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The garden of Eden


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#1 Christina Williams

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 10:26 AM

Hi all, Im new to Monachos and to Orthodoxy. It is difficult for me to get to a church and to learn from books. I hope that it is ok to post some of my questions and queries on this site.

May I ask what the orthodox view on Eden is? Does this place exist solely in a spiritual dimension? When Adam and Eve were in 'union' with God they were in 'Eden' but when they fell they were 'exiled'.......is there any parallel with the 'Kingdom of Heaven'?

I hope that this question makes sense

Yours in Christ

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 12:52 PM

Hi all, Im new to Monachos and to Orthodoxy. It is difficult for me to get to a church and to learn from books. I hope that it is ok to post some of my questions and queries on this site.

May I ask what the orthodox view on Eden is? Does this place exist solely in a spiritual dimension? When Adam and Eve were in 'union' with God they were in 'Eden' but when they fell they were 'exiled'.......is there any parallel with the 'Kingdom of Heaven'?

I hope that this question makes sense

Yours in Christ


Eden was an actual physical place but was deeply affected by man's being constantly in communion with God. Thus the experience of time and place was not like ours in a fallen state although we can get glimpses of this through our life in the Church.

Indeed there is a parallel between this & the Kingdom of God since the Kingdom refers to that state when Christ will be all in all.

As often referred to here at Monachos for many of the Holy Frs, such as St Irenaeus of Lyons, Eden did not represent the final state that God wished for man. Rather man in Eden was still only a spiritual infant in terms of his life in God and he was called to keep growing in this as part of his life in Eden. In this sense we could say that the point of Eden was ultimately to grow in the divine life and even to meet the Incarnate Christ one day.

The exile from Eden definitely represents a falling away from this. But yet on the other hand Christ's Incarnation and salvation through the Church represents the restoration of the purpose of Eden. As we say when we sing about the Cross, "the fiery sword no longer guards the gate of Eden", but rather through the Cross we hear Christ inviting us to, "return again to Paradise." (from the Kondak of the Sunday of the Cross during Great Lent).

In Christ- Fr Raphael
PS: You can find out more about this in Fr Seraphim Roses' Genesis, Creation & Early Man

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:44 AM

I came across this site looking for information on the Great rivers originating from Eden. I am very intrigued by the following.

It is common knowledge that the Garden of Eden is the name of the idyllic place prepared for Adam and where happiness is in store for the righteous (according to later writings). A careful reading of the verse suggests otherwise. "A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden. From there it divided and became four major rivers." The rabbis confirm this view, claiming that the Garden and Eden are in fact distinct; the source of the river (Eden) appears to be outside the garden, which it irrigates as it passes through.

The river that issues from Eden is described further in Genesis: "…it then divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon, the one that winds through the whole land is Havilah, where the gold is. (The gold of that land is good; bdellium is there, and lapis lazuli). The name of the second river is Gihon, the one that winds through the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel, the one that flows east of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Perat."


Here, as in Genesis 13:10, the garden is made independent of the vagaries of seasonal rainfall. Somewhere beyond the confines of the garden the single river separates into four branches that probably represent the four quarters of the inhabited world. In other word, the river of Eden also nourishes the rest of the world with its life-giving waters. While the Tigris and the Euphrates are of course well known, the other two names defy positive identification. They may stand for another great river civilization corresponding to that of the Mesopotamian plain, perhaps the Nile Valley.




R. Judah said in the name of Rav:

All rivers are lower in altitude than the three [Pishon, Gihon, and Hiddekel (Tigris)], and these three are lower in altitude than the Perat (Euphrates).






PISHON
Pishon, the meandering river associated with "the land of Havilah," is an unknown name. If this latter name is Hebrew, it means "sandy land." There are two biblical sites identified by the name Havilah, one within the Egyptian sphere of influence, the other in Arabia. Here the place is described as a source of gold and precious materials.

Rashi thought the Pishon was the Nile (even though the Euphrates and Tigris flow in a southeasterly direction and the Nile to the north). According to Josephus, it was the Ganges or the Indus. Rabbi Aaron Marcus offered an alternative in the Karun, which flows through Iran into the Persian Gulf. In support of Josephus, there is a city called Havelian on the upper Indus River, in Pakistan.



GIHON
Gihon is the name of a spring in a valley outside of Jerusalem, ancient Jerusalem's main water source. The stem g-y-h means "to gush forth." The verse describes Gihon as "the one that winds through the whole land of Cush," yet no river of this name is otherwise known. The association with "the land of Cush" complicates the identification, because elsewhere in Genesis, Cush is a "brother"of Egypt and is also connected with South Arabia and with Mesopotamia. Although there are other biblical associations, Cush generally refers in the Bible to Nubia, a region south of Egypt corresponding roughly to the present-day Nilotic Sudan. If this is the case here too, then Pishon and Gihon may be the terms for the Blue Nile and the White Nile. These two rivers unite at Khartoum to form the mightiest river of Africa, which finally empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

"Southward through Eden went a river large, Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill..."

(From John Milton's Paradise Lost: Book IV)
Read passage by Milton


Josephus identifies Gihon with the Nile. According to Rabbi Aaron Marcus, some people identify it with the Amu-dar'ya, which now flows from Afghanistan into the Aral Sea in Russia, and once flowed into the Caspian Sea. He says that it also might be the Qezal Owzan River, which flows northward through Iran into the Caspian Sea, or the Khabur, a tributary of the Euphrates flowing through Syria.



HIDDEKEL
Hiddekel "that flows east of Asshur" is generally identified as the Tigris River. The Hebrew word Hiddekel is mentioned again only in Daniel 10:4. The Tigris/Hiddekel river is known as the Idiklat/Diklat in Assyrian, and as the Tigra in Old Persian.


PERAT
Perat, the fourth and last river, is generally associated with the Euphrates. The Hebrew name Perat finds its equivalent in the Assyrian Purattu and the Old Persian Ufratu.


I am an "amateur" geologist and historian so these kinds of things interest me. Does the above "sound" right to you?

Paul

#4 IoanC

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

The Garden of Eden was in a region that belongs to modern-day northwestern Syria and north-eastern Iraq. According to my source, the Garden of Eden (Paradise) exists to this day (only God knows how), yet, it is a place different than The Kingdom of Heaven which is higher. See picture:
Attached File  eden.jpg   49.11K   41 downloads

My source is a very credible Orthodox Christian work based on the Chronograph by George Kedrenos who himself got his information from Chaldean historical writings. I believe this work was edited/translated by St. Dimitri of Rostov in Russian, and I have yet another edition in Romanian. All I can say is that the book is firmly within Orthodox Tradition and is infused with spiritual commentaries, quotes from the Saints (such as St. Basil The Great's commentaries on The Hexameron work on Creation) and analytical studies of various historical facts and sources of information. (the picture is from this book)




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