Garden of eden background

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The Garden of Eden is the biblical earthly paradise created by God to be inhabited by his first human creation - Adam and Eve. Adam was the first man created by God in his image. After God saw the loneliness of Adam as "not good," God caused a deep sleep on Adam and created Eve the first woman out of Adam's rib as his helper Genesis To properly understand what the garden is to the narrator of Genesis, it is important to discern its location, the characters playing roles in it and what took place in it.

The Eden narrative is narrated in the Bible 's book of Genesis b 24, which places the garden at the east side of Eden. The water from the garden was the water-source for the two great rivers: Tigris and Euphrates, which are well-known in ancient Mesopotamia for the production of irrigation systems in the surrounding area. Its location then should be placed somewhere in Mesopotamia.

The description of the garden in Genesis states that the water from Eden watered four important areas: Pishon, which flows into the land of Havilah; Gihon, which flows into the land of Cush; Tigris, which flows into the eastern side of Assyria ; and the fourth is Euphrates. Even more, the description of the garden in the Genesis is not identical with other biblical texts alluding to the garden.

For example, in Ezekiel 28, the luxuriant materials found in the garden are not mentioned in Genesis b These myths and legends are not Israelite in origin but were adapted by the biblical writers for either polemical or rhetorical purposes. What did the narrator seek to achieve? To focus exclusively on the "garden" without acknowledging these characters would only disrupt the plot of the narrative. Employing symbols and metaphors in ancient literature was very common; they contain rhetorical elements in order to persuade readers to accept what has been transmitted.

In other words, ancient literature is not aimless. Works provide full expression of something or things. Myths concerning the residence of a god s in the ancient Near East are usually in gardens, according to the earliest discovered literature attributed to the Sumerians.

This suffices to inform readers the re-adaptation of the garden concept by the narrator of Genesis, which is easily left out by interpreters. The Sumerians are considered a highly gifted non-Semitic people of unknown origin who settled in the lower Tigris-Euphrates Valley around the 4th millennium BCE.

From the brief description of the idyllic island of Dilmun, it is apparently similar to Christianity 's concept of paradise where life never ends. Apparently, from the garden Dilmun in Sumerian myth, it was a place created by god s for gods. The notion of a garden as an extraterrestrial place in Sumerian literature was obviously borrowed by the narrator of the book of Genesis for theological and etiological purposes.

To understand Genesis' version of the garden, one must take into consideration the place and characters playing roles in the narrative: God, Garden in Eden, Adam, Eve, the Serpent and the two trees tree of life and tree of knowledge. However, in the Genesis version, the occurrence of death and problems between God and humanity were only pronounced by God as a result of Adam and Eve's deliberate act of eating the fruit from the forbidden 'tree of knowledge'. Apparently, the Garden in Eden, like the land of Dilmun was a place of everlasting joy without death.

The securing of the 'tree of life' by God placing the cherubim with a flaming sword in it to prevent access to it was also a result of Adam and Eve's disobedience by seeking to be a god. One other major refinement by the Genesis narrator of the Dilmun Island is that instead of the garden being God's residence, God places Adam and Eve in it. The theological reflection here would be, unlike foreign gods, the God of Genesis is not a selfish god, but a god who sought to establish a relationship with humanity. Briefly, the purpose of the Eden narrative in the book of Genesis could be interpreted in two ways.

This disobedience led to disruption in God's relationship with humanity because of Adam and Eve. Evil is a human product. Second, the Eden narrative also functions as an etiological legend seeking to answer questions about human origin.

The creation story in Genesis a has already confirmed questions concerning the cosmogony, which was God's work. As for the Eden narrative, Adam and Eve were the first humans who were also the first parents who gave birth to humanity. Like cosmogonic literature of the ancient Near East, the Eden legend is deed to speculate on the origins of humanity and its first residence. Apparently, what one finds in the 'Primeval History' section of Genesis are legends about the beginnings of human science , which of course would contradict to 21st century CE scientific discoveries.

The Garden in Eden was the first residence of humanity given by God himself. The narrator's depiction of God is obviously not a selfish, but a loving God. Genesis apparently elevated God's divine status as not needing a physical residence because it would only disrupt God's omnipresent character. This presupposes that this particular garden was perhaps not the only garden in Eden based on the Hebrew translation of 'gan-beeden' provided above.

World History Encyclopedia is a non-profit organization. Laie, B. Garden of Eden. World History Encyclopedia. Laie, Benjamin T.. Last modified January 12, World History Encyclopedia, 12 Jan Written by Benjamin T. This lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this may have different licensing terms.

Laie published on 12 January Listen to this article. Translated text available in: Arabic. Remove Advertisement. Editorial Review This article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. Bibliography Gunkel, H. Brill, Leiden, Kramer, S. The Ancient Near East c. Routledge, Kuhrt, A. The Ancient Near East: c. Routledge, Pritchard, J. The Ancient Near East. Princeton University Press, Sarna, N. Anchor Bible, Von, R.

Genesis: A Commentary. Translations We want people all over the world to learn about history. Help us and translate this definition into another language! So far, we have translated it to: Arabic. About the Author Benjamin T.

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Garden of eden background

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