Where was the location of the garden of Eden? Was it in the Middle East?
The location of the Garden of Eden was on the east side of a region called Eden according to Genesis 2:8. The Hebrew word for Eden means “luxury” or “delight.” The message is that the Garden of Eden was a delight.
And the LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Genesis 2:8 (NASB)
The Trees and Food of the Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden was a beautiful place according to Genesis 2:9-14. We are told the garden was supplied by water from four different rivers which created a lush garden.
Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. And the name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Genesis 2:8-14 (NASB)
Notice the garden contained gold, bdellium and onyx stones, as well as trees. Ezekiel 31:16 states the trees were well-watered.
. . . all the well-watered trees of Eden . . . Ezekiel 31:16 (NASB)
When we are told the trees were “pleasing to the sight,” the actual Hebrew means more than the trees were “pleasing.” The word has the sense of coveted. That is the trees also were appealing. Most likely the food was appealing too!
Pishon, Gihon, Euphrates & Tigris Rivers
We are told that a river flowed out of the garden, but we are not given a name for the river. This river branched into four other rivers: the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and the Euphrates. Many have speculated as to the location of the four rivers with the goal of determining the location of the Garden of Eden. McClintock and Strong have masterfully documented nine different theories about the location of the Garden of Eden. The four rivers are used in many of the theories in an attempt to locate the garden. Also, John Calvin in his Commentary on Genesis has provided a long list of different views. He quotes many of the early church fathers, who were about two thousand years closer to the events than we are in 2021. He also cites the views of non-Christians.
The major problem with all of the views are the locations of the Pishon and Gihon rivers since there are no rivers with those names. What follows is a brief summary of the findings.
Some have said the river Pishon is the Danube River, but there is no biblical, historical or archaeological support for the claim. Others think this river is the current Indus or Ganges Rivers. [4, 5] Scripture does say the river Pishon flowed around the land of Havilah. We do not know the location of this land nor has there been any known river with the name Pishon. The land of Havilah and the location of the Pishon River are both unknown.
The location of the Gihon River is also unknown. Yet, some think this river was the Nile River.[6, 7] This is a common conclusion but without any evidence. In short, the location of the Pishon and Gihon rivers are unknown to us.
Euphrates & Tigris Rivers
Today, locations of rivers bearing the names of the Tigris and Euphrates are well-known. They flow from the mountains of Syria and Iraq down through modern Iraq to the sea, but the location of rivers with the same names at the time of Adam and Eve are uncertain. The New Testament reveals that the great flood during Noah’s time changed the topography of our world.
. . . Through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (NASB) 2 Peter 3:6
There is great reason to believe the great flood changed the geography of our world. The geography of our world today is different than it was at the creation. John Calvin stated in his commentary on Genesis that some try to argue that the surface of the earth changed.
From this difficulty, some would free themselves by saying that the surface of the globe may have been changed by the deluge . . .
Then he proceeds to argue for an answer, but his efforts were futile. Henry Morris in his Commentary on Genesis states,
In general, it is evident that the geography described in these verses does not exist in the present world, nor has it ever existed since the Flood. The rivers and countries described were antediluvian geographical features, familiar to Adam, the original author of this part of the narrative. They were all destroyed, and the topography and geography completely changed.
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Two of the trees were in the garden were special. The first one was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9 tells us that Adam and Eve could not eat of this tree. Yet, it must have been extremely appealing, since the other trees are described as pleasing or appealing.
Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9 (NASB)
Genesis 3:1 tells us this was the tree that Satan used in his temptation of Eve. Eventually she ate of the tree, offered it to her husband and he ate. The result was that sin entered the creation, and every man and woman since has been born a sinner. By nature we are disobedient and self-centered people. That is why God took on human flesh. When He did, He appeared as a man and His name was Jesus Christ. Without Him every human would go to hell and live there for eternity. But since He died on the cross for sins, we can have our sins forgiven and have eternal life. If you are interested in knowing what God desires for you, please visit Searching For God. Learn how to have your sins forgiven and have eternal life.
Tree of Life
The tree of life was the other special tree. It is clear from Genesis 3:24 that Adam and Eve never ate of this tree. Because after Adam sinned, resulting in a sin cursed earth and human race, God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden.
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. Genesis 3:24 (NASB)
He drove them eastward and stationed a cherubim to guard the tree of life. Apparently, the garden was in the Middle East and Adam went farther east. But as Henry Morris states, we believe the topography and geography has completely changed.
In summary, we do not know the location of the Garden of Eden. Maybe some day archaeology will discover the location, however, that is doubtful. While we wait, we should follow the advice of the apostle Paul who said,
As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 1 Timothy 1:3-7 (NASB)
1. John McClintock and James Strong. Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Baker Book House. 1981, vol. III, pp. 52-57.
2. John Calvin. Commentaries on Genesis. Baker Book House. 1996. . vol. 1., p. 113-119.
3. Ephrem the Syrian. Commentary on Genesis. Ancient Christian Commentary on the Scripture. InterVarsity Press. 2001. vol. 1. p. 56.
4. Kenneth Matthews. Genesis 1-11:26. The New American Commentary. B&H Publishing. 1996.Vol. 1A. p. 207.
5. McClintock. Ibid. p. 54.
6. Matthews. Ibid.
7. McClintock. Ibid. p. 54.
8. Calvin. Ibid., p. 119. (Genesis 2:10).
9. Henry Morris. Commentary on Genesis. Baker Book House. 1988. pp. 89-90.
Suggested Links:How long did Adam and Eve stay in the Garden of Eden?
Was “the Serpent” the only animal that talked in the Garden of Eden?
Were cavemen created when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden?
Why did Eve believe the serpent’s lies and eat the apple?
Did God actually walk in the garden in Genesis 3:8?
Where did Satan come from? – Creation and Fall of Satan