by Matt Slick
- "Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. 10 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold," (Gen. 2:9-10).
- "The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush," (Gen. 2:13).
- "The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates," (Gen. 2:14).
Please consider this comment from the new Bible dictionary.
"A river came from Eden, or the plain, and watered the garden, and from thence it was parted and became four heads (rāʿšîm, Gn. 2:10). The word rōʾš, ‘head, top, beginning’, is interpreted variously by scholars to mean either the beginning of a branch, as in a delta, going downstream, or the beginning or junction of a tributary, going upstream. Either interpretation is possible, though the latter is perhaps the more probable. The names of the four tributaries or mouths, which were evidently outside the garden, are given as pîšōn (Gn. 2:11), gîhôn (2:13), hiddeqel (2:14) and pʾrāt (2:14)."1
A further difficulty in determining the location of the Garden of Eden is found in the Bible itself. It seems the location is guarded.
Genesis 3:22–24, "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever'— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life."
Adam and Eve were in their fallen state, were then driven from the garden, and that is when God stationed the cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life. Some commentators think that this is to prevent anyone from returning to the Garden of Eden, eating of the tree of life, and then eternally remain in the condition of "fallenness". In other words, there is something better coming to the people of God, i.e. the Christians, that consists of a future resurrection, a future glorification of our bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Of course, this is only a theory.
Nevertheless, though the Bible tells us the general location of the Garden of Eden in the Mesopotamian area of the Tigris and Euphrates, the exact location is not known.
- 1. Wood, D. R. W., and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.