Where was the Garden of Eden?

Category: Bible/Christian Worldview 1,197 0

What was the first thing that popped into your head when you read that title? A real place? Myth or legend? Did you think to yourself “oh those crazy Christians”? The Garden of Eden is a place that most in the West have heard about, and one of those questions that come up often concerns its location. Where was the Garden the Eden?

The Garden appears in the second and third chapters of Genesis. It is here that God creates Adam, and the history of mankind takes its first steps. When it comes down to locating the Garden we first need to look at the verses that provide us with geographical details. This is found in Genesis 2:10-14:

“A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

For thousands of years, readers of Scripture have wondered if Eden was real, and if so, where exactly it was? Answers to this question are wide and varied. Here is a small sampling:

1)      The most common location for the Garden of Eden is in Mesopotamia, that is, modern-day Iraq. The primary reason is the mention in Genesis 2 of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which flow through that country. This view has been accepted by Christians from antiquity down to modern times.[1]  Another location that has been proposed is the region around Armenia.[2] It is in this general area that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers begin there long journey down to the Persian Gulf.

2)      A second perspective that has been brought up many times throughout Christian history is that the Garden can no longer be found on a map today. It is believed that the earth’s surface has been dramatically changed because of the Great Flood. Thus, all this searching in the Middle East, or wherever, is not needed since the Garden has been destroyed.[3]

3)      The most common belief is that the Garden of Eden was not a real place in our world and lies “outside the sphere of real geographical knowledge.” Some have called it a “Never-never land,” a literary utopia, an entryway into the numinous world, or that the Eden episode was an old recollection of the time period when mankind was in transition from hunter-gatherers to farmers.[4]

4)      Some throughout the centuries have viewed the geography of Eden as symbolic. Early Church father Ambrose (c. 340-397 AD) believed that the rivers of Eden were both real and symbolic.[5] He said that the river that irrigates paradise “rises from the soul…The results from it are fruit trees of diverse virtues.” The Pishon represents prudence, the Gihon temperance, the Tigris fortitude, and the Euphrates justice.[6] Cyprian (200-258 AD) viewed the rivers symbolically (i.e., the four rivers represent the four gospels).[7] Reformer Konrad Pellikan (1478-1556 AD) held to similar views.[8]

5)      John of Damascus (676-749 AD) and the ancient Jewish historian Flavious Joesphus (c. 37-100 AD) believed that the Great River of Eden was an ocean that encircled the earth and broke into four other great rivers.[9]

Clearly, there are many different opinions concerning the exact place where Adam and Eve were created and fell into sin (if any of this happened at all according to the skeptics). For Christians, the issue is very important since the New Testament account supports a real Eden. Writer Andrew Kulikovsky says it well, “Note also that the mention of Adam reinforces the historical veracity of the account. Adam is clearly viewed by the New Testament writers as a truly historical figure, so if Adam is a real physical person but Eden and the garden are allegorical, how can a literal something be placed into and tend to an allegorical/mythical anything?”[10]

For Christians who believe the Bible and interpret it in context then the Garden of Eden was a real place that existed on the earth. The question is “where was it?”

The Rivers of Eden

The best place to begin our search is the most important geographical feature in Genesis 2:10-14 – the four rivers that are named in the narrative. These are the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris, and the Euphrates. Identifying these rivers could give us the Garden’s location. Let us first begin with the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Tigris and Euphrates

If the Garden of Eden can be located on a map today, then these two rivers are easy to locate. They are none other than the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the country of Iraq. As I noted earlier, this is the main reason why so many believe that Eden was somewhere in that area of the world.[11]

Pishon and Gihon

Difficulties arise with the Pishon and Gihon rivers. The identification of these rivers has been debated for a long time. Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD) believed that the Pishon and the Gihon were the Danube (in Europe) and the Nile (Egypt and Sudan) respectively.[12] Ambrose, John of Damascus, and Josephus identified the Pishon as the Ganges river in India and the Gihon as the Nile.[13] The Gihon was identified as the Nile by many because of Genesis 2:13 which says that the Gihon winds through the land of Cush. Cush is typically believed to be modern-day Sudan or Ethiopia.

Bible scholars Carl Friedrich Keil (1807-1888) and Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890) identified the Pishon as the Phasis in the region of Armenia and the Caspian Sea. This would make Havilah the land called Colchis, which was a well-known country of gold in the ancient world.[14] The Gihon was identified by them as the Araxes and the land of Cush as Koccaia.[15] This would place the Garden of Eden in the region of Armenia and the Caspian Sea.

Another popular identification for the Pishon is a river in Arabia. Genesis 2:11-12 say that the Pishon “winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)” Havilah means “land of sand.” Since the Arabian Peninsula is a big desert, then Arabia is a natural choice for the location of Havilah.[16]

Some scholars believe that land-sat imagery may point to the possibility that the Wadi Batin, in northern Arabia and which is now dry, was the Pishon river. This may indicate that Havilah was in the northern half of Arabia. This river met up with the Tigris and Euphrates in the ancient past.[17]

In this region is Mahd adh Dhahab, which means “cradle of gold.” It “was the largest and one of the richest gold mines of the ancient world.” This could very well be the location of the gold that Genesis associates with the land of Havilah.[18]

Other passages (Genesis 10:7, 29; 25:18; 1 Samuel 15:7; 1 Chronicles 1:9, 23) suggest that Havilah is in Arabia or close by. Bible scholar Gordon Wenham summarizes, “On this basis the Pishon must either be identified with an Arabian river, or with the Persian Gulf and Red Sea ‘which goes round all the land of Havilah.’”[19]

What about the Gihon? As I said above, a common belief is that it must be the Nile River because Genesis says that it winds through the land of Cush. Cush is typically seen as modern-day Sudan or Ethiopia. This would put Cush in the area south of Egypt. There are many problems with this identification (I will discuss these in the section below). For now, just note that these problems have been brought up by many scholars. For example, John Munday says, “…an African location [for Cush] is not at all indicated in Gen 2:13, unless Eden’s geography is regarded as fantasy.” He continues, the “data indicate an Arabian-Mesopotamian context for Cush in Gen 2:13.”[20]

Since many believe that Eden was in Mesopotamia, then it is likely that the Gihon is in this area. Interestingly, the Nuzi tablets give the name “Kussu for the Kassite people who lived in the area east of Babylonia.” It is, therefore, possible that the Gihon may be one of the rivers flowing from the Zagros mountains east of Babylonia. Two possibilities are the Karun and Kerkha Rivers. Both of these rivers wind through the land of the Kassites (Cush).[21]

The most commonly accepted place for the Garden of Eden.
The most commonly accepted place for the Garden of Eden.

Problems

So according to many scholars, Eden has been placed in the upper portion of the Middle East (Armenia) or the southern part of Iraq. Even though these views have been widely held by Christians, there are some problems with locating the Garden of Eden in Iraq (or any of the other places mentioned).

Let’s start with the Tigris River. To put it simply, it is doubtful that the Tigris of Eden is the same river as the Tigris of Iraq. Assyria is an ancient nation and region in northern Iraq. The Tigris in Eden is described as flowing eastward of Assyria but the Tigris of today is on the west side of Assyria.[22] This seeming contradiction is usually explained away by referring to Assyria of Genesis 2 as Asshur, the old capital city of Assyria since it was located on the west side of the Tigris.[23]

However, describing the course of a river as flowing on the east side of a city “is a particularly odd way of describing its path: stating that the Rhine river passes to the east of the city of Bonn says virtually nothing about its course. Thus, the description would make much more sense if Asshur was actually a much larger area.”[24] The only reason why some Christian scholars believe that Asshur is in view here is because the geography of Iraq does not match Genesis 2.

Although some may view this as only a minor problem, the issues only continue to pile up. There are also problems with identifying the Pishon with the Wadi Batin or any river in Arabia for that matter. The Wadi is particularly straight, is not part of a four-branched estuary as Genesis 2 describes, and does not wind about at any point. Interestingly, there are absolutely no rivers in the region which fit the biblical description of the Pishon (whether dry or not).[25]

The same can be said of identifying the Gihon as the Karun River or Kerkha River. These rivers do not fit the biblical details since they are not part of a four-branch estuary.[26] Also, neither of these rivers flow from Mesopotamia and encompass the Kassite country or any Cush for that matter.[27]

The fact is simply that the geography of Eden does not match anywhere on the globe today. There is not one great river splitting into four rivers, which include the present-day Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia or Armenia, or anywhere for that matter.[28] This includes the ancient idea that the Pishon and Gihon were the Nile or Ganges, or any other major rivers that are very far apart.[29]

Today, smaller rivers flow into larger rivers (tributaries).[30] Quite simply, the Havilah, Assyria, and Cush of Eden do not match up with any known geography.[31] As Ken Ham says, “No matter how one tries to fit this location in the Middle East today, it just can’t be done.”[32]

This very fact has led to some very silly ideas, such as the four rivers of Eden representing the Milky Way with its four arms,[33] to some Christians even admitting that Moses simply got the geography of Eden wrong.[34] Gordon Wenham even says that Genesis takes up old mythological motifs and radically transforms them for its own purposes.[35] He also bring up the “apparent” symbolism of Eden.[36]

It seems obvious that Moses “intensifies the impression of a much different past…”[37] The question is “how could the topography change so much.” One possibility is the destructive force of the Great Flood. Studies have shown that if the Flood really occurred like Scripture teaches, then the surface of the world would have been completely rearranged. This would make it impossible for us to know the location of the Garden of Eden.[38] This means that the rivers of Eden no longer exist in our world anymore.[39] This idea is not old as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and even Augustine recognized the likelihood of a changed geography.[40]

Andrew Kulikovsky summarizes the issue well when he says, “It should be clear from the above discussion that the description of the geography of Eden and the garden corresponds to no place on earth at this time or in recent history…The only way inerrancy could be saved is if the earth’s geography had dramatically changed after the account of Eden had been constructed. The most obvious explanation of how such a change could have occurred is by means of the global catastrophic flood described in Genesis 6-9.”[41]

Young-Earth Creationism

Even though the Great Flood solves the issue of the location of Eden, most Christians simply will not accept this idea. Many today follow the rest of the world in believing the materialistic philosophies of Darwinian evolution and an old earth. In this section, I want to look briefly at some objections that are brought forth that try to debunk the belief that the Flood changed the geography of Eden.

Where was the Garden of Eden?
Where was the Garden of Eden?

Linguistic Borrowing

The first objection is that the geographical names in Genesis 2 fit very well with a modern landscape. We have the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Cush (whether it be the Kassites, Koccaia, or even Sudan and Ethiopia), and Havilah (Arabia). John Munday says, “Genesis portrays a landscape little changed by the Flood, particularly, that the Tigris and Euphrates ‘are still in existence today.’”[42]

Similar geographical names is easily explained by linguistic borrowing. Ken Ham says it perfectly, “This being the case, the question then is why are there rivers named Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East today? In my native country of Australia, one will recognize many names that are also used in England (e.g., Newcastle). The reason is that when the settlers came out from England to Australia, they used names they were familiar with in England to name new places/towns in Australia. Another example is the names given to many rivers in the United States. There is the Thames River in Connecticut, the Severn River in Maryland, and the Trent River in North Carolina—all named for prominent rivers in the UK. In a similar way, when Noah and his family came out of the ark after it landed in the area we today call the Middle East (the region of the Mountains of Ararat), it would not have been surprising for them to use names they were familiar with from the pre-Flood world (e.g., Tigris and Euphrates), to name places and rivers, etc., in the world after the Flood.”[43]

In response to this, Munday argues that there is no evidence in Scripture for renaming or naming a place after an earlier one (more than one place with the same name.[44] This, however, is incorrect. There are many different examples of place-names being used for more than one location. These include Cush (Gen 2:13; Ezk 29:10), Asshur (Gen 10:11; Gen 25:18), Kadesh (Josh 12:22; 15:23; 20:7; 21:28; 1 Chr 6:72), Goshen (Gen 47:6; Josh 10:41; 15:51), and Zanoah (Josh 15:34; 15:56; Neh 3:13; 11:30; 1 Chr 4:18).[45]

Interestingly, Munday even agrees that the Cush of Genesis 2 is not the same Cush as the rest of the Bible where it always refers to Sudan/Ethiopia. Why does he allow this here but not with the other names?[46] The only way to know if the places of Genesis 2 are the same or different with similar place-names after the Flood is by context.

In the East

A controversial detail in the account of the Garden is that God planted it “in the east.” This is interpreted in a few different ways. The first view is that “in the east” is from the perspective of someone in Israel or Moses in Egypt or Transjordan. Thus, Mesopotamia is likely in view here. This makes sense since Moses was writing to a post-flood audience.[47] This is the view accepted by those who place the Garden in Mesopotamia.

A second view is that “in the east” refers to the eastern portion of the country of Eden since a literal translation would be “in Eden, on the side of the east.”[48] But why would Moses have left this detail in Genesis when it may not have made sense to his audience? Kulikovsky says, “But if the geographical description was no longer applicable then why did Moses include it when he wrote/edited/constructed the book of Genesis? The geographical description was most probably included simply to reinforce that the original author believed that the garden was a real and physical place on this earth, and to highlight the perfect and sufficient state of the pristine earth.”[49]

A third view is that “in the east” is to the east of Adam’s point of view. For example, Henry Morris says, “The garden was planted ‘eastward’ (Adam’s location at that time being somewhere west of Eden) in the land of Eden.”[50]

Both interpretations (that “in the east” means in the eastern part of Eden or east of someone) fits with the idea that the Great Flood changed the surface of the earth (see footnote 50 for more).

Sedimentary Rock

Next, we come to the sedimentary rock that is found in Mesopotamia. As we saw earlier, the Flood changing the geography of the world is a good reason why we cannot find the Garden of Eden today. As a result of the Great Flood, Eden would be underneath the sedimentary rock that which contains fossils lies beneath modern-day Mesopotamia.

This makes sense in a Christian worldview since death did not enter God’s creation until after Adam and Eve’s sin. How could the Garden of Eden (called “very good” by God) be on top of sedimentary rock filled with dead things before sin entered the world? Ken Ham notes, “To insist that the Garden was located in the area around the present Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is to deny the catastrophic effects of the global Flood of Noah’s day, and to allow for death before sin.”[51]

However, Christians who do not accept a literal Great Flood destroying the world’s topography argue that the sedimentary rock in Mesopotamia is proof that the Flood did not happen like Young-Earth Creationists believe it did. David Snoke summarizes this argument:

“But this river [the Wadi Batin in Arabia] lies on top of sedimentary geological layers that young-earth creationists would say were deposited in the flood of Noah. So do the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. To accept this convincing case for the historicity of Genesis, Bible scholars must either accept an old-earth view or believe that God created sedimentary rock at the beginning, before the fall and the flood. Young-earth scholars must necessarily place the Garden of Eden in a long-lost land, since they believe sedimentary rock was created in the flood; therefore none of these rivers could have existed before the flood of Noah. For that matter, a flood large enough to create all sedimentary rock would wipe out all rivers. While Moses goes out of his way to place the Garden of Eden in our world, young-earth creationists make these geographical indicators irrelevant.”[52]

Snoke, and those who think like him, accept that the rivers of Eden have been discovered on a modern landscape. However, as we saw earlier, there is no place on earth that matches the geography of Genesis 2. Snoke and others have simply ignored this because of their acceptance of the materialistic philosophy of evolution and an old earth. Since the Great Flood could not have happened, then the Garden is either myth or is somewhere in Mesopotamia (even if the geography is not perfect). They then argue that their interpretation proves that the Flood never happened because a catastrophe that big would have the changed the topography of the world!

They understand the Flood view of the Garden of Eden but cannot accept it because of the assumptions they make about the creation-evolution debate. This teaches us that how we interpret the Garden of Eden is based on our worldview. If we allow the possibility of miracles (like the Flood) and believe that the Bible is authoritative, then the idea that Eden cannot be found today becomes a real possibility. However, if we believe that the Bible is wrong about the age of the world, then we must reinterpret the early chapters of Genesis.

It is the Flood view that 1) accepts a straightforward interpretation of the geographical clues; 2) fits with there being a historical flood; and 3) fits in with sound biblical theology about death and restoration.

Conclusion

The Garden of Eden has always aroused the imagination of readers, and the question of its location has been asked for centuries. A thorough analysis tells us that the Garden cannot be found on a map today. This causes us to accept one of three things: 1) that the Garden is a myth; 2) that the Garden was real but that Moses got the details wrong (if he was wrong here then how can we trust him with spiritual matters?); and 3) that the topography of the world has changed. The interpretation that we accept is based on our worldview. In my opinion, option three is correct for it accepts a straightforward view of the geographical clues in Genesis 2, accepts that the Great Flood was historical (which the context of Genesis and the rest of Scripture teaches), and fits in with sound biblical theology about death and restoration.

 

[1] Chrysostom. Homilies on Genesis 13.15-16. In Andrew Louth Ed. Genesis 1-11 in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Old Testament Vol. 1 [ACC from here on out] (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2001). 58. Ephrem the Syrian. Commentary on Genesis 2.6. In ACC 56. David Snoke. A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006). 154. Andrew Willet. Commentary on Genesis 2:8, 10. In John L. Thompson Ed. Genesis 1-11 in Reformation Commentary on Scripture Old Testament Vol. 1 [RC from here on out] (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012). 78-79, 85. Henry H. Halley. Halley’s Bible Handbook 24th Ed (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965). 64. Carol Hill, “The Garden of Eden: A Modern Landscape,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 52 (March 2000) http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2000/PSCF3-00Hill.html. John C. Munday Jr. “Eden’s Geography Erodes Flood Geology.” Westminster Theological Journal 58 (1996). Gordon J. Wenham. Genesis 1-15 in Word Biblical Commentary Volume 1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987).

[2] C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch. Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949). 82-83.

[3] H.C. Leupold. Exposition of Genesis Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1942). 124; Andrew Kulikovsky. Creation, Fall, Restoration (Geanies House: Christian Focus Publications, 2009). 189; Jonathan D. Sarfati. The Genesis Account (Powder Springs: Creation Book Publishers, 2015). 312, 316-317; Ken Ham. “Where was the Garden of Eden Located?” In The New Answers Book 3 ed. Ken Ham (Green Forest: Master Books, 2009). 13-15. Henry M. Morris. The Genesis Record (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976). 89-90; J.R. Hughes. “An examination of the assumptions of ‘Eden’s Geography Erodes Flood Geology,” CRSQ 34 (3): 9-11, 1997. http://www.epctoronto.org/Press/Publications_JRHughes/An%20Examination%20of%20the%20Assumptions%20CRSQ.pdf. Martin Luther. Lectures on Genesis 2:8, 11. In RC 79, 85. John Calvin. Commentary on Genesis 2:10. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom01.pdf. There is also the possibility of Augustine (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, 5.7.20.)

[4] John Skinner. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis in ICC (New York: Scribner, 1910). 62. Herbert E. Ryle. The Book of Genesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1921). 32. J.L. McKenzie. “The Literary Characteristics of Genesis 2-3.” TS 15 (1954). 555. Yairah Amit. “Biblical Utopianism: A Mapmaker’s Guide to Eden.” USQR 44 (1/2, 1990). 11-17. Dan E. Burns. “Dream Form in Genesis 2.4b-3.24: Asleep in the Garden.” JSOT 37 (1987). 3-14. Dora J. Hamblin. “Has the Garden of Eden Been Located at Last?” Smithsonian (May 1987). 129-131.

[5] Gordon Wenham also seems to have viewed Eden and its rivers as symbolic and real – sort of (Genesis 1-15 in Word Biblical Commentary Volume 1. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987). The same is for Wolfgang Musculus (Mosis Genesim [1554], 58 and 62. In RC 78, 84-85).

[6] Ambrose. Paradise 3.14-18. In ACC 56-58.

[7] Cyprian. Letters 63.10. In ACC 59.

[8] Konrad Pellikan, Commentary on Genesis 2:17. In RC 84. He interprets the Garden as having spiritual meaning – tree of life = perfect wisdom; tree of knowledge = “human reason…natural reason, self-concern, and love of self”; Pishon = faith; Gihon = “modesty of spirit and the virtue of humility”; Tigris = “it indicates that obedience to God is to be unsurpassed”; Euphrates = teaches “that love of neighbor is to increase.”

[9] John of Damascus. Orthodox Faith 2.9. In ACC 58-59. Flavius Josephus. Jewish Antiquities in The New Complete Works of Josephus. Trans by William Whiston. Commentary by Paul L. Maier. Revised and Expanded Edition (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999). 50.

[10] Kulikovsky, 190. Also see Snoke, 154. He notes that the details of Genesis 2 indicate that the Garden of Eden was a real place.

[11] Wenham 66; Hill; Munday, 143-144, 154.

[12] Ephrem explains, “Although the places from which they flow are known, the source of the spring is not known. Because paradise is set on a great height, the rivers are swallowed up again, and they go down the sea as if through a tall water duct, and so they pass through the earth that is under the sea into this land. The earth then spits out each one of them: the Danube, which is the Pishon, in the west; the Gihon, in the south; and the Euphrates and the Tigris in the north.” (ACC, 56)

[13] Ambrose, ACC 56-57. John of Damascus, ACC 58. Interestingly, Ambrose later says it flows through Lydia.

[14] Kiel and Delitzsch, 82-83.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Munday 138-140; Hill.

[17] Munday 140-141; Hill; Snoke, 154.

[18] Hill.

[19] Wenham, 65.

[20] Munday, 141.

[21] Munday 141-142; Hill; Snoke, 154; Wenham 65 argues that Cush refers to the Kassites who were the successors to the Old Babylonian empire.

[22] Morris, 89.

[23] Leupold, 126. Hill. Munday. Wenham, 66

[24] Kulikovsky, 189. He brings up (p. 189) another problem: “Yet neither the Assyrian empire nor the city of Asshur would have existed when the source for this account was written. One could argue that Moses inserted the reference for clarification, but it is doubtful a reference to Assyria would have had much meaning or significance to Moses’ audience” who had been in Egypt for more than 400 years.

[25] Kulikovsky, 188.

[26] Ibid., 189.

[27] Sarfati, 316; Morris, 89.

[28] Sarfati, 316.

[29] Morris, 89.

[30] Sarfati, 316; Leupold, 123.

[31] Morris, 89; Sarfati, 316.

[32] Ham, 14.

[33] Gunkel in Leupold, 124.

[34] Wenham, 66.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Wenham (p. 61-62, 64-66) suggests that the description of the Garden of Eden “in the east” “is symbolic of a place where God dwells. “Indeed, there are many other features of the garden that suggest it is seen as an archetypal sanctuary, prefiguring the later tabernacle and temples. But the mention of the rivers and their location in vv. 10-14 suggests that the final editor of Gen 2 thought of Eden also as a real place, even if it is beyond the wit of modern writers to locate.” He continues, “…the symbolism of these verses coheres well with the rest of the chapter” and that whenever the river of Eden appears in Scripture (Genesis 2; Psalm 46:5; Ezekiel 47:1-12) it “is symbolic of the life-giving presence of God.” He even says, “Maybe the reversed flow of the rivers suggests that paradise is beyond man’s present experience.” I have already written an article describing how there are similarities between Eden, the Tabernacle, the Temple in Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem. Wenham is correct on that. However, this does not mean that Eden was not a real place or that it was beyond our reach. The geographical details point to a real place on the map.

[37] Leupold, 123

[38] Sarfati, 312, 316-317; Ham, 15; Leupold, 124; Morris, 89-90.

[39] Morris, 89.

[40] Sarfati, 317; Ham, 13-14. Luther, RC 79, 85. Calvin. Augustine, 5.7.20.

[41] Kulikovsky, 189-190.

[42] Munday, 150-151.

[43] Ham, 15. See also Sarfati, 318; Morris, 90; Hughes, 4.

[44] Munday, 152-153.

[45] Hughes, 4.

[46] Munday, 141.

[47] Munday, 127, 130, 134; Wenham 61; also see Leupold, 117-118 where he says, “From, the author’s point of view this garden lay ‘eastward.’ Though miqqedhem literally means ‘from the east’ not ‘to the east,’ nevertheless our translation is correct. For the Hebrew point of view is gained by transporting oneself to the utmost limits in the direction indicated, then coming back: from the east.”).

[48] Kulikovsky, 186.

[49] Ibid., 190.

[50] Morris, 87. The last two interpretations take into account Genesis 5:1 which says, “This is the written account of Adam’s line.” The Hebrew word toledot (“Adam’s line” or often translated “generations of Adam”) is used here and other places throughout Genesis. This has led to the conclusion by many conservative scholars that Moses used different sources when compiling Genesis. There is, however, a big debate about whether the phrase with toledot is a heading for the following section or a signature for the previous. For example, 5:1 speaks about a “a book” or “written account” of Adam. Does this mean that Adam wrote the information contained within and does it speak about 2:5-4:26 or does it refer to 5:1–6:8? Whichever one is correct can fit with both views of “in the east” since the original author would have been Adam or God.

[51] Ham, 15; Sarfati, 317.

[52] Snoke, 155, see also Munday, 152, 154; Hill.

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