Where Would the Biblical Garden of Eden be Located on Earth?
by Ashley Dreiling
If you’ve ever heard about the Garden of Eden, a paradise described in the Bible’s New Testament, you may have wondered if it actually exists.
And if so, can we find its exact location?
Before beginning the search, it’s important to distinguish the story of the biblical Garden of Eden from an actual physical location we could reach today. According to the Bible, the first humans ever, Adam and Eve, lived in this garden and gave into a temptation, eating a forbidden fruit offered by a serpent. It’s a religious creation narrative that explains humanity’s free will, knowledge, evil, and death.
Legend aside, there is evidence that this mythological garden is based on a real earthly location.
Clues can be found in the Bible’s Book of Genesis 2:10–14:
“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads. The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon; the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris; that is it which goeth toward the east of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”
Two of the referenced rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, exist today, starting in Turkey and flowing through Syria and Iraq before emptying in the Persian Gulf. The other two, Pishon and Gihon, are not clear. Some theologians believe the text is referring to the Ganges River in India and the Nile in Egypt, however, that would mean the garden covered a vast portion of the Earth.
Given the passage’s note about the Tigris and Euphrates, and the real-life Shatt Al-Arab River formed at their confluence, one can assume the Garden of Eden is based on the area in Iraq and Iran near the Persian Gulf.
Scientifically, the first humans lived on a different continent altogether, Africa. The largest concentration of human ancestral remains, including those of Australopithecus, an ape-like human species estimated to be between 3.4 to 3.7 million years old, is located approximately 31 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa.
While the fabled Garden of Eden remains beyond reach, archeologists dug our earliest remains from the Cradle of Humankind.
Tags: · Adam and Eve, africa, Asshur, Australopithecus, Bible, Cradle of Humankind, Cush, egypt, Euphrates, evil, free will, Ganges River, Garden of Eden, Genesis, Havilah, Iraq, Johannesburg, New Testament, Nile River, origin story, Persian Gulf, Pishon, religious, serpent, Shatt Al-Arab River, south africa, syria, Tigris, top, turkey