Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden is the biblical earthly paradise created by God to be inhabited by his first human creation – Adam and Eve. Some claim that the name “Eden” derives from the Akkadian term edinu, which means ‘plain’. In the biblical tradition, the garden is often alluded to by the biblical authors as a luxuriant place, which is why it is sometimes called the “Garden of God.” However, it is the biblical definition of the garden that is our concern here. Adam was the first man created by God in his image. After God saw the loneliness of Adam as “not good,” God caused a deep sleep on Adam and created Eve (the first woman) out of Adam’s rib as his helper (Genesis 2:20-23). To properly understand what the garden is to the narrator of Genesis, it is important to discern its location, the characters playing roles in it and what took place in it. All these contribute to our understanding of the biblical definition of the “Garden of Eden.”

The Eden narrative is narrated in the Bible’s book of Genesis 2:4b-3: 24, which places the garden at the east side of Eden. Commonly, translations have the “Garden of Eden” with the construct element “of,” but the Hebrew text has ‘gan-beeden’, which is not in the construct form, and that the preposition “be” in ‘beeden’ is to be translated as “in.” Therefore, it is grammatically incorrect to translate ‘gan-beeden’ as “Garden of Eden,” but the “Garden in Eden.” The actual location of Eden is disputed amongst scholars, but a number of them have concluded that the garden is an extraterrestrial place – where the gods resided. The water from the garden was the water-source for the two great rivers: Tigris and Euphrates, which are well-known in ancient Mesopotamia for the production of irrigation systems in the surrounding area. Its location then should be placed somewhere in Mesopotamia.

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