And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Genesis 2:8)
The location of the biblical Garden of Eden remains a mystery that intrigues many. Recently I received an email from someone who thought he had it figured out. He writes:
I’ve been looking around the area of Iraq in the area where the Tigris and Euphrates river are and I found an area I wonder if it was maybe where the Garden of Eden was or where the Tree of life was. If you think of a garden it would be relatively small and it says that an Angel stood guard at the entrance. If it was here in this picture there is water surrounding the area except for one spot to go in and out of. Please tell me me what you think either way.
The Euphrates and Pison (possibly the Tigris) are only two of four rivers named whose source was the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:11-14). This is reminiscent of the two rivers described by Ezekiel as flowing from the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 47:1-10 ff.), or the river that flows from the throne of God described in Revelation 22:1.
The Garden of Eden was the place where God met and enjoyed fellowship with man. Throughout Scripture, we see images of similar places, e.g. Mt. Moriah where Abraham offered up Isaac (Genesis 22), which later became the site of Solomon’s Temple, Mt. Sinai where God met with Moses and later gave the Law, Mt. Zion where the Temple was built and where the final Temple will be built, i.e. the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Keeping this in mind, it is very possible that the Garden of Eden was actually in the area of Jerusalem. Throughout Scripture, God names Jerusalem as His special place (1 Kings 11:36; 2 Chronicles 6:6; Nehemiah 1:9). It is also noteworthy that Jerusalem is near the geographical center of all the land mass of earth. Prior to the Global Flood (Genesis 6-9), it is thought that only one super continent (Pangea) existed, and it seems reasonable to think that the Garden of Eden was at the center of the land mass – again, keeping it in the general location of where Jerusalem now stands.
We must also keep in mind that the Global Flood radically changed the topography of the pre-Flood world. Therefore, what existed before, no longer exists. In other words, the rivers mentioned in Genesis 2 are not the same rivers that exist now. The current Tigris and Euphrates rivers were named from the memories that the Ark passengers carried from the previous world. The bottom line is that we cannot know with certainty the location of the Garden of Eden. I suspect that the Garden of Eden was where Jerusalem now is, but I would not bet my next paycheck on it.