The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
Where in the World Is Eden?
Another View of an old Question
Across the ages many have quested concerning the whereabouts of Eden, but a
satisfactory answer continues to prove elusive. The biblical story is vague as to where the
recalled events might have taken place, except for two real-world clues.
While overall geographic clarity is lacking, some descriptions within the biblical
account are helpful. Within -Eden | was a place with a garden- like environment in which
there were trees of all kinds, many with fruit for the picking. The seasons are not clearly
defined, but there were four rivers that ran through this early habitat of humanity that
seemed to run -to the four corners of it. | Two of the rivers, described as within the
vicinity of Eden, are the Tigris and the Euphrates.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient text about a heroic figure, whose adventures
occurred within the Euphrates River system, contains a story about an all-encompassing
flood, which seems to describe an event similar to that recorded in the book of Genesis.
The ancient background that this story is set in (3,500 to 4,000 BC at least) implies that
the Genesis account also occurred early in the journey of modern man.
The archaeological record traces the appearance of Man as a tool- making mammal
to somewhere in the one million year expanse of the Pleistocene or glacial Epoch. It
records his journey as a hunter-gatherer through the long Paleolithic Period (that takes up
98 percent of the Pleistocene Epoch); through the relatively short (four to six thousand
year) Mesolithic Period; to the beginning of the Neolithic, at approximately 8,000 BC.
The earliest evidence of settled existence, at approximately 5,000 BC, is in the eastern
portion of the plain of the Tigris-Euphrates River system.
Over the broad expanse of this elongate double river plain that is modern-day Iraq,
the interested observer can discern a variety of things.
Some are economic: O il wells seem to march largely up the eastern side, all within
sight of the lofty Zagros Mountains that form the eastern border of this plain.
Some are historic: This relatively flat valley is the birthplace of what is seen by
many as the oldest of all civilizations. It has nurtured the city-state of Ur, in the south-
central part, -the land between the rivers | and many of the successor civilizations
including Babylon and Assyrian N ineveh, which arose at the base of the northern plateau
and in the uppermost portion of this long plain. Today Baghdad sits astride the Tigris at
the narrowest separation between these two rivers, and close to the middle of this riverine
Some are geographic; Two rivers, the Tigris and its sister the Euphrates, meander
over the width and length of this silt- filled valley before joining, then pouring over an
extensive delta and into what is called today the Persian Gulf.
This plain lies south and east of the Anatolian Plateau, a highland that separates that
flat expanse from the Black Sea, a large lake- like body of salt water, placed by some
geologic process in the middle of the Euro-Asian landmass.
Others are geologic: These meandering rivers imply the last stage of sedimentation
of a once lower, narrower river valley. The vast pools of oil that underlie the eastern
portion of modern-day Iraq and extend the length of this plain would suggest that a far