Today we have a rare treat for you. It’s a brilliant essay by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. At the website of his online ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo grapples with a question that has kept so many of us awake at night.
The essay is Where Was the Garden of Eden Located? With a bit of bold font that we added here and there for emphasis, Hambo starts like this:
Most Bible commentaries state that the site of the Garden of Eden was in the Middle East, situated somewhere near where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are today. This is based on the description given in Genesis 2:8–14:
[Hambo’s scripture quote:] The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. . . . Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon. . . . The name of the second river is Gihon. . . . The name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris]. . . . The fourth river is the Euphrates.
Then, after a big quote showing how the problem confused John Calvin, Hambo says:
Calvin recognized that the description given in Genesis 2 concerning the location of the Garden of Eden does not fit with what is observed regarding the present Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. God’s Word makes it clear that the Garden of Eden was located where there were four rivers coming from one head. No matter how one tries to fit this location in the Middle East today, it just can’t be done.
We recall seeing claims that with the aid of satellite images, it can be seen that there were once four rivers flowing into the Persian Gulf, but we can’t find any links to reputable sources. All we could find was this video from the History Channel: Decoding the Past: Mysteries of the Garden of Eden. Anyway, Hambo ignores all of that, no doubt because referring to man’s wicked thoughts will lead only to the Lake of Fire. Relying solely on scripture, he informs us:
The worldwide, catastrophic Flood of Noah’s day would have destroyed the surface of the earth. If most of the sedimentary strata over the earth’s surface (many thousands of feet thick in places) is the result of this global catastrophe as creationists believe, then we would have no idea where the Garden of Eden was originally located — the earth’s surface totally changed as a result of the Flood.
Ah, that explains it! Let’s read on:
Therefore, no one can logically suggest that the area where the present Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are today is the location of the Garden of Eden, for this area is sitting on Flood strata containing billions of dead things (fossils). The perfect Garden of Eden can’t be sitting on billions of dead things before sin entered the world!
Certainly not! But then Hambo mentions another mystery:
This being the case, the question then is why are there rivers named Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East today?
Great question! He continues:
In my native country of Australia, one will recognize many names that are also used in England (e.g., Newcastle). The reason is that when the settlers came out from England to Australia, they used names they were familiar with in England to name new places/towns in Australia.
In a similar way, when Noah and his family came out of the ark after it landed in the area we today call the Middle East (the region of the Mountains of Ararat), it would not have been surprising for them to use names they were familiar with from the pre-Flood world (e.g., Tigris and Euphrates), to name places and rivers, etc., in the world after the Flood.
Okay, but we’re still left with the aching question — Where was the Garden of Eden? Hambo deals with that in his final paragraph:
Ultimately, we don’t know where the Garden of Eden was located. To insist that the Garden was located in the area around the present Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is to deny the catastrophic effects of the global Flood of Noah’s day, and to allow for death before sin.
Aaaargh!! This is most unsatisfactory. We came to AIG — that’s Answers in Genesis — because we were expecting answers. Instead, we find only mysteries. What good is Genesis if it gives us faulty information? If pre-Flood geographical descriptions are useless, what else in Genesis may be wrong? One may as well be a Darwinist.
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