Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rivers of Paradise Now Clinched?

There has recently appeared on a Christian website an article, “The Lost Rivers of the Garden of Eden”, that has taken virtually to its completion our own previous effort to make geographical sense of the riverine system described in Genesis chapter 2:10-14. ( The reader will find the major part of “The Lost Rivers of the Garden of Eden” in a previous post on this site, with some of its important maps even included; though it is recommended to enthusiasts to visit the site itself, in order to study all of the maps (including a satellite photo) presented there.
In our article, “The Location of Paradise” - which has for quite a long time now been situated at the popular Catholic Apologetics International site, there entitled “Paradise Found …” ( - we had reached the conclusion that the four named rivers of Genesis 2 had enframed, so to speak, the original Paradise, with two of the rivers, the ‘Euphrates’ and ‘Hiddekel’ (the latter identified with the Tigris) to the east, and two of the rivers, the ‘Pishon’ and ‘Gihon’, to the west.
We had followed Professor A. Yahuda (The Language of the Pentateuch in its Relation to the Egyptian, Oxford UP, 1930) in identifying the ‘Gihon’ with the Nubian Nile and the ‘Pishon’ with the northern extension of the Nile (the Egyptian Nile). We later, however, re-identified the ‘Pishon’ with a recently-discovered fossil river in Saudi Arabia.
But, whereas Professor Yahuda had concluded that Egypt was the location for the ancient Paradise, we had named Israel (Palestine) as the true site, based on (i) the many traditions (including biblical) that Israel was ‘the centre’ of the ancient world; (ii) the symmetry of the Divine Plan (Fall and Redemption); and also (iii) the geographical symmetry.
After that, however, things became a bit circular. We took it on faith that the un-named river of Paradise, which served as the source for the four named rivers, issued from Israel, specifically from the holy site of Jerusalem, but we were not able to take the necessary step of geographically and archaeologically pin-pointing this river and thereby showing how the riverine system could be generated from it. For that, we received a stiff rebuke (and probably quite justifiably so) from a writer for The Skeptical Review, Brett Palmer, who went so far as to call this unsupported claim of ours a “shocking assertion” (
The most that we had been able to say at that stage was that there had been such a pristine river, flowing from the site of Jerusalem. And we had suggested that the Gihon spring (same name as one of the primitive rivers) in Jerusalem is a vestige of it to this day.
Thankfully, the new article mentioned above has largely rectified the deficiency here using satellite photos to expose what it calls Paradise “ground zero”, and showing how the four rivers could have anciently linked to one source river in the approximate region of Israel. The course of the ancient rivers has since been diverted due to the Great Rift. One has to think that the author(s) of this article were well familiar with our own (though there is no cross-referencing to be found in the latter). For this article also makes the same identifications of the four rivers (the Pishon being the fossil river in Saudi Arabia); and has Jerusalem as the site for the Garden (though a traditional view, Israel is no longer chosen by would-be locaters of the ancient Paradise, who tend to favour Armenia, Turkey or Kuwait); and suggests that the Gihon Spring is a vestige of the ancient Paradise river.

If we now have a solid ground (zero) base for Paradise, in the real world, then truth-seeking people are going to have to start taking seriously an Adam and Eve once dwelling in that real place. No more hominoids, arising out of Africa, as our first ancestors.

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