So far we've found:
1. There was no such place as 'Eden,' there was just a plain somewhere.
2. It was not 'eastward,' it was in antiquity, or long ago.
3. The great river mentioned, Euphrates, and other unknown rivers, are later
additions. There was just a river somewhere that had four branches.
4. An Immortal who was almost certainly not Yhwh planted a garden with an
orchard somewhere in or next to the plain.
5. The Immortal formed a man, then took him and put him into the garden to
cultivate it and guard it, for the benefit of the Immortal, not the man.
We need to consider three aspects of this event, assuming it occurred: the
Immortal, the human, and the location. Because there is constant interaction
between Immortal and humans in this story, we'll have to consider the first two
elements more or less together.
First, the Immortal. He must have been one of the last of their generations on this
planet, if the dating for the event in Genesis is even close to accurate, at about
4000 BC. We've seen that by then the Mesopotamian cultures were well
underway, having begun probably as far back as 8000 BC. They were firmly
established by 6000 BC and the land was filling up with villages, towns and even
cities by 4000 BC. Before 3000 BC the first cities were created, mainly along the
branches of the lower Euphrates. Erech, 50 miles up river from Ur, is said to have
had a population estimated at 50,000 by 3000 BC. Even Genesis accepts this
fact because Cain, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, left the land of 'Eden,' found
a wife elsewhere, had a son, called him Enoch (or Enos), and built a city named
after his son. This was not possible if Adam, Eve, and Cain were the only humans
on earth. The explanation is that this was not a creation of humans. It was what
modern scholars tell us had been going on; the transition from hunter gatherers
to settled agriculturalists. The Immortal was setting up a new agricultural
The Immortal would have had to find a place outside the Mesopotamian area to
start a new colony of people to do the work of producing food for him, to obey him
and become his subject people. The place he chose would have needed a
reasonably moderate climate, with fertile soil, capable of producing cereals, fruits,
nuts, seeds, and vegetables. It would also need to be able to support livestock:
cattle, sheep and goats. Next, it needed a good water supply, either a passing
river or if necessary, an irrigation system devolving from a river. The four heads
mentioned in Genesis may be four irrigation channels, or possibly tributaries of
a larger river conjoining somewhere, which would entail less work for the Immortal
in setting up the place.
Not all humans could be easily converted into agriculturalists. The Immortal in the
'Eden' story found this to be true. Adam and Eve did not follow instructions, and
both of them were dismissed from the garden and physical barriers set
up to prevent their re-entry. The project was a failure.
If you look at the map of western Europe in Chapter 5, I suggest you'll see a real
life example of this. The neolithic activity is crowded along the coast lines. I
believe this occurred because the incoming flow of agriculturalists from the east
pushed the earlier inhabitants westward, as the farmers moved into their territory.
These earlier humans were hunter-gatherers who needed much more space and
were a thinned out population. But they often dined on such food as pheasant,
oysters, and venison, all highly priced edibles for wealthy folk today. These
earlier people had a greater proportion of red-haired and RH negative blood
grouping. Their descendants, I suggest, are Basques, Bretons, Irish, Welsh,
Hebrideans, highland Scots, Orkney and Faeroe islanders. Bereft of their hunting
grounds they turned to the deep sea as fishermen, hunters of the sea. Cod
remains prove that to us, as cod is a deep sea fish. These people traded up and
down the west coast of Europe creating what modern scholars have called the
Megalithic route. They could not easily change from hunter gatherers to farmers.
Genesis 4 describes all this in simple terms. Eve gives birth first to Cain, and then
And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
All is not well between these two brothers. In Gen 4 we have a microcosm of the
plot in many a US 20th c. movie: the struggle between ranchers who were
cattlemen and settlers who were homesteaders - farmers:
Gen 4:3 - 5
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground
an offering unto Yhwh
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And
Yhwh had respect unto Abel and his offering
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth,
and his countenance fell.
Lamsa's Peshitta translation has 'was pleased' instead of 'had respect.'
Moffat's translation says 'And Cain was furious and downcast."
and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel
his brother and slew him.
The Immortal had to be of flesh and blood or something similar to need the fruits
of the ground and firstlings of the flock to eat, and therefore he had to be a real
physical being. This is confirmed by the events in Gen 3:8 - 9 (Torah translation)
They heard the sound of the Lord God (Yhwh Elohim) moving about in the garden
at the breezy time of day; and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God (Yhwh
Elohim) among the trees of the garden.
The Lord God (Yhwh Elohim) called out to the man and said to him, "where are
When the Immortal found that Cain had killed his brother the Immortal cursed
Cain saying he would be a fugitive and a vagabond. Cain replied this is more than
I can bear, you are driving me from you, and everyone who finds me will try to kill
me. This is further evidence that Adam, Eve, and Cain were not the only three on earth,
and shows us the writer(s) of the Genesis text knew it. The Immortal 'set a mark
upon Cain.' The Torah, Moffatt and Lamsa all use this phrase. I suggest this was
probably some form of what we would now call a tattoo. That would identify Cain,
but not his offspring.
17. And Cain went out from the presence of (the Immortal) and dwelt in the land
No one has ever been able to identify this land, and I suggest we have no need
to attempt it here.
This is not the only hunter-gatherer-to-agriculturalist transitional failure. In other
ancient literature we're told that the Immortals made various attempts to create
suitable humans from what they found pre-existing, before they established a
suitable, compliant, subject breed.
Here's the beginning of tablet 6 of the Enuma Elis, an Akkadian literary work
dating, it's said, to about 1800 BC in its original written form:
When Marduk hears the words of the gods,...
Opening his mouth, he addresses Ea
To impart the plan he had conceived in his heart:
"Blood I will mass and cause bones to be.
I will establish a savage, 'man' shall be his name.
Verily, savage-man I will create.
He shall be charged with the service of the gods
That they might be at ease!..."
Ea was a creator Immortal of the Akkadians. Marduk was his son, another great
Immortal who became the god of the city of Babylon. This is much too late to be
the creation of man, it has to be the creation of a suitable pliant, obedient human
which is what the Immortals needed. But back to Genesis.
Next we need to trace Cain's line of descent to see if we have a later fit into
historical times, in case this may help us in our search for the 'garden.' We have
a long way to go, with the early descendants lasting hundreds of years:
Enoch, Irad, Mehajael, Methusael, Lamech, Jubal.
But then Genesis switches to Adam and Eve bearing another son, Seth. The line
Seth, Enos, Caanan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah who
had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Shem's line continues:
Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah,
Gen 11:26 And Terah lived seventy years and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
11:28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the
Ur is second lowest city on the map:
At last we have reached historical times with Abram and the city of Ur. It was a
wealthy city. When 20th c AD archaeologists dug some of it up they found 14 room
private houses with paved courtyards and patios. Abram was a wealthy man:
Gen 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Abram had 318 retainers 'born in his own house.' He armed them to rescue Lot
his nephew from Lot's captors. By night Abram 'smote them' and 'brought back all
the goods, his brother Lot, and his goods and the women also and the people.'
Abram is thought to have lived in about 1900 -1800 BC and was possibly a
contemporary of Hammurabi ( 18th c BC). When Abram and his family lived in Ur
they were subjects of the powerful Immortal Nanna (Sin) the moon god. But in Gen,
11:31 we're told:
And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai
his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur
of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and
You'll find Haran on the map of Turkey in Chapter 4. It's in the extreme south and
west, just north of Syria. In Haran they would have been subjects of the same
Immortal, Nanna. Then a change occurs, Gen 12:1 - 2a:
Now Yhwh had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee.
And I will make of thee a great nation...
Gen 12: 5:
And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance
that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went
forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
The next verse tells us that the Canaanites were already there. Historically, it
seems they had apparently been there a long time and were descended from the
(This territory is mostly held by Israel and Jordan today. Amman is the principal
city in Jordan, with about one third of the total population). But back to the past:
Then there was a famine, and Abram 'went down into Egypt' where he met and
apparently stayed with the Pharaoh. Let's get some idea of the distances Abram
travelled, with all his retinue and possessions:
|Ur to Haran
|Haran to Canaan
|Canaan to Egypt
With all that he took with him, Abram would be lucky to travel 10 miles a day.
Experienced trade caravans, with camels, travelled 12 to 20 miles a day. (For more
discussion on this see my The Red Sea Crossing Chapter 2, the quotation
preceding the last paragraph).
A significant change occurs in Gen 17: 1b, 2b, and 5:
...the Lord appeared appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty
2b: And I will make my covenant between me and thee...
5: Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be
The words translated as 'the Almighty God' are actually El-Shadday, = El the one
of the mountain. (See my The Immortals Chapter 5 for more discussion on these
other Immortals in the Bible). El was the patriarch of the Immortals of the land of
Canaan. We have evidence in the Dead Sea Scrolls that Yhwh was one of El's
sons (The Immortals Ch 9). Abram has a name change because he is now living
in the territory of El and is now a subject of El.
My purpose in discussing the journey of Abram-Abraham is to show the
considerable distances the Hebrews could and did travel, and to show that they did
not confine themselves to the southern part of the near East. Further, it shows us
that Yhwh was not the Immortal involved in the "Eden' story, however translators
may manipulate the text. Now we need to consider the evidence for a specific
location, and we'll do that in the next chapter.