The first mention of the garden of Eden is in Genesis 2:8: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward toward Eden, and there he put the man he had formed.” It is interesting to note that Adam was in the garden of Eden by himself, and then God later made woman (Genesis 2:18).

From what I have read and heard, the garden of Eden was paradise. The Lord God planted every tree that was pleasant to look at. These trees had edible food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was also there. This awesome river came out of Eden to water the garden. It appears to have run in four different directions or had four heads.

Where Was the Garden of Eden Located?

Scholars have many theories as to where the garden of Eden was located. Some say Mesopotamia was the location based on how the rivers flowed and their location.

The garden of Eden had rivers running through it, which has helped geologists and historians pinpoint its location even though it might not be the exact location. We know the hemisphere where the garden of Eden was, and we have pinned down the continents and maybe the countries.

Let’s get back to the rivers. Genesis 2:10 reads, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it was parted and became four heads.”  The first head was named Pison, and it encompassed the whole land of Havilah. There was gold, bdellium, and onyx stone (Genesis 2:12). Bdellium was used in perfume and sometimes medicines.

The name of the second river was Gihon. It went through the whole land of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is located in the North-Eastern part of Africa. However, scholars refer to Ethiopia as Cush and place its location near the Red Sea (also near Sudan).

The name of the third river is Hiddekel. It is often called the rapid Tigris. Tigris is located in the mountains of Armenia, not far from the fourth river Euphrates. Tigris went towards the east of Assyria or Iraq. This is where geography appears to be tricky. Scholars put the garden of Eden somewhere around 3000 B.C. Scientists put the Euphrates river somewhere near Iraq.

So, it’s easy to say that no one has pinned down the exact boundaries of the garden of Eden. Based on a map of Africa and its location to these other countries, it is difficult to say where the garden of Eden was located. We also must consider the great flood, sin entering the earth, and archaeological shifts. Genesis covers more time than any other book in the Bible—according to scholars, it covers more time than the combination of the other books of the Bible (The KJV Study Bible). We’re talking about 2400 years. Moses is said to be the author of Genesis and the next four books of the Bible. Together, these first five books are known as the Pentateuch.

Why Were Adam and Eve Cast Out of the Garden?

Most people, even those who are not Christians, are familiar with the fall of humanity in the garden. Genesis 2:9 tells us, “And out of the ground made the Lord God grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Later, in Genesis 2:16-16, God told the man that he could eat every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told Adam that day that he would surely die if he ate it.

In Genesis 3, the devil in the form of a serpent came and talked to the woman. He tempted the woman, saying God knows that “if you eat the fruit, you will not die, but your eyes will be open.” He then told the woman that if she ate the fruit, she would be a god—knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). The devil coaxed Eve into eating fruit, and she gave Adam the fruit to eat as well. When they had eaten the fruit, they knew that they were naked (Genesis 3:7). When God came looking for them, they hid. Their punishment for disobedience was to be expelled from the garden. This would also ensure that they do not eat of the tree of life and live forever without trying to atone for their sins.

What Were the Cherubim Who Guarded the Garden of Eden?

The cherubim who guarded the garden of Eden are a type of angel. They rank among the higher orders of angels. They are celestial attendants of God and constantly praise Him. Cherubim are fierce-looking and very large. From Ezekiel’s description in 10:9-15, they have four faces. They have the faces of a cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle. This description is also similar to the description given in Ezekiel 1. These are fierce beings, and there was no doubt that Adam and Eve would not even attempt to re-enter the garden of Eden. The sword was also flaming, so that is even scarier. It turned every way to keep anyone from eating from the tree of life.

It is also significant to note that the cherubim were placed east of the garden. Maybe this was the only way to enter the garden. It’s hard to say if there were bodies of water or maybe rivers covering the other sides. We do know that Scripture says in Genesis 2:8 that God planted a garden eastward in Eden.

I have often heard that angels come to deliver a message or execute judgment. They are very large and usually scare people to death when they see them. When angels have come to deliver a message, they usually have to say fear not. There is also mention of cherubims in Revelation 4:7-8.

What Did God Tell Adam and Eve Before They Left the Garden of Eden?

Before God sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, he made some declarations. Eve would experience pain during childbirth, and her desire would be for her husband (Genesis 3:16). Now, Adam had to till the ground, and work would be difficult (Genesis 3:17-19). Humanity has also been given a lifespan and will return to the ground at a particular time. Granted, Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5). Eventually, humanity’s life span was cut down (Genesis 6:3). It would have been forever had it not been for sin entering the earth. We are still eternal beings,  for we will pass from this life into the next.

God also gave Adam and Eve coats of skin to clothe them (Genesis 3:21). There was no mention of animals other than the serpent before this. I know that animals probably existed, but Adam and Eve may not have been consuming meat. After they left the garden, they would have to survive as best as they could.

We thank God for Jesus. God did have a plan for us. We can not dwell on the fall, but rest assured that God has a redemptive plan for humanity.

Further Reading:

Where Is the Garden of Eden?

What Do We Know about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

What Can We Learn from the Garden of Eden?

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Bkamprath

Dr. Sandra SmithDr. Sandra Hamer Smith is a Christian and wife to Sylvester Smith. She has one stepson, Greg. Smith lives and resides in Memphis, Tennessee. The University of Memphis alumnae has been in education for about 20 years after receiving the call to teach. Dr. Smith primarily teaches language arts. Prior to education, she worked in local and national television news for 13 years including positions as an overnight news anchor, reporter, and assignments editor at two local network affiliate stations. Smith was also a freelance correspondent for BET news. Dr. Smith has freelanced for the Tri-State Defender newspaper and Contempora magazine.  She is the author of the self-published novel GLORY…THE HAIR.  Smith is also a playwright and poet. The Tennessee native is a member of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Omicron Delta Kappa, The Golden Key International Honour Society, and Kappa Delta Pi.