There is a community in southern Iraq that is named by locals as the site of the Garden of Eden. There was even a tree there called the Adam tree. After years of conflict and the recent hostilities, the area that was purported to be the Garden of Eden is now a ruined mess. At one time the regime in Iraq thought they might make a tourist attraction of the town, but there is little to attract anyone now. Even the Adam tree is gone. Much of its current condition was the result of political opposition in the area, but war has ravaged it even further. The locals hope that now that hostilities have ended pilgrims might come to the area again. Whether or not this is the sight of Eden is debatable. What is certainly true is that we lost Eden long ago. In losing Eden we subjected ourselves to estrangement from God and from each other.

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Michael Shannon, Preaching September/October 2003