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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Friday, March 13, 2009
What If?
By now you have probably heard of the archaeological dig at Gobekli Tepe; if not, Google it, and read all about it.

I just finished reading a week old liberal article in the UK Mail Daily (H/T: Church Leader Links). Though the article is intended to generate hype for the writer's own up and coming conspiracy-themed novel, and though you have to stomach a lot of speculations dressed up as conclusions - yet, the article was interesting because it came with a lot of pictures.

For those of you who don't want to click through - Gobekli Tepe is an (est.) 11,000 year old temple, complete with carved monoliths depicting animals etc. - this from a time period that "experts" have described as, pretty much, ultra-primitive - no wheel, no written language, no farming, no agriculture - which in itself calls us to question pretty much everything that has been speculated about the roots of civilization as handed down to us by those experts our current experts regarded as expert.

What is especially intriguing about the site, apart from its (apparent) age and how that thrashes a whole bunch of sacred cows - is the location. This is pretty much around the place we expect to find the "Garden of Eden."

I found it interesting at least. I do hope that they find some carvings of dinosaurs too, for obvious reasons.

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posted by Daniel @ 11:10 AM  
15 Comments:
  • At 7:07 PM, March 15, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    I only skimmed the article (you're the only long-winded internetling I can tolerate).

    Interesting, but you know, we have no reason to believe we have any basis for an opinion on where Eden was.

     
  • At 9:15 PM, March 15, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    The Tigris-Euphrates river system is mentioned in Genesis 2 as being rivers that flowed out from Eden. Both rivers join in Iraq and empty into the persion gulf, but they flow out of Turkey (beginning in the mountains about 50 miles North of Gobleki Tepe). If Eden was where scripture says it was, and if these rivers are still flowing out of the same source, then Gobleki Tepe is within reasonable hiking distance of Eden, if it isn't actually within the borders of Eden.

    We certainly can't be sure exactly where Eden was, but we can ball park it pretty well I think. The course of a river might change over the centuries, but the source from which it flows wouldn't change - so knowing that these rivers flowed out of Eden - we know we are in the ball bark looking at that region in Turkey.

    The impression I get from scripture is that the Garden of Eden was located in the land of Eden, but that the land of Eden was much larger (i.e. not limited to) the garden itself. Thus, when Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they weren't necessarily driven out of Eden (per se) - just out of the Garden that was in Eden. They would have likely remained in Eden afterwards, just not in the Garden.

    I agree that we have no reason to believe we have any basis for an opinion on where the Garden in Eden was, but I am not willing to regard the General location of Eden as unknowable. I mean, c'mon, both the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers flow out of Turkey...

    I hope I am not missing something.

     
  • At 10:16 AM, March 16, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    I think you're missing something big: the flood. Noah and family disembark from the ark (hey, that's poetry!) and have no idea where they are. The earth has just undergone a catastrophic event that has changed the landscape dramatically. Lakes and riverbeds are filled in, hills are leveled, and lakes, rivers, and hills appear where none were before. Nothing is the same.

    If the Tigris and Euphrates of today are the Tigris and Euphrates of Genesis, then we know almost exactly where Eden was. But I don't think we know that.

    And I'm not the only nut who says so. I read about this somewhere ...

     
  • At 10:24 AM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    There is nothing more satisfying than having all my thinking over-ruled by inescapable logic.

    Thanks for the reminder sensei.

    Okay... We do have the whole flood thing to throw water on my fire. But if there were no flood, you would have to agree, I was doing some pretty good kung fu.

     
  • At 11:04 AM, March 16, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    Yeah, sorry about that.

    By the way, that other nut is here.

     
  • At 11:41 AM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I wonder if there is any possibility that Moses was using known post-flood landmarks to point to the pre-flood Eden? I mean if that is not possible, then so be it, but unless it is an impossibility, I couldn't write it off until I was sure.

     
  • At 11:48 AM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Not that I would really argue the case... just... I don't know.

     
  • At 2:28 PM, March 16, 2009, Blogger Jim said…

    "I wonder if there is any possibility that Moses was using known post-flood landmarks to point to the pre-flood Eden? I mean if that is not possible, then so be it, but unless it is an impossibility, I couldn't write it off until I was sure."

    I think that is definitely a credible assumption.

     
  • At 9:38 PM, March 16, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    Daniel, if you can give me a reason to believe that, other than "wouldn't that be cool," I'll consider it. It is highly unlikely that there would have been any post-flood landmarks to go by. And I can't think of any reason God would want us to know where Eden was, but I can think of at least one reason he would want to hide it from us. Kind of like the Ark of the Covenant--we would do nothing good with it. It would become an object of idolatry. It's bad enough we know where Bethlehem is!

    Word verification: antle. v. to grow antlers.

     
  • At 7:31 AM, March 17, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    David,

    I can't give myself a concrete reason, so I doubt I could muster a good reason -even for you.

    When Moses spoke of where the ark came to rest, he did speak of it in terms of the local geography. In Genesis 2, when Moses says that the Lord planted a garden "in the east, in Eden", that has to mean something. East is a direction. Moses' hearers could have looked to the sun rise and said, according to Moses, Eden is in that direction. Now east goes all the way around the world until somewhere on the other side it becomes more efficient to say west than it is to say east - so we can conclude that wherever Eden was, it was (at the very least) east of where they were, and not west.

    How far east? Well, I would expect only as far as people were aware of; which I suspect to be within the "cradle of civilization", if you will.

    Given that sort of scope, the first a biblical observation, the second a rational, but still speculative, presumption, it does place Eden in the middle east somewhere.

    Yet the area where the Tigris and Euphrates spring isn't really east of where Moses was, it would have been north.

    Which is only to say that we can guess-timate a very large general idea of where Eden was. Certainly east of, say Israel, and not north, south, or west of it. That sort of cuts out a strip of earth that goes from Israel, through Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, all the way to China.

    What do you think David, do you think that when Moses described Eden as being in the east, he meant, that prior to the flood, although there was not a single other reference point on the whole globe, there being but two people living on it, and they living in the garden in Eden - that Moses chose to describe the only landmark and reference point on the (then) earth as being in the (then) east? I find -that- a little awkward. In order for Eden to be in the east, someone or something had to be west of it.

    If however, Moses is saying that Eden was east of where they presently were, which I think is the only fair reading here, then we are left with that strip of land I described above, with closer kingdoms being more likely than further ones. Iraq then, doesn't sound impossible.

    I wouldn't die on this hill though - I just say that I personally cannot write off these things just because there was a flood. Moses is speaking using points of reference, and since the only point of reference before the flood is Eden, you can't say that Eden was in the (then) east, you can only say that Eden was in the (now) east.

    Yet I haven't given it much thought, so if you have a torpedo for this line of thought, I will gladly accept it. I prefer to be convinced one way or the other - and in spite of the flood, I hear Moses saying that the Lord planted a Garden in the east, and my ability to reason insists that if that Garden is the only reference point in the whole pre-flood world, then the directional reference (east) must be for now, and not then, for in order for Eden to be in the east, it must be east of something or someone else.

    Let me know if I am gnawing a dry bone here.

     
  • At 7:46 PM, March 17, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    I can't say you're wrong, or that Iraq is impossible. I just think your reasons are shaky.

    As for the eastward location of Eden, your theory is plausible. I prefer to think of the immediate context of "east":

    Genesis 2:7, "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed."

    As I see it, "east" is likely in relation to where Adam was created, like so:

    7 God created Adam, 8 and then planted a garden east of there, in Eden.

     
  • At 9:19 PM, March 17, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    David, Since God created the Garden before He created Adam, if I understand you right, you are suggesting that God created the Garden east of where he eventually intended to create Adam? That is, God creates a Garden in the east, then travels west to where the soil is exceptionally loamy (ideal for man making), creates Adam, then carries him back into the east in order to place him in the garden...

    That's trippy man. ;)

    I lay the blame for my presuppositions soundly at the feet of my Sunday School teacher and his limited flannelgraphing abilities. I suppose my earliest instruction in the matter pictured a flannelized Adam being created out of flannel earth - the same flannel earth as was used in the garden previously. In fact, the flannel tree of good and evil was right there on the flannal graph - so clearly, I have a deep investment in my childhood that I must be protecting.

    I will think your thoughts after you have thought them.

     
  • At 8:58 AM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    Well, since God is omnipresent, he wouldn't actually have to travel east or west.

    Omnipresence is hard to flannelgraph. Maybe if you just think of God as the Sunday school teacher, telling his flannelgraph story with the flannelboard at the north end of the classroom. He simply turns toward the board, peals Adam off the left side of the board and sticks him on the right with the little cutout tree of life. These things are easy when you're God.

    Or you could build a whole Lego scene and use little Lego people ...

     
  • At 9:57 AM, March 18, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I agree, since God is omnipresent, if He created Adam in the west, He Himself would not have to travel, per se, to the east to place Adam there - it would just be one of those whirlwind things - like with Phillip.

    We could stuff the flannelized Adam into a leaf blower and shoot him at the other side of the flannel board. I wonder if God placed Adam west of the Garden to create Eve, then brought them both back? Adam was already naming the animals by then, so he would no longer have been in the west...

    Either way, this is one of those passages that some people are far more certain about than they ought to be, and just as many are more uncertain than they could be. I don't think we will find Eden, but if we do, I expect it is somewhere near wherever we find evidence for civilization that predates the flood. <cough>

     
  • At 10:39 AM, March 18, 2009, Anonymous David Kjos said…

    I'm quite sure you're correct about that.

     
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