Eden

Eden, Garden of Eden [Hebrew: gān ‘eden “garden of pleasure”, Sumerian: edin “desert”, “steppe”], religious studies  a non-localised idyllic garden of pleasure equated with paradise. According to the Bible, God placed Adam and Eve in Eden and then drove them out when they disobeyed him. A cherubim with a flaming sword guarded the way back to the garden (Genesis 3). The garden, which is only a small part of Eden (no man has ever seen it in its entirety), was described in the Bible as an oasis in the desert, covered by lush vegetation and trees (including the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).

According to Jewish tradition, it was located in the very center of the world. The huge Eden is supposed to be divided into a lower earthly garden and a higher heavenly garden symbolising spiritual pleasures. It is a posthumous residence of the righteous to whom God shall explain the meaning of the Torah. The tree of life grows in the middle of the heavenly garden, and sources of paradisal rivers (including Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates) come from its roots, flowing around and irrigating the entire world. The legendary entrance to Eden, supposedly located in Equatorial Africa, was to be discovered by Alexander the Great.

Jews believe that once the Messiah comes, the way to Eden will be open and the Messiah will read them the Torah, written in multi-coloured fire. Some believed that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, on the fertile lowland between the Euphrates and the Tigris. Eden symbolises the original undistorted state of the relationship between men, God and nature, destroyed by the fall of our first parents. The expulsion from Eden was seen by biblical prophets as a metaphor of the impending judgment upon the nations (e.g. Tyre and Egypt), and the judgment on the Day of the Lord; the garden itself was seen as a promise and prediction of the rebirth of Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

The content of this entry has been prepared on the basis of the source materials provided by the Polish Scientific Publishers (PWN)

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