Let us begin by asking “What was Eden?” A simple answer may be that it was a garden. Of course, that there was a “Garden of Eden” is common knowledge. There are some 20 mentions of “Eden” in the Bible; let us consider them.
The segments below consist of the following:
Etymology The Garden Of… East Of Eden Where Was Eden? Eden’s As A Structure Megaliths
Sixteen of the occurrences have the Hebrew word as Strong’s H5731 ‘Eden which means “pleasure.” This word is the same as H5730 ‘eden which means, “1) luxury, dainty, delight, finery 2) delight.” In turn, this word comes from H5727 ‘adan meaning, “1) (Hithpael) to luxuriate, delight oneself.”
One instance is H1040 Beth ‘Eden meaning “house of Eden” and, more specifically, “house of delight” which was a “1) a city in Syria, modern Juseih (cuneiform = Bit Adini).” This term comes from two root words: H5730 which we encountered above and the primitive root Strong’s H5727 which we also already encountered.
This instance occurs as:
I will also break the [gate] bar of Damascus, And cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,” Says the LORD. (Amos 1:5)
The three other instances are H5729 ‘Eden which means “pleasure” and is from the primitive root H5727 ‘adan which we encountered above.
Why there is an H5731 ‘Eden and an H5729 ‘Eden with the same meaning and from the same root may be due to peculiarities of the Hebrew such as, perhaps, different spellings, etc. (note that the pronunciations are different: H5731 ā’·den is and H5729 is eh’·den).
In fact, we find that five references to “Eden” are to a person who was given that as a name. He was “a Gershonite Levite, son of Joah in the days of king Hezekiah of Judah”:
Have the gods of the nations delivered those whom my fathers have destroyed, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph, and the people of Eden who [were] in Telassar? (2 Kings 19:12 and repeated in Isaiah 37:12)
Haran, Canneh, Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Assyria, [and] Chilmad [were] your merchants. (Ezekiel 27:23)
Then these Levites arose: Mahath the son of Amasai and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah and Eden the son of Joah… (2 Chronicles 29:12)
And under him [were] Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, [his] faithful assistants in the cities of the priests, to distribute allotments to their brethren by divisions, to the great as well as the small. (2 Chronicles 31:15)
THE GARDEN OF… With the above as background, we are left to deal with the question “What was Eden?” We have seen that it was a man and it was a Syrian city.
This leaves us to consider the original Eden and wonder what it was. Again, it is common knowledge that there was a “Garden of Eden” and it is simple to conclude that Eden was a garden. Well, whilst terminology shifts somewhat, as we shall see, that there was a garden of Eden means that yes, there was a garden but that it was of Eden. In other words, there was an Eden and Eden had a garden.
Let us consider texts in this regard gleaning from Genesis 2:8 to 3:23:
The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed…
Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads…
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it…
…therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
Thus, there was a something called Eden. A garden was planted to the East of Eden. From Eden a river flowed that watered the garden. Adam was to tend and keep the garden. After the fall into sin Adam was sent out of Eden and out of the garden in order to till the ground as he was no longer a tender and keeper of a garden that produced for him but he would now have to till, to work, the ground in order to make is produce.
EAST OF EDEN
This brings us to an interesting note which is that there was Eden and to the East of it was its garden. The river flowed from Eden to the East so as to water the garden. When Adam was sent out Eden and the garden he was sent East:
So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)
Later, when Cain murdered Abel he also was sent East:
Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16)
What these, and other, references to an Eastward movement means is unclear. Just where was Eden that in order to block Adam from returning to it, cherubim and a flaming sword were placed to its East? If Adam truly sought to return to the garden could he not enter via its North, South, West, North-East, South-West, etc.? Well, the sword did turn every way in order “to guard the way to the tree of life.” But still, there appears to have been some sort of passage way (walls and a gate?) which had an entrance to the East.
Crosby, Stills & Nash sang Joni Mitchell’s lyrics to the song “Woodstock” as follows:
We are stardust, we are golden, We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Let us consider other texts that reference Eden before finally getting to wondering what it was. These references are simply to likenesses to Eden and/or the garden thereof:
For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. (Isaiah 51:3)
So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities [are now] fortified [and] inhabited.’ (Ezekiel 36:35)
A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land [is] like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)
One reference is to a statement made to “the king of Tyre”:
You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone [was] your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. (Ezekiel 28:13)
Long story short, the Bible notes that behind human kings or princes there are spiritual kings or princes. In this case the statement is to both the human and the spiritual ruler “the king of Tyre” who is said, in v. 28:14, to have been “the anointed cherub.”
The remaining three references (found within Ezekiel 31) are very interesting as they present a metaphor likening trees and Eden’s garden to “Pharaoh king of Egypt and…his hordes” (and perhaps secondarily, it is another instance of a spiritual king/prince behind a human king/prince).
WHERE WAS EDEN?
So now, back, again, to the original question, “What was Eden?”
Answer: we do not know.
Yes, after 20 references to “Eden” we are not told. This simply means that, for whatever reason(s), it was not important for us to know.
Where Eden and the garden were is not specifically known and there are various reasons for this. Note that the Bible tells us that, “a river went out of Eden” which then “parted and became four riverheads.” In turn, these were (see Genesis 2:10-14):
Pishon which “skirts the whole land of Havilah” Gihon, “which goes around the whole land of Cush” Tigris, “which goes toward the east of Assyria”
Euphrates (no further info given)
The issue is whether these are pre or post great deluge/worldwide flood names. If they are pre then they are no longer relevant as the deluge would have wiped out any and all geographical markers such as river beds. But why would the text reference post flood names? Because those references would be understood by the peoples of Moses’ time and would have given them a contemporary indication of its location.
If they are post flood then we have a chance of identifying its location. Of course, Eden, the garden and its trees (including the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) would have been washed away. One reason why we should not expect to find cherubim a flaming sword is that the garden and its trees are gone and so there is no longer anything to guard. It is interesting to think that since they were washed away and quickly covered they are likely petrified…somewhere.
Fine, but what might it have been? Well, that is another issue the answer to which is pure speculation. Repeat: that which follows is pure speculation.
EDEN’S AS A STRUCTURE
Eden could very well have been a mere landmark which is to say; a plot of land. Then again, it may have been something, some thing. Keep in mind that “the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). It may be that Adam live in Eden and “worked” in the garden (keeping in mind that this was light work so to speak, a hobby). The text specifies that Adam was put there in order to tend and keep and not necessarily to live there. We have a plethora of artistic depictions of Adam and Eve essentially living in the garden but perhaps they lived in Eden.
Perhaps Eden was a city—or some sort of structure.
In Genesis 4:17 we learn that “Cain…built a city.” These earliest of Earth’s inhabitants were surely supremely intelligent as they were so very close to generically pristine. Thus, Cain could have conceived of the manner whereby to build a city without issue.
Sadly, we also have a plethora of depictions of these early inhabitants as being just this side of the stereotypical cavemen of Darwinian myth. Rather, they were very intelligent and were specialists in working metals, building, music, etc.
Still, we must wonder where or how it occurred to Cain to build a city. Why not simply live strewn about the face of the Earth or otherwise in one location. He could certainly have just thought of it but, he may have sought to emulate Eden—the city/structure.
After the flood we find that the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was:
Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. (Genesis 10:8-12)
Again, we have (now relatively) early people building cities.
The term megalithic builders refers to the unknown people who built various megalithic sites around the world. They built pyramidal/zigguratical structures that are very similar to each other even whilst being said to have had no contact and whilst building in sites geographically distant from one another.
The occult philosopher Robert Anton Wilson once stated that if you have a pencil that is thick enough and a map that is small enough, you can connect any points. People whose cartographical skills far surpass my non-existing ones claim that via modern mapping techniques one can plot a pyramid grid on the Earth’s surface which shows that the pyramids are aligned to each other. I do not know if this is the case even when I see the maps partially because one could connect various point of anything really and end up with a different supposed grid: my point is what is a or the grid supposed to look like? Perhaps any resulting set of lines could be called a grid.
The record of the events surrounding the Tower of Babel elucidates how such, seemingly disjointed, cultures could have built such similar structures. At that time, all people live relatively close to each other and came together in order to build a structure. Thereafter, the LORD caused them to disperse throughout the Earth according to language groups. These groups would eventually form their own cultures all over the Earth and would have been brought with them the common knowledge of building such structures. For some reason, the Giza pyramids seem to be the odd balls as most other pyramids are not three dimensional triangles but are ziggurats: step pyramids.
Also, note that as soon as one person expounds upon how building such huge structures would have been impossible for us much less earlier peoples, someone else comes along and expounds upon just how it could have been done—for examples of this latter claim, see Ancient Alien Megalithic Builders vs Wally Wallington & Edward Leedskalnin.
This dispersal explains how we find similar structures throughout the Earth and why these various cultures have shared “myths,” similar “legends,” similar histories which tell, in various forms, of an original garden, a great flood, etc.
Cain may have been emulating the Eden city/structure, Nimrod may have been emulating Cain’s and the megalithic builders may have been emulating the Tower of Babel. And yet, in keeping with the concept of the fall into sin, each, in turn, would represent an increasing corruption of the original Eden until the megalithic sites became the temples, the cities, of false and evil gods.
As with so very many city/structures; Eden could have literally contained information within its structure—in the form of specific alignment and/or glyphs.
There are certain aspects of the end time-last days-eschaton that mirror, reenact or replace that which occurred in the beginning. Note that the book of Revelation makes reference to a new creation: a new heavens, a new Earth and a new Jerusalem (3:12 and 21:2-3):
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…
Note that the new Jerusalem comes down fully formed, here are some more details (21:10-23):
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
The new Jerusalem is a city and it was built, apparently, directly by God in heaven and placed upon the new Earth fully formed. Furthermore, note that it is constructed with a very specific shape, adornments, etc. For example and to review some features; it had twelve gates and angels which is not only symbolic of the twelve tribes but contained inscribed information in the form of their names. The city is aligned so that there are three gates on each cardinal point. The twelve foundation stones are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles. Its foundation is laid out as a square and measurable according to both human and angelic measurements.
It is made of specific materials such as precious stones which are not only pretty but may have to do with frequency modulation, etc.
Note that a square is not a cube as one is two dimensional and the other is three. Now, because the new Jerusalem’s “length and width and height are equal” many have concluded that it is a cube. However, for what it is worth, of the many pyramid related statements made by the late Patrick Heron (author of Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse, et al.) of which is of contextual interest is that he pointed out that, in essence, a cube and a pyramid both have square foundations “length and width…are equal.” They also both have heights that are equal to the length and width. Of course, pyramid or rather, ziggurats can be disproportional being, for example, of more height than their length and width.
The “length and width and height are equal” one both a cube and a pyramid. The only difference is that on a cube the “length and width and height are equal” all the way up.
Top right: “length and width (or, breath) and height are equal” Top left: height moved to the center point. Middle: height centered on square foundation Bottom right and left:
cube and pyramid with same square foundation and height
To sum it all up: perhaps Adam and Eve attended that which I will term The University of Eden wherein their utter brilliance would have been put towards comprehending elucidations of the glories of God and His creation—His original “very good” creation, mind you.
Perhaps subsequent megalithic builders attempted to keep this knowledge alive, as they did via the Tower of Babel even as it became corrupted for various reasons: the noetic effects of the fall into sin, intrusion by the fallen (formerly) heavenly beings, etc.
So was Eden a, or the site of a, pyramidal-ziggurat, was this emulated by Cain, by Nimrod, by the monolithic builders thereafter and will it be the new Jerusalem? I have no clue and this has largely been a gedanken experiment.