Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Garden of Eden

Eden, possibly located in this vecinity where the Tigris and Euphrates terminate into the GulfThe Garden of Eden (from Hebrew Gan Ēden, "גַּן עֵדֶן") is described by the Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man - Adam - and woman - Eve - lived after they were created by God. The past physical existence of this garden forms part of the creation belief of the Abrahamic religions.

The Genesis account (specifically, the Jahwist version of the creation story) supplies the geographical location of Eden in relation to four major rivers. However, because the identification of these rivers has been the subject of much controversy and speculation, a substantial consensus now exists that the knowledge of the location of Eden has been lost.

Suspected locations
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 in the Middle East near Mesopotamia. Locations as diverse as Ethiopia, Java, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, Brabant, and Bristol, Florida have all been proposed as locations for the garden. Some Christian theologians believe that the Garden never had a terrestrial existence, but was instead an adjunct to heaven as it became identified with Paradise.

The text asserts that from Eden the river divided into four branches: Hiddekel a.k.a. Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon and Gihon. The identity of the former two are commonly accepted, though the latter two rivers have been the subject of endless argument. But if the Garden of Eden had really been near the sources of the Tigris and the Euphrates, then the original narrators in the land of Canaan would have identified it as located generally in the Taurus Mountains, in Anatolia. Satellite photos reveal two dry riverbeds flowing toward the Persian Gulf near where the Tigris and Euphrates also terminate. While this accounts for four rivers in the vicinity, that area is the mouth of those rivers rather than their source.


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