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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.






29 June 2006

The Garden of Eden


Q: Where is the Garden of Eden? Does anyone really know where it is? If so, how do they know it’s the Garden of Eden?

Garden of EdenEven though the Bible mentions the rivers it sat among (Genesis 2:10-14), no one knows exactly where it was. The garden itself no longer exists since whatever may have remained of it after the expulsion of Adam and Eve was certainly destroyed in the Flood. Even the rivers that are named may be totally different from those on the earth before the destruction of the flood. They may lie in the same general area, but they do not have a common source, as did those streams named in Genesis.

If you’re looking for Eden — or what has replaced it — you should be looking to Christ as your Savior. For in the resurrection, we will inhabit a new paradise even more excellent than the one from which our first parents were expelled.

Tree of LifeThe Tree of Life sat in the garden before the Fall, a promise of eternal bliss with the Father. When man sinned, God barred him from the tree, lest he live forever in evil.

However, Revelation notes a similar tree prepared for those who believe in the Lord. Jesus Himself promised, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (2:7)” Just as a river flowed from Eden, so the “river of the water of life” flows forth in the new kingdom and “on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. (22:1-2)”

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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