Where was the location of the garden of Eden? Was it in the Middle East?
The Garden of Eden is actually a garden that was located on the east side of a region called Eden according to Genesis 2:8. The Hebrew word for Eden appears to mean “delight.” We are not completely sure about its meaning.
And the LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. (NASB) Genesis 2:8
It was a beautiful place according to Genesis 2:9-14. God provided this garden with trees and water. The trees were beautiful and provided food for the man and woman. Two of the trees were special: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.
And 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. (NASB) Genesis 2:8-14
A river flowed out of the garden. There is no name given for it. This river branched into four other rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and the Euphrates. The location of the Pishon and Gihon rivers are unknown to us. Many have attempted to locate them.
Pishon. Some have said the river Pishon is the Nile River, but there is no biblical, historical or archaeological support for the claim. Scripture does say the river Pishon flowed around the land of Havilah. We do not know the location of this land and there is no river flowing around a Middle East country today. The land of Havilah and the location of the Pishon River are unknown.
Gihon. The location of the Gihon River is also unknown. The land of Cush includes the current lands of Ethiopia and Arabia. There is no river surrounding these lands.
Euphrates & Tigris. Today there are two rivers called the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, but the locations of these rivers at the time of Adam and Eve are uncertain. The New Testament seems to imply the great flood during Noah’s time made changes in our world.
. . . Through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. (NASB) 2 Peter 3:6
There is solid 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, and there is no Middle East river that branches into four rivers, two of which are the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Tragedy. 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. (NASB) Genesis 3:24
He drove them eastward and stationed a cherubim to guard the tree of life. It appears the garden was in the Middle East and Adam went farther east. Was the garden in Egypt? Was it the land we now call Iraq? or Iran? We do not know.
By the time of the prophets, such as Ezekiel, we discover the garden of Eden is a desert.
And they will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ (NASB) Ezekiel 36:35
The garden had probably been a desert for thousands of years before this but this is the first time we read these words. A lush, beautiful garden was a garden of just sand in Ezekiel’s day. That is a picture of sin. It is a picture of what Jesus wants to do in our lives. We were once just desert – sinners. If He is your savior, you are now a lush garden – a forgiven saint!