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Genesis 2:8 NASB95

The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

Genesis 2:8 ESV

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Was the Garden of Eden in the West "facing the East of Eden", or was it planted "in the East of Eden?"

I've been studying the biblical theme of people moving East to West, from the world to God's presence (which dwelled in the West). The temple faced towards the East, and it had a similar procession of East to West as you go from the court of the Gentiles to the Most Holy Place. That's the reason I'm asking this question in the first place.

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The account that seems most clear is this one:

"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed." Genesis 2:7 A.V.

Eden was a named area (named by God), and at the east side of it, God planted a garden. This garden was in the eastern part of the land of Eden. Here is an insightful comment on the place where God placed the first man:

"First, the place was in Eden. Next, what distinguished it was the planting of Jehovah Elohim. 'There he put the man whom he had formed.' It was not simply Eden. Eden was larger than the garden. The garden was part of Eden. Eden was not the garden. The garden was in Eden. It was called The Garden of Eden, but it occupied the east only. Eden itself stretched to the north, south, east and west. This area was above and beyond the garden which Jehovah Elohim had planted 'Eastward in Eden', Genesis 2:8.

"...Here is an exact location. Here Jehovah Elohim chose to locate, and wrought to plant, the garden of Eden. The present location - even if it could be estimated since the Fall and after the universal destruction of the Flood, which it cannot - is immaterial." Creation, John Metcalfe, pp.93-94 & 98

Interestingly, verse 10 speaks of a river that went out of Eden, to water the garden, implying that the course of that river would be through Eden to the garden, exiting both Eden and the garden on the eastern boundary. From that river, four heads arose, to spread out into the world.

However, the reason you give for asking about east, or west, causes pause for thought. The same author (above) continues:

"The garden in which Adam had been put was eastward. Immediately such an aspect referred the man to the place from whence light breaks forth: from the East. As if to say daily, More light is to come." (Ibid. p. 99)

Another author writes:

"After Adam's banishment, the cherubs were settled at the east of the garden, which was at the east end of Eden. I see progress, here. The original planting of the garden was towards the east. Now at its extremity, is seen something...

In the cool of the day, the day in which man transgressed and the day in which he must, therefore, die; as the day wanes, as the created sun begins its descent towards darkness - then, God is in motion... The moving God first settles the cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden... The sun sinks into the west. And so it shall be through thirty nine books of scripture until, in the very last few words, does Malachi, the Messenger, prophesy thus - 'But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings' (4:2)...

But now [in the east of Eden] the cherubim preserve that single area of light - the area that represents future redemption. The kerubim wait for the rising of the sun in the east. They wait in Eden, the place of witness; the area of testimony." The Cherubim of Glory, Nigel Johnstone, pp. 20, 21 & 24, Belmont Publications, 2015

Yes, the biblical use of that word of direction - east - is full of spiritual meaning, very much so with the Temple of God. However, a new question would need to be asked to progress understanding of that. For this question, the answer is, "The garden was planted in the east of the land of Eden."

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Not "facing East" but "in the East." The region described is very large, so it did not "face" any certain direction as normal gardens might. If the story was written by Moses, then it was east of Sinai. If it was written in the days of the kings (as critical scholars believe), then it was east of Jerusalem. Either way, it was both "in the east" and "toward the east" but not "facing east."

In terms of its more precise location, we have this, a few lines earlier:

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which flows around the whole land of Hav′ilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphra′tes.

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The last two named rivers are well known, as is the location of Assyria. The above map is only one of many attempts at greater precision. The Jewish Encyclopedia summarizes the views of the 19th c. Lutheran scholar Franz Delitzsch:

The most ancient tradition, going back to Josephus and followed by most of the Church Fathers, makes Havilah equivalent to India, and the Pison one of its rivers, while Cush is Ethiopia and the Gihon the Nile. (see map for alternate location of Cush and Gihon) A very popular theory places Eden in Babylonia. Calvin made the Shaṭṭ al-'Arab—-formed by the union of the Tigris and Euphrates—-the river that "went out of the garden"; but it is now known that in ancient times the two rivers entered the Persian Gulf separately.

Whatever location the author had in mind, it was clearly "east of" the place where Genesis was written. It is too large an area to have "faced" any particular direction.

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  • Thanks for your answer. Where, may I ask, is the picture of the Near East showing a possible location for Eden from? Apr 16, 2023 at 22:17
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The Earth was pre-flood at the Creation of Eden, right?

My understanding is that the Earth was changed completely by the Flood, and the continents were formed by the Flood (and I have heard Christian geologists speaking about this). The entire planet as we now know it was different when God originally created it. The entire canopy around the atmosphere collapsed, before the Flood there had never been rain, because there was no need, the atmosphere was completely different. When Noah built the Ark no person had ever seen rain so what he did would have seemed insane to the onlookers. And we know how that story goes.

There are many things that have changed since the Creation of the Earth; all verifiable and referenced throughout the Bible, the fossil record, and geology all align. The truth has been manipulated and hidden from people to align with certain agendas; many people don't even believe in Creation or know about many of the hidden parts of our history, i.e. we are forced to study evolution theory in school which is a massive lie.

My dad was fascinated by God and science so he took us to hear all kinds of scientists who were Christian, and I had the opportunity to learn about how things work, but I'm no expert.

So by this logic, Eden being 'East' would be a null point, because all land would have been lost to the Flood waters. It wouldn't exist now.

But please don't take my word for it, do your own research and check out all the scriptures, look into creation science, and always investigate the sources of information.

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