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The Garden of Eden

Adam and Eve were the first human beings on planet earth. They were the first inhabitants of the Garden of Eden. There is a mystery that surrounds the Garden of Eden. Where was it located? When was it formed and created? What was it like?

The Two Garden’s of Eden

The Bible describes two separate and different Garden’s of Eden. The First Primordial Garden of Eden was created and formed by God during the First Day of Creation. Its inhabitants were Lucifer and his angels that God placed under his jurisdiction. This garden was decked with precious gemstones as is described in Ezekiel 28:12-14. This garden was a place of worship, singing and music to almighty God. It was Paradise on earth until one tragic day, sin was found in the heart of Lucifer. He rose up in open rebellion and violence against Almighty God. He began to defile his sanctuaries and led many of his angels into a life of sin and open rebellion against the God who created them. From that moment onward Lucifer became known as Satan or the devil. His angels became known as demons or evil spirits. As a result God’s judgement was pronounced upon them and upon the Earth. From that time forward, the earth became a black sin cursed planet.

It was at this early primordial time that God looked forward through the corridors of time. He saw Man. He purposed in His heart that He would one day create (bara) and form (yatsar) man & woman and would give them the freedom to either receive Him or to reject Him. Secondly, He saw the cross. He knew that the only way he could rid the earth of evil was for His Son to die on a cruel cross to give His body as a sacrifice and to shed His blood for the sins of all mankind. He also saw the entire geological column stretching before Him and the future Garden of Eden that He would one day prepare for Adam and Eve. The fossil record verifies the presence of sin. All plant and animal life from the base of the Proterozoic to the present is a record of life and death. Death is a direct result of sin resulting from the Fall of Lucifer and His angels during the First Day of Creation (The details of the Primordial Garden of Eden will soon be on our website).

The Second Garden of Eden

God prepared a beautiful garden for Adam and Eve, which was located within a place called Eden. We read, “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east of Eden; and there He put the man he had formed” (Genesis 2:8).

The exact location of Eden and the Garden of Eden is not known for certainty. There have been speculations as to where it could have been located. The major view today is that it was located somewhere in the vicinity of the Fertile Crescent region of Mesopotamia. Other people speculate it could be in the Black Sea region. The view that is presented here is that it was located in the Caspian Sea region to the north of Mesopotamia.

It is obvious from the Biblical description that Eden was a relatively high plateau region bordered by lofty mountains. There was a large headwater lake within the garden, which was fed by rivers that had its source higher up in the nearby mountains. There were four major river systems that flowed out of this lake and away from the garden, for we read, “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four river heads” (Genesis 2:10). This would indicate that a major lake within the Garden of Eden acted as a highly charged dynamic watershed providing abundant water to feed four major river systems that flowed away from the garden to four distinct parts of the earth.

The First River System is believed to have flowed in a northwesterly direction into Asia and Europe. It possibly emptied into the North Sea, for we read: “The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bedellium and the onyx stone are there.” (Genesis 2:11-12) This river provided an access for Early Man to migrate northwestward into Europe and Western Asia.

The Second River System flowed south and southwestward through the land of Caanan along the Jordan River through the Gulf of Aquaba into Ethiopia, and eventually emptied into the Indian Ocean in the vicinity of Mozambique or Tanzania. We read as follows, “The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which encompasses the whole land of Cush” (Genesis 2:13). Cush is the ancient name for Ethiopia. The question arises how a river could possibly flow into this region, because it would be physically impossible for this to happen today.

It becomes obvious that physical changes have taken place in the region. The Legg 23b2 of the Deep Sea Drilling Project aboard the R.V. Glomar Challenger was devoted to scientific drilling in the central and southern Red Sea. Drilling revealed that the Red Sea Rift Valley is underlain by Late Miocene evaporites, including rock salt, at relatively shallow depths throughout most of its extent. These evaporates are absent only in the central rift valley zone that is underlain by recent igneous basaltic rock. It was reported in Science [179 (1973), p. 379] “that there were rocks as old or older than the late Miocene (about 5 million years) within one or two miles of a supposedly active spreading centre. One interpretation of the magnetic anomaly pattern from this area indicates that rocks no older than about 2 million years should be present based on the assumption that a continuous Tertiary spreading history exists for the Red Sea. A more reasonable interpretation is that spreading resumed only recently in the Red Sea following a period of quiescence that may have extended back into the early Miocene.” In other words, Pleistocene and Late Miocene sediments are absent in the central region of the Red Sea Rift Valley. This indicates non deposition or erosion. The spreading or rifting of the Red Sea appears to be Recent (i.e. took place at the end of the Pleistocene, which coincides with Noah’s Flood). The central portion of the north south trending rift zone contains heavy metal rich black shale deposits and basalt igneous rocks, similar to deep oceanic tholeütic basalts. The temperatures along the rift zone are unusually high, and the zone is characterized by hot brine occurrences. This would indicate the escape of continuing hot juvenile waters along the central portion of the rift valley.

Prior to the end of the Pleistocene, Africa was joined to Saudi Arabia and the active spreading center of the Red Sea was not present. Geophysical studies have revealed a very recent opening of the Red Sea region.

It is also important to realize that the history of the Red Sea Rift Valley extends back in time for many millions of years. However, the central portion of the Red Sea is very young. This is also confirmed by the warmer waters above the igneous tholeutic basalts.

This second river system from the Garden of Eden is envisaged to have flowed southward along the topographically low rift valley region that extends through the land of Caanan. It would have followed the Jordan River through the Gulf of Aquaba into the Red Sea region. It would have continued to follow the East African Rift Valley through the land of Ethiopia and southward through Kenya, Tanzania and eventually emptying into the Indian Ocean. This would have provided an excellent access for the early descendants of Adam and Eve to migrate into Africa. They would have been the early people who manufactured the stone tools that archaeologists have classified as the Oldowan and Acheulian cultures.

The Third River System flowed eastward from the Garden of Eden. It possibly passed through the interior part of Asia, perhaps through the Gobi Desert region, emptying eventually into the Pacific Ocean, for we read: “The name of the third river is Hiddekal; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria” (Genesis 2:14). This provided an access for early Pre-Flood Man to migrate eastward into China, Australia, and North and South America.

The Fourth River system flowed south easterly through the fertile crescent region of Mesopotamia, emptying into the Persian Gulf. It was known as the Euphrates River, for we read: “The fourth river is the Euphrates” (Genesis 2:14); given this refers to the river known as the Euphrates today. It would seem that Adam and Eve themselves may have journeyed southeastward from the Garden of Eden, and settled in the rich area of the fertile crescent region. The ancient home of Noah is believed to be just north of the present Persian Gulf.

It will remain for geologists and geomorphologists to identify and map the above mentioned river systems. These channels would probably now be infilled with gravels and sands. Local and regional post Pleistocene movements would make their identification more difficult to observe.

When Did God prepare the Garden of Eden?

It is here believed that the second Garden of Eden was prepared sometime between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Pleistocene geologists Ernst Antevs 3,4,5 and American and Gerard DeGreer6 a European describe a marked temperature rise that took place at about 10,000+ years ago. This marked the end of the Wisconsin (Wurm) Glaciation and the beginning of the Neothermal Age. The term Neothermal means the New Warm Age. It more accurately replaces the more indefinite Post Glacial / Recent terminology. Neothermal stresses the fact that this age has been relatively warm and is comparable to the interglacial periods which may be appropriately named thermal or warm. They divided the Neothermal Age into three smaller ages called the Anathermal, the age of rising temperature; the Altithermal, the age of higher temperature; and the Medithermal the age of moderate temperature (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: A Biblical and Geologically based chronology of the history of man.

Figure 1: A Biblical and Geologically based chronology of the history of man.

Antevs and DeGreer were able to date glacial lake sediments back for 20,000 and 40,000+ years into the past on the basis of counting the varved, annually bedded glacial lake clays and silts. Varved clays are formed in fresh water lakes from mud brought by glacial melt water streams. Normally, one light colored relatively course or silty laminae are deposited in the summer and one dark greasy laminae in winter. The couplet is called a varve and is frequently about an inch thick. Sequences of varves are measured in clay exposures and the measurements are graphed correlated and combined in continuous series after a method devised and described by Gerard deGreer and Ernst Antevs (deGreer, p.16; Antevs 1922, p.3 and Antevs 1925,p.9). In this manner chronological records have been obtained from glacial lake sediments in Sweden, Finland, and North America.

The geological Anathermal Age began about 10,000 years ago. It marks the end of the cold Wisconsin (Wurm) Glaciation and the commencement of a pronounced warming of the climate. This progressive global warming was associated with great moisture and luxuriant growth of trees and other vegetation. All the inland lakes in northern Europe and in the USA and parts of Canada were filled with water resulting from glacial melt water and a moist form of precipitation. The areas that were previously desert became areas of lush vegetation that were able to provide abundant food for animal life. For example the Sahara Desert was grown over with lush vegetation that accommodated abundant animal life (see www.gira. Newsletter Vol. 13, no.2). This was indeed an ideal, logical and optimum time for the Lord God to plant and prepare the beautiful Garden of Eden for we read, “Now the Lord God planted a garden in the east of Eden and there He put the man that He had formed.” (Genesis 2:8)

The Creation of Plants & Animals in Eden

The Bible says that the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there he put the Man that he had formed. This may imply that the dynamic headwater lake was located in the western part of Eden, whereas the beautiful garden of plants were more eastward. We read, “Now the Lord God planted a garden in the east of Eden” (Genesis 2:8).

It would appear that God created entirely new species of plants in this garden, that were unique and different from any other part of the Earth. It is believed that when God created each new species of plant life, that he would have first formed the seed of each species out of clay (dust), and through the power of His Word, He would have created the life within that seed. This seed was then planted by the Creator in good soil where it would have grown, producing the characteristics written within the genetic code (DNA) of each new species. It is possible that the many species of domestic cereal crops, fruit trees and vegetables so vital to man for food were created within this garden. Dr. Stern (Stern, 1969) has this to say, “It was the Middle East that gave Man some of his most important crops such as wheat, barley, lentils, and peas. There too, sheep, goats, and cattle were first domesticated. The use of metal also first began there.”

Outside of the garden were many species of plant life that had been growing wild for thousands of years. There were also wild animals that had been on earth for multi thousands of years. Truly, the environment was more hostile outside of this garden. This becomes evident after Adam and Eve sinned. God had to literally force them to leave the Garden of Eden.

Climate and weather wise, the Garden of Eden was ideal. It was like paradise itself. It contained all the essential ingredients to satisfy all aspects of Man: his spirit, his soul and his body, for we read, “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of Life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)

First, the Lord God made “every tree grow that was pleasant to the eyes” (Genesis 4:). This satisfied his soul. It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. It is through the eye gate that Man perceives the pleasant beauty of the outside world. This gives pleasure and satisfaction to his soul.

Second, “the Lord God made every tree grow that was good for food” (Genesis 4:). This satisfied his body. The many varieties of fruit on the trees and vegetables in the garden were for the nourishment and health of his physical body.

Third, the Lord God made the tree of Life which was in the midst of the garden as well as the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of Life was to satisfy his spirit. God gave Adam definite instructions with respect to these two trees, for we read: “And the Lord God commanded the Man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16[-]17) God created within Man the freedom to make his own choices. As Creator, God expected Man to acknowledge Him and to be obedient to His Word. So he gave Man a choice between obeying or disobeying Him. It is the same choice that man and woman must make today.

As long as Adam and Eve obeyed God and ate of the tree of Life, their spirit was satisfied and they would have lived forever (see Genesis 3:23). However, God warned that if they should ever disobey Him and eat of the forbidden fruit that they would surely die. God was speaking a language that Adam could understand because death was already present within the animal and plant kingdoms resulting from Lucifer’s sin. This was a test of Adam’s obedience.

Just prior to the creation of Adam and Eve, the Lord God created new species of animal life, for we read: “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man (Adam) to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field” (Genesis 2:19-20 NIV).

This was the final series of animal creations before the end of the Sixth Day. It is important to realize that outside of the Garden of Eden, the Earth was already inhabited by many thousands of species of animal life that had been there for hundreds and thousands of years. However, within the garden, entirely new species of domestic animal life were created. It is likely that cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys and other animals and birds used by man for domestic purposes were created at this time. God gave Adam the responsibility of naming each of these animal and bird species in the garden.

Cattle belong to the split hoofed animals. Geology confirms that the wild varieties of split hoofed animals such as deer, moose, buffalo, elk can be traced back in the fossil record for many thousands and millions of years. Cattle are not found in the fossil record. They are a more recent creation. Wild sheep and goats can be traced back for millions of years, however, domestic sheep and goats are not found in the fossil record. Domestic dogs, cats, chickens etc are recent creations. They cannot survive without the help and assistance of Man.

This Garden of Eden was Paradise on Earth because the Tree of Life was present in the midst of this garden. After the Fall of Adam and Eve the Tree of life was removed. Today, the Tree of Life is in Paradise. When Jesus was on the Cross, there were two criminals on either side of Him. One criminal rejected Him. The other accepted Him. He said to the thief who accepted Him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23: 43).

Possible Location of the Garden of Eden

Much mystery and speculation surrounds the possible location of the geographical region called Eden. It was in Eden where the Garden of Eden was located. Most Bible scholars seem to place its location in the vicinity of the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia, or westward in the general vicinity of Asia Minor or even as far west as the Black Sea region..

This manuscript places the possible location of Eden directly to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the north of the Elbruz Mountains in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea (Figure 2)(Charlesworth,). Under this scenario, the Caspian Sea would have been the dynamic large headwater lake that would have been the source for the four major river systems that flowed out from Eden. The beautiful Garden would have been to the east of this lake, for we read, “Now the Lord God had planted a garden IN THE EAST, in Eden; and there He put the man that He had formed” (Genesis 2:8).

Figure 2: Map Showing the Caspian Sea region with the Greater Caucasus and the Talish Mountains to the west; the Elburz and the Shah Jaman Mountains to the south and east. Courtesy of hhtp://msdlem.sprat.se/davidgorgan/caspiansea.html.

Figure 2: Map Showing the Caspian Sea region with the Greater Caucasus and the Talish Mountains to the west; the Elburz and the Shah Jaman Mountains to the south and east. Courtesy of hhtp://msdlem.sprat.se/davidgorgan/caspiansea.html.

Critics would be quick to point out that this would be an impossible region for the Garden of Eden, because the present day Caspian Sea is a low lying, land locked, salty sea where nothing grows or lives and the adjacent area to the east is dry, desert like and relatively barren. The Caspian Sea is 28 meters (92 feet) below sea level. Rivers from all directions flow into it and it does not have an outlet. The Caspian Sea is presently the largest inland body of water in the world. It extends about 1207 km (750 miles) in a north-south direction and varies in width from 209km to 435km (130 to 270 miles). It has a mean depth of approximately 168 meters (550 feet) with extremes ranging from 8 meters (26 feet) in the north to about 975 meters (3200 feet) in the south.

In order to reconcile the apparent paradox of what the Garden of Eden was and what it is today, it is necessary to find the answer in geology.

References

Science, 1973, p.379. R.V. Challenger, Legg 23b of the Deep Sea Drilling Project aboard the RV Glomar Challenger.

Antevs, Ernest. Retreat of the Last Ice Sheet in Eastern Canada. Geol. Survey Canada, Mem. 146, 1925.

Antevs, Ernst. The Recession of the Last Ice Sheet in New England. Amer. Geog. Soc., Research Ser. 11, 1922.

Antevs, Ernest. Geochronology of the Deglacial and Neothermal Ages. The Journal of Geology, Vol.61, Number 3, May 1953.

DeGreer, Gerard, Geochronologia Suecica Principles, Svenska, Vetenskapsakad, Handl., Vol. 18, No. 6, 1940.

Stern Philip VanDoren, Prehistoric Europe from Stone Age Man to the Early Greeks NY Norton, 1969, p.211

Professor Charlesworth, The Quaternary Era p: 604-605

 

 

last updated: March 7, 2013
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