In Search of Eden
Assuming the Torah’s account of the Garden of Eden is literal: I’m wondering where the Garden was located, whether it exists anywhere in the world today, and if Mankind will ever return to the Garden.
The Torah’s account of Creation, the Garden of Eden, and the story of Adam and Eve surely has many levels of simultaneous meaning, including the symbolic, metaphorical and esoteric. It would also be reasonable to assume that there is a literal level of meaning as well.
Thus, the Torah’s seemingly geographical description of Eden should offer at a least a general indication of its location, which appears to be Mesopotamia: “And a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it separated and became four heads. The name of one is Pishon; that is the one that encompasses all the land of Havilah…And the name of the second river is Gihon; that is the one that encompasses all the land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Hidekel (Tigris); that is the one that flows to the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Prat (Euphrates).” (Gen. 2:10-14)
This indicates that the Garden of Eden was generally in the Middle East, and possibly near the very fertile region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Interestingly, our sources teach that
This raises an intriguing question. While it’s understandable that
One possible answer is that
This is comparable to the Jews receiving the Torah outside of Israel, where all their needs were miraculously provided for, such that if they had thereby perfected themselves in that realm they would have entered the Land of Israel in a state of eternal redemption.
However, Adam and Eve failed the task and trial of self-effected perfection and were banished from Eden. This initiated the much more circuitous route to redemption, to the return to Eden and then to the elevated spiritual state of the Holy Land, which humanity is still traversing.
After banishing them,
Accordingly, this revolving, sword-like, spinning ring of fire placed a portal of death between Mankind and Eden. And from then on the metaphysical plane of Eden, which had been infused in an earthly location, was removed from the physical realm, leaving its former place nothing other than ordinary, mundane geography. For this reason, “Eden” is not to be found anywhere in the world today.
So where is Eden?
It was removed to the other side of the revolving, sword-like, spinning ring of fire – i.e., on the other side of death. And that is the spiritual realm we call Heaven, or Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden. It is to this spiritual realm that the souls of the righteous enter to dwell until the time of Resurrection, when perfected souls will be removed from Eden and return to perfected bodies that are brought to life in the Holy Land, as was Mankind at its inception.