What happened to the Garden of Eden? Is it even around today? Is it hidden or was it destroyed in the Flood in Noah’s day?
The Garden is Picture Perfect
Genesis 2:8-14 “And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
God Himself planted this Garden and so it must have been perfect and a true paradise on earth. The word for Eden means pleasure and since God names things for their attributes, the Garden must have been extremely pleasurable to experience and pleasing to the eye. The Garden included the Tree of Life which closely resembles the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem and in fact has the same name as the one in the Garden (Rev 22:2). There is no doubt that it extremely pleasurable was because every tree that was “pleasant to the sight and good for food” was there meaning that there was no lack for anything.
The river that flowed out of Eden was divided into four rivers, again just like what we find in the Kingdom that comes down from heaven (Rev 22:1-2). The name of the first river was Pison which is Hebrew for “increase” and this river flowed through the land of Havilah which is from the word “circle” so this river must have ran through the land which was shaped like a gigantic circle and the rivers increased every plant that grew there. It could have been hundreds, thousands, or even millions of square miles in circumference.
The name of the second river is called Gihon which in the Hebrew means “bursting forth” which is what the flora and fauna must have been doing within the luxurious confines of the Garden of Eden.
The third river was the Tigris, which still exists today in Iraq is a transliteration of the word “Chiddeqel” which essentially means “rapid” and so this river must have been a fast moving body of water.
Finally, the fourth river in the Garden was called the Euphrates which means “fruitfulness” and so these rivers gave increase to the vegetation and plant life in Eden with fruit and vegetables bursting forth, and these plants were supplied by a rapidly moving source of water and these all made the Garden fruitful. Apparently the rivers flowed through the Garden in the land of Havilah watering the entire, circular Garden. The Garden was planted for the man because “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen 2:15). In many ways the Garden of Eden strongly resembles the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven.
Where Was the Garden of Eden?
It appears that it was located in in the Middle East as the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers still run through Iraq but of course rivers can change course over time so whether it was in Iraq, as we know it today, we cannot be 100% certain. Scientists have discovered that crude oil forms from dead and decaying vegetation and so it stands to reason that the oil reserves found in much of the Middle East could have come from the decay of millions and millions of plants over thousands of years in the area that may have been the location of the Garden of Eden. But of course, the Flood or as it is sometimes called, the Deluge, must have destroyed the Garden of Eden and so there is likely not even a trace of it left. We can only speculate that the Flood was the cause of the voluminous oil reserves found in the Middle East today but again, the circular Garden could have been millions of square miles in circumference and so this many millions of plants could have produced billions of gallons of crude oil. The Bible doesn’t specifically say what size Eden was but just looking at the present day Tigris and Euphrates Rivers it is not hard to believe that the Garden may have been the size of a large nation.
What Happened to the Garden of Eden?
There is evidence of a great worldwide flood and so the Garden must have been completely destroyed thereby finding it would be impossible today. It’s hard to imagine that a Garden like this would continue to exist and not be discovered after thousands of years and millions of nomadic people who have roamed that land for centuries. The Flood waters of Noah’s day represent God’s judgment on a sinful world so the likelihood of it still existing is nearly zero. Besides these facts, no one could enter the Garden if it did exist today because after the fall of mankind “God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life” (Ge 3:23-24). If the Garden does still exist, and it seems impossible that it still would, we could not have access to it anyway because of the cherubim that guarded it and remember, man was kicked out of the Garden in case “he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Gen 3:22b). Regardless, the Bible is silent on the whereabouts of the Garden and since the Bible is silent on this, so will I be.
There is something coming that is so much better than the Garden ever was and it is the New Jerusalem but only those who have repented of their sins and trusted in Christ may enter it for no sin can be in the coming Kingdom of Heaven. Then how can sinful creatures like us enter heaven since we are all sinners (Rom 3:23; 6:23)? It is only by having your sins forgiven (1 John 1:9) and confessing Him as Lord and Savior with your mouth in a public profession (Rom 10:9-13) because it was “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). If you are not born again, you too will be barred from entering but will have to go to another place where you will be separated from God for all time (Rev 20:11-15) and that is something that I wouldn’t want my own worst enemy to suffer.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon