itself: it is, thus, the garden located in Eden. The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 also states (Brachos
Berakhot (Talmud)
Berachot is the first tractate of Seder Zeraim, a collection of the Mishnah that primarily deals with laws relating to plants and farming...

 34b) that the Garden is distinct from Eden.

Geography


The Book of Genesis does not state a physical geographic location for the garden of Eden, but ideally it is "the garden of God" or divine home (Ezek 31:8-9). Also, according to some ancient myths, all of the world's major rivers flow out of the divine home.
Genesis 2:10-14 names the garden of Eden as the source of four rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, great waterways of Mesopotamia, and the Pishon and Gihon. Four waterways were possibly cited because in ancient times, similar to today, the world was charted in four different directions, North, South, East and West.

Location


The Biblical description of the garden says:

Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.
The name of the first is Pishon
Pishon
The Pishon is one of four rivers mentioned in the Biblical Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden...

; it flows around the whole land of Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

, where there is gold.[...]
The name of the second river is Gihon
Gihon
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing"...

; it flows around the whole land of Cush.
The name of the third river is Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

; it flows east of Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

 And the fourth river is the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

.


There have been a number of claims as to the actual geographic location of the Garden of Eden, though many of these have little or no connection to the text of Genesis. Most put the Garden somewhere between Najaf
Najaf
Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

 and Kufa
Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000....

 in Iraq in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. There is uncertainty whether the places mentioned in this verse correspond to modern places of the same name. For example, the Hebrew word for the Tigris has been suggested to be Hiddekel, but the locations of the Pishon and Gihon are generally unknown.

2 Peter 3:6 states that the world before the worldwide catastrophic flood of Noah's time was destroyed by that flood. Therefore some believe it is impossible for us to know the location of the garden of Eden as there is no correlation between today's geography and the pre-flood geography. Four rivers are named as flowing out of the garden (Genesis 2:10-14) but in the same way that Ipswich in Queensland, Australia has no geographical correspondence to Ipswich
Ipswich
Ipswich is a large town and a non-metropolitan district. It is the county town of Suffolk, England. Ipswich is located on the estuary of the River Orwell...

 in the UK after which it is named, there is no correlation in location to any current rivers that were named after Eden's four rivers by survivors of the flood.

Lebanon


The prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

 mentions that the tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s in the Garden of Eden come from Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 . Based on an analysis of this chapter, Terje Stordalen has suggested "an apparent identification of Eden and Lebanon in Ezekiel 31" and symbolical relationships between Eden and Lebanon. John Pairman Brown wrote "it appears that the Lebanon is an alternative placement in Phoenician myth (as in Ez 28,13, III.48) of the Garden of Eden". and Paul Swarup also discusses connections between paradise, the garden of Eden and the forests of Lebanon (possibly used symbolically) within prophetic writings. Edward Lipinski
Edward Lipinski (orientalist)
Edward Lipiński, is a Belgian scholar specializing in Biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies.-Life:His first major work, published in 1965, was a monumental monograph entitled La royauté de Yahwé dans la poésie et le culte de l’ancien Israël. In 1969, he was appointed professor at the Louvain...

 and Peter Kyle McCarter have suggested that the Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)
Garden of the gods (Sumerian paradise)
The Garden of the gods or Sumerian paradise is the divine paradise of the Annanuki, the gods of Sumer. Samuel Noah Kramer suggested the concept of a human paradise and the Garden of Eden originated from the Sumerians who were describing a land outside of Sumer...

, the Sumerian
Sumerian
Sumerian may refer to:*Sumerian language*Cuneiform script – Sumerian script*The people who lived in ancient Sumer, or anything else pertaining to their civilization, including:**History of Sumer**Sumerian architecture**Sumerian mythology...

 version of the Garden of Eden, relates to a mountain sanctuary in the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges.

Sumer and Dilmun


Some of the historians working from within the cultural horizons of southernmost Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

, where the earliest surviving non-Biblical source of the Biblical account lies, point to the quite genuine Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

 of the island Dilmun
Dilmun
Dilmun or Telmun is a land mentioned by Mesopotamian civilizations as a trade partner, a source of the metal copper, and an entrepôt of the Mesopotamia-to-Indus Valley Civilization trade route...

 (theorized by some to be Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

) in the Middle / Near East, described as 'the place where the sun rises' and 'the Land of the Living'. The setting of the Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n creation narrative, Enûma Elish
Enûma Elish
The is the Babylonian creation myth . It was recovered by Austen Henry Layard in 1849 in the ruined Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh , and published by George Smith in 1876.The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding...

, has clear parallels with the Genesis narratives. After its actual decline, beginning about 1500 BC, Dilmun developed such a reputation as a long-lost garden of exotic perfections that it may have influenced the story of the Garden of Eden. Some interpreters have tried to establish an Edenic garden at the trading-center of Dilmun.

Under the Persian Gulf


The Genesis creation narrative relates the geographical location of both Eden and the garden to four rivers (Pishon
Pishon
The Pishon is one of four rivers mentioned in the Biblical Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden...

, Gihon
Gihon
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing"...

, Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

, Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

), and three regions (Havilah
Havilah
Havilah is in several books of the Bible referring to both land and people.The story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:11: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads...

, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, and Kush). While the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are well known the Pishon and Gihon are not known at all. Gihon is sometimes identified with the Karun River of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 that flows into the Shatt al-Arab below Basra. Kush is sometimes associated with Egyptian Kush
Kingdom of Kush
The native name of the Kingdom was likely kaš, recorded in Egyptian as .The name Kash is probably connected to Cush in the Hebrew Bible , son of Ham ....

, but it is also associated with the Kossaei
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

, the homeland of the Kassites
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 (Kashshu), in the Zagros Mountains.

Regarding the Pishon on the location of Eden in Genesis 2:10 says: "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah".

Havillah is thought to have been the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf. Satellite photos of the area show that before 4,000 BCE there was a river that drained into the Persian gulf at that area, now known as Wadi Ramah and Wadi Batin. Dr. Juris Zarins
Juris Zarins
Juris Zarins is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University, who specializes in the Middle East....

, the Latvian-American Professor of Southwest Missouri State University believes that the Garden of Eden lies in the vicinity, presently under the headwaters of the Persian Gulf, and he further believes that the story of Adam and Eve in-and especially out-of the Garden is a highly condensed and evocative account of the shift from hunting-gathering to agriculture. The story of Eden, Zarins believes, came about 6500 B.C. during the Neolithic Wet Phase when rains returned to the Gulf region. The reaches of eastern and northeastern Saudi Arabia and southwestern Iran became green and fertile again. Foraging populations came back to where the four rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, Karun (Gihon) and Wadi Ramah (Pishon) now ran full, and there was rainfall on the intervening plains. Animal bones indicate that in this period Arabia had abundant game. Thousands of stone tools suggest intensive, if seasonal, human occupation around now dry lakes and rivers. These tools are found even in the Rub al-Khali or Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia. This region was believed to be the homeland of the Proto-Sumerians. Both "Eden" and the word "Adam" also existed in cuneiform, the latter meaning something like "settlement on the plain". Although both words were set down first in Sumerian, along with place names like Ur and Uruk, they are not Sumerian in origin. They are believed to be older. The Assyriologist
Assyriology
Assyriology is the archaeological, historical, and linguistic study of ancient Mesopotamia and the related cultures that used cuneiform writing. The field covers the Akkadian sister-cultures of Assyria and Babylonia, together with their cultural predecessor; Sumer...

 Benno Landsberger
Benno Landsberger
Benno Landsberger was one of the most important German Assyriologists.- Early life and education :...

 proposed that these names were all linguistic remnants of a pre-Sumerian people who had already named rivers, cities-and even some specific trades like potter and coppersmith-before the Sumerians appeared.
Landsberger called the pre-Sumerian language simply Proto-Euphratian
Proto-Euphratean language
Proto-Euphratean was considered by some Assyriologists , to be the substratum language of the people that introduced farming into Southern Iraq in the Early Ubaid period ....

, and it is believed to be associated with the beginning of farming. Other scholars suggest that its speakers were the members of the Ubaid
Ubaid period
The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The tell of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain of southern...

 culture that spread southwards around the Persian Gulf. The existing place names and words for farming and other crafts were incorporated into Sumerian and written down for the first time. And in developing the mythology the lush and lovely spot called Eden was codified by being written. Zarins writes "Adam and Eve were heirs to natural bounty. They had everything they needed. But they sinned and were expelled. How did they sin? By challenging God's very omnipotence. In so doing they represented the agriculturists, the upstarts who insisted on taking matters into their own hands, relying upon their knowledge and their own skills rather than on His bounty." The 5.9 kiloyear event
5.9 kiloyear event
The 5.9 kiloyear event was one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene. It occurred around 3900 BC, ending the Neolithic Subpluvial and probably initiated the most recent desiccation of the Sahara desert. Thus, it also triggered worldwide migration to river valleys, e.g...

 saw this area revert to the desert it is today. His theory is supported by C. A. Schlabach.

Iran's Azarbaijan province


David Rohl
David Rohl
New Chronology is the term used to describe an alternative Chronology of the ancient Near East developed by English Egyptologist David Rohl and other researchers beginning with A Test of Time: The Bible - from Myth to History in 1995...

 suggests that the land of Eden was a vast area referred to in ancient Sumerian texts as the Edin (lit. "plain" or "steppe"), north of Mesopotamia beyond the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains are the largest mountain range in Iran and Iraq. With a total length of 1,500 km , from northwestern Iran, and roughly correlating with Iran's western border, the Zagros range spans the whole length of the western and southwestern Iranian plateau and ends at the Strait of...

, in the Armenian Highland
Armenian Highland
The Armenian Highland is the central-most and highest of three land-locked plateaus that together form the northern sector of the Middle East...

. The Garden of Eden was then located in a long valley "in the east of Eden," to the north of Sahand
Sahand
Sahand is a massive, heavily eroded stratovolcano in northwestern Iran. At , it is the highest mountain in the Iranian province of East Azarbaijan....

 volcano, near Tabriz
Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

. He cites several geographical similarities and toponyms which he believes match the biblical description. These similarities include: the nearby headwaters of the four rivers of Edin, the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 (Heb.
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 Hiddekel, Akk.
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

 Idiqlat), Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 (Heb. Perath, Akk. Purattu), Gaihun-Aras (Heb., Gihon
Gihon
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing"...

), and Uizun (Heb. Pishon
Pishon
The Pishon is one of four rivers mentioned in the Biblical Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden...

); the mountain range of Kusheh Dagh (the land of Cush); and Upper and Lower Noqdi (the Land of Nod
Land of Nod
The Land of Nod is a place in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, located "on the east of Eden" , to which Cain chose to flee after murdering his brother Abel...

). In his book From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible, Eric H. Cline
Eric H. Cline
Eric H. Cline is an author, historian, archaeologist, and professor of ancient history and archaeology at The George Washington University in Washington DC, where he is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations as well as Director of...

 says "his suggestions have not caught on with the scholarly establishment. His argument is not helped by the fact that it depends upon speculations regarding the transmission of place-names for both the various rivers and nearby related areas from antiquity to the present. In the end, while Rohl’s suggestion is not out of the question, it seems no more probable than any other hypothesis, and less likely than those suggested by Speiser, Zarins, and Sauer."

Jerusalem


Several religious traditions identify the location of the garden of Eden with the city of Jerusalem, in particular Gihon Spring
Gihon Spring
The Gihon Spring was the main source of water for the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem. One of the world's major intermittent springs - and a reliable water source that made human settlement possible in ancient Jerusalem - the spring was not only used for drinking water, but also...

.

Josephus


The Jewish historian Josephus Flavius (1st century AD) suggests that the four rivers are the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, and a river of the Indian subcontinent, either the Indus or the Ganges. Since these four are not even close to flowing together, the topography of the world would have had to have been much different in Josephus' mind - there is no way to specify a location for Eden using these four rivers unless the world looked quite different than it does today.

Mòinteach Bharbhais


According to local folk-traditions in the Isle of Lewis, the Garden of Eden was located on the Barvas
Barvas
Barvas is a settlement, community and civil parish on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland.It developed around a road junction. North is the road to Ness; west takes the traveller to Carloway and the West Side; south runs the road to Stornoway...

 moor, just outside of the town. The area as it now appears is greatly altered from what it would have appeared as thousands of years ago, according to archaeological climate graphs, which appear to show a far milder and temperate atmosphere around the times of the Younger Dryas
Younger Dryas
The Younger Dryas stadial, also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a geologically brief period of cold climatic conditions and drought between approximately 12.8 and 11.5 ka BP, or 12,800 and 11,500 years before present...

 and the climactic amelioration after that.

Jackson County, Missouri, North America



For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

 or Latter Day Saints), the Garden of Eden is believed to have been located in present-day Jackson County, Missouri
Jackson County, Missouri
Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. With a population of 674,158 in the 2010 census, Jackson County is the second most populous of Missouri's counties, after St. Louis County. Kansas City, the state's most populous city and focus city of the Kansas City Metropolitan...

. According to Mormon theology, Independence, Missouri
Independence, Missouri
Independence is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson and Clay. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

, was revealed to be the "center place" of Zion
Zion
Zion is a place name often used as a synonym for Jerusalem. The word is first found in Samuel II, 5:7 dating to c.630-540 BCE...

 and the original dwelling place of Adam and Eve in the Garden which God planted "eastward in Eden". Mormons believe that Adam and Eve traveled 85 miles north to the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman
Adam-ondi-Ahman
Adam-ondi-Ahman is an historic site along the east bluffs above the Grand River in Daviess County, Missouri. According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , it is the site where Adam and Eve lived after being expelled from the Garden of Eden...

 after they had transgressed and were driven from the Garden. (Adam-ondi-Ahman is sometimes mistakenly associated with the location of the garden itself). As for its location in the western hemisphere, some Latter-day Saints have presumed the continents were not yet separate before the Great Flood and that this approach would be consistent with the configuration of the super-continent Pangaea
Pangaea
Pangaea, Pangæa, or Pangea is hypothesized as a supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the component continents were separated into their current configuration....

.

In the footnotes of the Pearl of Great Price that are published by the church, it is stated that there were lands and rivers that were given names later attached to other lands and rivers as in the Book of Genesis. The geographic descriptions of Eden in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 would therefore refer to entirely different lands and rivers than those carrying the same names today, whose names were transposed after the biblical flood to local lands and rivers in the Near East.

Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka


Adam's Peak
Adam's Peak
Sri Pada , is a tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka...

, named after a footprint-like formation found near the summit of a conical mountain. The Buddhist tradition deems it to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva and in Muslim and Christian tradition that of Adam. Moreover there are four rivers starting from this mountain.

Eden as paradise



"Paradise
Paradise
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and...

" (Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 פרדס PaRDeS) used as a synonym for the Garden of Eden shares a number of characteristics with words for 'walled orchard garden' or 'enclosed hunting park' in Old Persian. The word "paradise" occurs three times in the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, but always in contexts other than a connection with Eden: in the Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

 iv. 13: "Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard"; Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 2. 5: "I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits"; and in Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community. He was the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the...

 ii. 8: "And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's orchard, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me." In the Song of Solomon, it is clearly "garden"; in the second and third examples "park". In the post-Exilic apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians....

 and in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, "paradise" gains its associations with the Garden of Eden and its heavenly prototype. In the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, there is an association of "paradise" with the realm of the blessed (as opposed to the realm of the cursed) among those who have already died, with literary Hellenistic influences observed by numerous scholars. The Greek Garden of the Hesperides
Hesperides
In Greek mythology, the Hesperides are nymphs who tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in North Africa at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean....

 was somewhat similar to the Christian concept of the Garden of Eden, and by the 16th century a larger intellectual association was made in the Cranach
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

 painting (see illustration at top). In this painting, only the action that takes place there identifies the setting as distinct from the Garden of the Hesperides
Hesperides
In Greek mythology, the Hesperides are nymphs who tend a blissful garden in a far western corner of the world, located near the Atlas mountains in North Africa at the edge of the encircling Oceanus, the world-ocean....

, with its golden fruit.

Alan Millard
Alan Millard
Alan Ralph Millard is Rankin Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, and Honorary Senior Fellow , at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology in the University of Liverpool....

 has hypothesized that the Garden of Eden does not represent a 'geographical' place, but rather represents 'cultural memory' of "simpler times", when man lived off God's bounty (as "primitive" hunters and gatherers still do) as opposed to toiling at agriculture (being "civilized"). Of course there is much dispute between Judeo-Christian and secular scholars as to the plausibility of this idea - the refuting claim being that cultivation and agricultural work were present both before and after the "Garden Life".

The Second Book of Enoch
Second Book of Enoch
The Second Book of Enoch is a pseudepigraphic of the Old Testament. It is usually considered to be part of the Apocalyptic literature. Late 1st century CE is the dating often preferred...

, of late but uncertain date, states that both Paradise and Hell are accommodated in the third sphere of heaven, Shehaqim, with Hell being located simply " on the northern side:" see Seven Heavens.

Psychoanalytic treatment


The myth of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has been interpreted psychoanalytically
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 as an archaic form of the Oedipus myth
Oedipus complex
In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrate upon a boy’s desire to sexually possess his mother, and kill his father...

. The Garden of Eden symbolizes the closed parental system which is safe but oppressive and the Tree of Knowledge represents individuation and freedom but also risk, and even death.

In Jewish eschatology


In the rabbinic literatures of the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and the Jewish Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

, the scholars agree that there are two types of spiritual places called Garden in Eden. The first is rather terrestrial, of abundant fertility and luxuriant vegetation, known as the "lower Gan Eden". The latter is envisioned as being celestial, the habitation of righteous, Jewish and non-Jewish, immortal souls, known as the "higher Gan Eden". The Rabbanim
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 differentiate between Gan and Eden. Adam is said to have dwelt only in the Gan. Whereas Eden is said never to be witnessed by any mortal eye.

According to Jewish eschatology
Jewish eschatology
Jewish eschatology is concerned with the Jewish Messiah, afterlife, and the revival of the dead. Eschatology, generically, is the area of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events in the history of the world, the ultimate destiny of humanity, and related concepts.-The Messiah:The...

, the "higher Gan Eden" is called the "Garden of Righteousness". It has been created since the beginning of the world, and will appear gloriously at the end of time. The righteous dwelling there will enjoy the sight of the heavenly Chayot
Chayot
The Chayot or Hayyoth are a class of Merkabah, or Jewish Mystical Angel, reported in Ezekiel's vision of the Merkabah and its surrounding angels as recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel describing Ezekiel's vision by the river Chebar.Chayot are ranked first on Maimonides' Jewish...

 carrying the throne of God. Each of the righteous will walk with God, who will lead them in a dance. Its Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants are "clothed with garments of light and eternal life, and eat of the tree of life" (Enoch 58,3) near to God and His anointed ones. This Jewish rabbinical concept of a "higher Gan Eden" is opposed by the Hebrew terms Gehinnom and Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

, figurative names for the place of spiritual purification for the wicked dead in Judaism, a place envisioned as being at the greatest possible distance from "heaven".

In art


Garden of Eden motifs most frequently portrayed in illuminated manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

s and paintings are the "Sleep of Adam" ("Creation of Eve"), the "Temptation of Eve" by the Serpent, the "Fall of Man" where Adam takes the fruit, and the "Expulsion". The idyll of "Naming Day in Eden" was less often depicted. Much of Milton's
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

 Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse...

occurs in the Garden of Eden. Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 depicted a scene at the Garden of Eden in the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

.

See also


  • Antediluvian
    Antediluvian
    The antediluvian period meaning "before the deluge" is the period referred to in the Bible between the Creation of the Earth and the Deluge . The narrative takes up chapters 1-6 of Genesis...

  • Antelapsarianism
  • Christian naturism
    Christian naturism
    Christian naturists are Christians found in most branches and denominations of Christianity who practice naturism or nudism. They find no conflict between the teachings of the Bible and living their lives and worshiping God without any clothing, believing that covering the body leads to its...

  • Fertile Crescent
    Fertile Crescent
    The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

  • Forest gardening
    Forest gardening
    Forest gardening is a food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans...

  • Golden Age
    Golden Age
    The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

  • Jannah
    Jannah
    Jannah , is the Islamic conception of paradise. The Arabic word Jannah is a shortened version meaning simply "Garden". According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on . Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life...

  • Persian gardens
    Persian Gardens
    The tradition and style in the garden design of Persian gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond. The gardens of the Alhambra show the influence of Persian Garden philosophy and style in a Moorish Palace scale from the era of Al-Andalus in Spain...

  • Tamoanchan
  • The Summerland
    The Summerland
    The Summerland is the name given by Wiccans and other earth-based Neopagan religions and by Theosophists to their conceptualization of an afterlife.-General overview of Summerland in Neopaganism:...

  • Utopia
    Utopia
    Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...



External links