Eden (Hebrew: עדן, ʻĒḏen: "Name means::pleasure") was the geographical region in the antediluvian world in which God created the Garden of Eden (Hebrew: גן עדן, Gān ʻĒḏen; Arabic: جنة عدن, Jannat ‘Adn). The Book of Genesis describes the Garden of Eden as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God and cared for it until the Fall. The Garden of Eden, is described in Genesis 2-3 .
"The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 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; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 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." - Genesis 2:8-14
The Four Rivers
A river came from Eden and watered the garden, and from thence it was parted and became four heads. It is not normal — in fact it is probably totally unknown in the modern world — for one river to divide into four. In what manner this occurred is not described in the Bible.
The names of two of the rivers survive today—the Tigris and the Euphrates. The other two, Pishon and Gihon were unknown. Unger evokes the possibility that these two rivers were canals, called rivers in Babylon. However, the description of these rivers flowing from one does not match the present rivers, and the other two named rivers are missing. This is actually to be expected, as the Global Flood would have destroyed all trace of the pre-flood world, including the land of Eden and its rivers and garden. The survival of two of the names is easily explained by post-flood settlers' naming new rivers after the pre-flood rivers, just as in modern times rivers in Australia and North America have been named by immigrants after rivers back in their "mother country".
Location of the Garden
As noted, the garden was in the land of Eden. But as the Global Flood destroyed the pre-flood world, it is impossible to say where in today's world Eden was. Assuming that Noah lived not too far from Eden, and that the ark didn't float too far around the world, the best that could be said is that Eden was possibly near that part of our globe that is now the Middle East.
|“|| In general, it is evident that the geography described in these verses does not exist in the present world, nor has it ever existed since the Flood. The rivers and countries described were antediluvian geographical features, familiar to Adam, the original author of this part of the narrative. They were all destroyed, and the topography and geography completely changed, when “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6).
This means, in turn, that the names which seem to be postdiluvian (Ethiopia, Assyria, Tigris, Euphrates) were originally antediluvian names. The names were remembered by the survivors of the Flood and then given to people or places in the postdiluvian world, in memory of those earlier names of which they were somehow reminded later. Those who have tried to identify the garden of Eden as in the present Tigris-Euphrates region fail to realize that these antediluvian rivers were completely obliterated by the Flood, and have no physical connection with their counterparts in the present world.
The garden of Eden was, of course, also destroyed in the Flood, so that it is quite impossible to locate it now in terms of modern geography.
- Douglas, J. D., ed. (1980). The Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 1. Inter-Varsity Press/Tyndale House Publishers. p. 408-409. ISBN 0-8423-7525-2.
- Tenney, Merrill C, ed. (1967). Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 233. ISBN 0-310-23560-X.
- Unger, Merrill F (1988). Harrison, R. K.. ed. The New Unger´s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press. pp. 331. ISBN 0-8024-9037-9.
- Morris, Henry M., The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Books, 1976. p.89-90.