The garden of eden is mythical

(RiderOnTheClouds) #1

The garden of eden is not a real place. Though I like to believe there was a historical Adam, the story is clearly heavily embellished. The garden of Eden has all the signs of being located at the end of the flat earth, the the human and divine world’s met (because the firmament touched the edge of the earth). See this article for more information:

(Randy) #2

As you know, there are people all over the map on this–Lamoureux would agree with this, though there is a wide variety. I’m curious as to which proofs you think are most important.


The problem for modern readers of myths (including the Genesis creation narratives) is that when they realise that myths are based on a mistaken and outdated magico-mythical cosmology (incompatible with our current scientific one), they often interpret them in a symbolic or allegorical way without realising that they were originally intended to be taken literally.

Reggie, thanks for the link. If van Dyk is right (and I think he may be), the Hebrews would have believed in a literal garden in the mythological “in-between space” just like everybody else in the ANE. It may have been just as real to them as the solid firmament and the heavenly waters above. We would therefore understand the narrative as another instance of divine accommodation. In this case, God may have accommodated through an ANE mythologic framework to deliver his timeless truths to the early Hebrews.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #4

I see it as confirmation that the Hebrews believed in a flat earth

(Randy) #5

Reggie, please explain. Thanks.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #6

The garden of eden is at the eastern horizon, the horizon is subjective on a spherical earth, it can only be an actual place on a flat earth. The eastern horizon is the eastern end of the earth, where it meets the sky dome

(Randy) #7

What? What eastern horizon? I don’t recall that in the Bible?

Here’s an impression from Ham

thanks. Interesting ideas!

(RiderOnTheClouds) #8

It’s how an ancient israelite would have understood the phrase ‘in the east’ in Genesis 2:8.

(Randy) #9

Now that one is beyond me. What do you think of Ham’s ideas that it might not have even been by the Tigris?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #10

Seems like an ad hoc thesis to me. Remember that in the Ancient Near East all cosmic rivers were connected through the great river the Greeks called Okeyanos, and the Babylonians called Marratu, located… you guessed it, on the horizon. Recall Genesis 1:9:

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.

There you go, all the waters are one place. This explains how the garden of Eden could have been the source of all of the Tigris, Euphrates, Gihon and Pishon.

(Randy) #11

Lamoureux thought that the original image of the ME was surrounded by water–Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Med Sea around it. I’m not sure how to interpret that “one place” and thus a flat earth. But, I certainly agree that they thought it was a flat earth–with the 3 tiered universe, etc. I’m just doing pilpul. :slight_smile: Thanks.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #12

all these waters were part of the same body, which encircled the earth, as in the Babylonian world map.

(Madd Scientist) #13

If the garden of Eden is not real, then Adam and Eve were only mythical characters and the entire Bible is not to be trusted. Then our entire faith is in vain.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #14

How any of that coheres I do not know.


Are the words of Jesus not to be trusted because he spoke in parables?

(RiderOnTheClouds) #16

I actually now think that the garden of Eden ‘could’ have been in Bahrain, and that this location inspired the Sumerian beliefs about Dilmun.


We are Christians with a faith founded on the saving work and resurrection of Christ, we’re not Edenites. Why should we assume that God was concerned to meet our modernistic expectation of historicity or scientific accuracy when inspiring the ancient writers of scripture?

(Madd Scientist) #18

We are saved by our faith in Christ. This has nothing to with our belief in Genesis. In fact, the entire bible was given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. that means as followers of Christ, we must believe the entire book of the Bible. In the book of Revelation we are asked neither to add nor remove any part of the Bible. We have become too wise to even play God.Our technologies even pose a question. The book of Genesis .is as relevant as the Book of Revelation. Every word is relevant and true.

(Randy) #19

Greetings, @Madd_Scientist. We appreciate your input here. Can you clarify what the above means?

Also, have you had a chance to read what Biologos posted on inerrancy? The point wasn’t against inerrancy; it’s against imposing a mistaken interpretation on the text, sort of like implying that the sun standing still for a day with Joshua’s command meant that it goes around the earth. From my own understanding, it was God accommodating to our understanding of the universe at the time. I don’t know exactly what happened on that day, but it’s sort of like my telling my 5 year old that the sun rises, without really going into detail (yet) about how the Earth is round and we tilt toward the Sun.

Vanhoozer’s note is particularly good, I think. Thanks.

PS my favorite author is Denis Lamoureux, whose online lecture is helpful. He has a PhD in both theology (Regent College) and evolutionary biology

I’m in discussion with him about a Q&A video chat. I’m trying to gauge interest–would anyone else be interested in this? Thanks.



This is a strawman. No one is arguing that the Bible is irrelevant or untrue or that we should remove some part of it. The issue is whether we are interpreting it faithfully when we read all of its varied literary forms in literal way.