Ezekiel 28:12-13, the location of Eden

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

//In these verses, God reminds the Son of Man that he once walked in Eden. This Eden, says God, was on his “holy mount.” Ezekiel is not alone in this: the  myths of several early civilizations located an ancient paradise atop a great mountain to the north. But nowhere else in scripture is Eden located on any mountain, and this doesn’t seem to square with Genesis 2, where Eden is situated among four rivers: the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.

So where does Genesis place Eden? The Tigris and Euphrates are located in Mesopotamia. Gihon, says Genesis, flows “around the whole land of Cush,” which is Ethiopia, so perhaps Gihon is the Nile. Pishon is unknown, but strong tradition makes it the Ganges, in India. Huh?? We’re not exactly zeroing in.

What’s often missed in the Genesis story, though, is that Eden is not cradled within these four rivers but is the source of the rivers. They apparently flow from Eden over distances of thousands of miles. One might say their purpose is to water the entire known earth. In other words, everywhere is downhill from Eden!

Before splitting into four streams and tumbling down the mountain of God, the river feeds a garden. There, God walks. There, paradise waits for a better time, when God himself will again dwell with his people. There, we can imagine high above the plains, heaven and earth meet.

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