Just the facts



According to the book of Genesis in the Bible, the Garden of Eden was an earthly paradise that was home to Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. The Bible says that God created the garden, planting in it “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” Genesis 2:9. Eden was a well-watered, fertile place from which four rivers flowed out into this Garden. After creating Adam, God placed him there, so that he could take care of it. God then told Adam that he could eat the fruit from any tree except one: the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis chapters 1 to 3 have the main story of the Garden of Eden, but other Old Testament books reference it, such as Ezekiel and Isaiah. The meaning and the history of the word Eden has been heavily discussed. The peoples of ancient Mesopotamia also believed in an earthly paradise named Eden, located somewhere in the east. According to some ancient sources, the four main rivers of the ancient Near East—the Tigris, Euphrates, Halys, and Araxes—flowed out of the garden.

Scholars today debate the origin of the word Eden. Some believe it comes from a Sumerian word meaning “plain.” Others say it is from the Persian word heden, meaning “garden.” It’s now more commonly believed to have come from the Aramaic word meaning “fruitful” or “well-watered.” Genesis does not give much detail to where this Garden of Eden was, except that it was planted eastward of a place called Eden. The book also mentions that four rivers ran out of Eden to water this garden. A number of people and religious groups have tried to place the Garden on the map. Many believe that the original site could have been in or around Lebanon, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, or Africa.

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