Where is the Garden of Eden?

Where is the Garden of Eden?

Nobody knows where the Garden of Eden was located. Nobody has found the Garden of Eden. Any report that claims otherwise is simply bogus.

We read about the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:8-14:

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

The first problem in locating the Garden is “in the east.” East of what? East from where? The phrase is too vague to give us any good information. Probably east of Israel, but how far east? Is that the eastern part of Israel? Is that somewhere in Jordan? Saudi Arabia? Iraq? India? Nobody knows.

We do have more clues, though. A river flowed out of the Garden. We don’t know the name or location of that river, but we do know that it broke into four different rivers or streams after leaving the Garden:

  1. The Pishon
  2. The Gihon
  3. The Tigris
  4. The Euphrates

The Pishon

The Pishon has never been identified. Some have suggested that it wasn’t a large river, but a smaller stream. We do know that it wound through the entire land of Havilah, so it couldn’t have been very small. Unfortunately, we don’t know where Havilah was, either.

The Gihon

The Gihon has never been identified. Was it big? Small? We don’t know. We know where Cush is: today it’s known as Ethiopia. Many Ethiopians believe that the Gihon is the Abay River, also known as the Blue Nile. If they’re right, that information might be helpful. Of course, Ethiopia is a long, long way south from Israel.

The Tigris

We can locate a modern-day river known as the Tigris. It originates in Turkey, flows between Turkey and Syria, and into Iraq. Modern-day Baghdad sits next to the Tigris. Now, it’s possible that the modern-day Tigris and the ancient Tigris are the same river, but it’s not something we can simply assume to be true. Why? Because of the Great Flood. The land may have changed during the flood. If so, today’s Tigris may not be the one mentioned in Genesis 2.

Another clue is that the Tigris is mentioned one more time in the Bible: in Daniel 10:4:

On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

Daniel’s vision occurred while he was standing next to the Tigris. Where was Daniel at the time? He was a captive in Babylon, which is in modern-day Iraq.

The Euphrates

As with the Tigris, we also have a modern-day Euphrates. It seems likely that it’s the same as the ancient river, but it may not be. Today’s Euphrates, like the Tigris, flows from eastern Turkey through Syria and Iraq.

While we’re pretty certain that the Garden of Eden was in the middle east, probably somewhere east of Israel and probably in northern Iraq or in Turkey, that’s about as close as we can get. Tracking the exact location of the Garden is virtually impossible. We have no idea how large the Garden was, so we can only suggest an approximate location in a large area. Was the garden hundreds of miles across? Was it the size of a football field? Was it shaped like a square, or was it long and skinny like many towns located along rivers? We simply don’t have that information.

Thanks for the question, Lee!

Can Christians Eat Pork?

It’s okay for Christians to eat pork. Why wouldn’t it be okay?

Some suggest that because the ancient Israelites were forbidden by God to eat pork, Christians are to avoid pork as well. That this is nonsense should be obvious to everyone, as Christians are not Israelites. Unfortunately, many preachers and teachers are teaching nonsense.

It seems that in the beginning, people only ate plants. After the great flood, God said this in Genesis 9:3:

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

So pigs were definitely on the menu. The command to not eat pork came later, and is recorded in Leviticus 11:7-8:

“…the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses…”

That’s pretty clear. Let’s make sure we’re reading this verse in its original context…to whom was this instruction given? Go back a few verses to verse 1:

“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites…””

That’s very clear. God told Moses and Aaron to pass the word to the Israelites about not eating pork (and other things). Noah and his family were allowed to eat pork, so there’s obviously nothing wrong with using them as food. God had a specific reason for telling the ancient Israelites to not eat pork, but it wasn’t because pigs are bad. Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, and have never been under the Mosaic Law. God didn’t tell the Chinese to avoid pork. He didn’t give these instructions to Babylonians, or Ethiopians, or Canadians. These instructions were given as part of a covenant (agreement) between God and the ancient Israelites. They have never applied to anyone else.

That’s not all, though. These instructions no longer apply to Jews, either. How do we know this? Because we read it clearly in several New Testament passages. Look at Mark 7:14-19. Take note of the last part:

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)

That’s abundantly clear. Jesus – the Son of God, a Jew, and a man who never sinned – declared all foods clean. This was obviously a difficult idea for His disciples, whose culture had forbidden pork for around 1500 years. Simon Peter needed a bit more convincing, which we see in Acts 10. He was given a vision by God, in which he saw all kinds of animals…including those formerly considered unclean. God told him to eat, and Peter refused, saying that he had never eaten anything unclean. God’s response? Do not call anything impure that God has made clean. This was a two-fold message for Peter. The first and most obvious part of the message is that Peter could eat whatever he wanted, which was a change from the laws of Judaism. The second part of the message is that there is no difference in God’s eyes between Jews and non-Jews. Peter was supposed to go and preach the gospel to Cornelius, and God was preparing him to see that non-Jews could receive the gospel and be saved, just as Jews could.

One more passage: 1 Timothy 4:1-5. The apostle Paul is teaching Timothy, a young pastor, telling him to make sure to point out the errors of false teachers. He gave Timothy a few examples, including instructions about food:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

There have always been people, like those in the Hebrew Roots movement, who work to convince others that they should obey the Mosaic Law. They are wrong. The only people who were ever expected to follow those laws were ancient Israelites. Those laws never applied to anyone else. Now that Jesus has come and made a New Covenant with everyone, the Mosaic Law has been fulfilled and has become obsolete. As we can see from the verses above, Jesus (a Jew) taught Peter (a Jew) and Paul (a Jew) that pork could be eaten, declaring all foods clean. Anyone who says otherwise is contradicting Jesus. That’s something I’m unwilling to do.

God says that it’s okay to eat pork. One might have personal reasons for not eating pork, of course. We’re free to eat pork, but that doesn’t mean we must. It means that those who teach that God prohibits His people from eating pork are teaching contrary to Scripture.

Some believe they can win God’s favor and gain eternal life by following the laws of the Old Testament. Among these are groups like those in the Hebrew Roots movement, some Seventh-Day Adventists, and so on…but this is a misunderstanding. We are not saved by following the law, but by the grace of God through faith.

Where’s the Proof that Heaven Exists?

Bob wants to know why we humans believe that, after we die, we would be sent to a place based on what we did when we lived. He wants proof that Heaven and Hell exist.

We have no proof that Heaven or Hell exist, of course. We have some evidence, but not proof like “2 x 2 = 4” kind of proof. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t believe in Heaven and Hell, of course…only that we can’t prove they exist by scientific methods. After all, as the saying goes: you can’t weigh a chicken with a yardstick. How would one go about proving that Heaven or Hell exist? Certainly not by mere observation. We can only suggest that they may exist using logic.

Some suggest that we ourselves are evidence for Heaven and Hell. We seem to have a built-in understanding that justice exists…that complaining about the bad things that happen means something, as if things are not as they should be. This appears to be more than simple personal preference. Nobody says simply, “I don’t care for injustice,” as if injustice is merely less preferable than justice. It’s more of a sense of the way things “ought” to be. From where we do get this “ought”? If justice exists, rather than only mindless and meaningless life and death in an automatic world, then someone outside of the world must provide it. If the demand for justice is a universal human trait, doesn’t that imply that God exists, and that we understand that He SHOULD make things right? It seems a reasonable conclusion.

In addition to our cries for justice, we also seem to have a built-in hunger that this life can never fill. CS Lewis wrote about it this way:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

He’s not alone in this observation, of course. Others have written similar things over the years. I would suggest (without proof, certainly) that every desire we have is evidence that God exists, and that there is a life after this life, and that we can find justice and fulfillment there. We get thirsty, so we drink. The problem is that we get thirsty again. There’s no reason, on the surface, to think that our cravings for food and water and sex have anything to do with some supreme being outside the universe…but we also crave truth, and beauty, and knowledge, and self-fulfillment. None of those things can be tested scientifically, and there’s no strictly physical explanation for them. That’s why Jesus said that He would provide living water that would finally satisfy our thirst once and for all. It’s a metaphor, clearly…but the implication of the metaphor is that our ‘thirsts’ are something we can’t satisfy on our own. We need someone to provide that fulfillment, and Jesus is that someone. That also seems like a reasonable conclusion.

What do you think? Is it possible that hunger, thirst, our sex drive, loneliness, and our desire for beauty and self-actualization have their ultimate fulfillment in God?

As for why we believe there’s an afterlife, and why our actions here might affect it, I couldn’t say. Certainly I’ve seen no rational materialistic explanation for it. Maybe it’s because it’s true, and that God creates all of us with some rudimentary understanding that our actions have consequences, that justice will one day be done, and that all of our hungers might finally be fulfilled. I like the question.

Thanks for asking, Bob.

Prophets in the Bible

Should Christians follow the 10 commandments? Law vs grace. Are Christians under law?

Please let me know if I’ve missed any prophets.

List of prophets in the Bible
Old Testament
Abraham Genesis 20:7
Moses Deuteronomy 34:10, Hosea 12:13
Miriam Exodus 15:20
Aaron Exodus 7:1
“A prophet” Judges 6:8
Deborah Judges 4:4
Samuel 1 Samuel 3:20, 9:9
Gad 1 Samuel 22:5, 2 Samuel 12:25, 2 Chronicles 29:25
Nathan 2 Samuel 7:2, Ps. 51, 2 Samuel 12:24, 1 Kings 1, 2 Chronicles 29:25
Ahijah 1 Kings 11:29, 1 Kings 14
Old Prophet in Bethel 1 Kings 13
Man of God from Judah 1 Kings 13
Jehu 1 Kings 16
Balaam 2 Peter 2:16
Elijah 1 Kings 18, 1 Kings 21, 2 Chronicles 21:12
Prophets of Baal 1 Kings 18
Elisha 1 Kings 19:15, 2 Kings 3-7
“A Prophet” 1 Kings 20:12
Micaiah 1 Kings 22
Zedekiah and 400 false prophets in the courts of King Jehosaphat 1 Kings 22
At least 100 “Sons of the Prophets” 1 Samuel 10, 19:20, 1 Kings 18:4, 2 Kings 1-5, 9
Jonah Jonah, 2 Kings 14:23
Isaiah 2 Kings 19 & 20
Shemaiah 2 Chronicles 12:15
Iddo 2 Chronicles 12:15
Zachariah ben-Iddo Ezekiel 5:1, Zechariah 1:1
Azariah 2 Chronicles 15 & 28:9
Jehaziel 2 Chronicles 20:14
Zachariah ben-Jehoida 2 Chronicles 24:19
“A prophet” 2 Chronicles 25:15
Hulda 2 Chronicles 34:22, 2 Kings 22:14
Jeremiah 2 Chronicles 36:12, Jeremiah 1:5, 26:7, Jeremiah 29
Haggai Ezra 5:1, 6:14, Haggai 1:1
Noadiah – false prophetess Nehemiah 6:14
“The Prophetess” – Isaiah’s Wife? Isaiah 8:1ff
Hannaniah and other false prophets Jeremiah 26:11, Jeremiah 28
Shemaiah – false prophet Jeremiah 29:27
 
New Testament
John the Baptist Matthew 11:9
Jesus Matthew 13:57, Luke 1:76, Luke 24:19
Zacharias Luke 1:67
Anna Luke 2:36
Agabus and other prophets from Jerusalem Acts 11:27, 13:1, 21:9
Bar-Jesus (Elymas) – false prophet Acts 13:6
Judas Acts 15:32
Silas Acts 15:32
“The Holy Prophets” Ephesians 3:5
Cretan prophet Titus 1:12
Jezebel – false prophetess Revelation 2:20
2 Apocalyptic prophets Revelation 11:3-10
The False Prophet Revelation 16:13, 19:20

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Name Meanings in the Bible

A lot of people have written and asked for a list of the meanings of the names of people in the Bible. Most of them come from readers of Name Changes in the Bible, one of the most popular GodWords articles. So: you asked for it, you’ve got it. Keep in mind that many names found in the Bible are not translated in the Bible, and that we often rely on translations of the name from other sources.

This list is, of course, incomplete. I mean, just look at how short it is. We’re just getting started. If you can add a name and meaning to it, just use the form at the bottom of the page and let me know.

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Name meanings in the Bible
Name Language Meaning Notes
Abba Chaldee Father In the Bible, Abba is a name applied to God three times, all in the New Testament.
Abda Hebrew Servant of Jehovah There are two Abdas in the Bible:

  1. The father of Adoniram
  2. The son of Shammua
Abel Hebrew Breath The second son of Adam and Eve, Abel’s name may reflect the shortness of his life.
Daniel Hebrew My judge is God There are three Daniels in the Bible:

  1. Daniel the Prophet
  2. The second son of King David and Abigail, also known as Kileab
  3. A leader of the Jews and descendant of Ithamar who returned from Babylon with Ezra
Elijah Hebrew My God is Yahweh There are four Elijahs in the Bible:

  1. Elijah the Prophet
  2. The The son of Jeroham and a clan leader
  3. A man who married and divorced a foreign wife
  4. Another man who married and divorced a foreign wife
Elisha Hebrew My God is Yahweh This is the same name as Elijah.
Enoch Hebrew Dedicated There are two Enochs in the Bible:

  1. The son of Cain
  2. The father of Methusaleh, descendant of Seth, who did not die
Hosea Hebrew Yahweh is salvation Hosea is a Hebrew name, a variant form of Hoshe’a, which was Joshua’s name before Moses changed it.
Jesus 16 Languages Yahweh is salvation Jesus is a transliteration of Iesous, which is a Greek form of the Aramaic Yeshu’a, which is a shortened form of Yehoshu’a. This is the same name as Joshua.
Joshua Hebrew Yahweh is salvation Joshua is the same name as Hosea and Jesus.
Jotham Hebrew Yahweh is perfect There are three Jothams in the Bible:

  1. The king of Judah, son of Uzziah
  2. The son of Caleb and Jahdai
  3. The son of Gideon
Nehemiah Hebrew Yahweh Comforts There are three Nehemiahs in the Bible:

  1. Cupbearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia. Governor of Judea, son of Hakaliah, for whom the biblical book Nehemiah is named, who led the Israelites back from exile in Babylon
  2. Son of Azbuk, a district governor who helped the exiles rebuild Jerusalem
  3. Another of the exiles returning to Jerusalem
Simeon Hebrew To hear There are three Simeons in the Bible:

  1. The second son of Jacob and Leah and head of one of Israel’s 12 tribes
  2. A devout man who blessed Jesus as a child
  3. Simeon Niger, a prophet and teacher who helped ordain Saul and Barnabas
Simon Greek To hear Simon is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Shimon or Simeon. There are nine Simons in the Bible. They are described differently in Scripture, to tell them apart:

  1. Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples
  2. Jesus’ brother
  3. A Pharisee
  4. Simon the Zealot, another of Jesus’ apostles
  5. Simon the Leper, who owned the home where a woman anointed Jesus’ feet
  6. Simon Iscariot, father of Judas Iscariot
  7. Simon the Cyrene, who was forced to carry Jesus’ cross
  8. Simon the Sorcerer
  9. Simon the Tanner

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Jesus in Every Language

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

While Christianity began in first-century Israel, it quickly spread around the known world. Today, there are approximately 2,180,000,000 Christians living in every country in the world. Around 6,500 languages are spoken in the world today.

One of the most popular articles on GodWords is What Does Jesus Mean?. The article gets a lot of comments requesting the meaning of Bible names, so I thought it was time to begin a list of Jesus’ name in different languages. This list will probably never be complete, but people have been asking for it anyway.

If you speak in languages other than English and have an addition or correction, please send me a message using the form at the bottom of this page.

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Jesus in every language
Language Jesus’ Name
Afrikaans Jesus
Albanian Jezu
Amharic የሱስ
Arabic يسوع
Armenian Հիսուսը
Azerbaijani İsa
Basque Jesus
Belarusian Ісус
Bengali যীশু
Bosnian Isuse
Bulgarian Исус
Catalan Jesus
Cebuano Jesus
Cherokee Tsisa
Chichewa Yesu
Chinese (Simplified) 耶稣
Chinese (Traditional) 耶穌
Corsican Ghjesù
Croatian Isus
Czech Ježíš
Danish Jesus
Dutch Jezus
English Jesus
Esperanto Jesuo
Estonian Jeesus
Filipino Jesus or Hesus
Finnish Jeesus
French Jesus
Frisian Jezus
Galician Xesús
Georgian იესო
German Jesus
Greek Ιησούς
Gujarati ઇસુ
Haitian Creole Jezi
Hausa Yesu
Hawaiian Iesu
Hebrew ישוע
Hindi यीशु
Hmong Yexus
Hungarian Jezus
Icelandic Jesus
Igbo Jesus
Indonesian Yesus
Irish Íosa
Italian Gesù
Japanese イエス
Javanese Gusti Yesus
Kannada ಜೀಸಸ್
Kazakh Иса
Khmer ព្រះយេស៊ូវ
Korean 예수
Kurdish (Kurmanji) Îsa
Kyrgyz Ыйса
Lao ພຣະເຢຊູ
Latin Iesus
Latvian Jezus
Lithuanian Jezus
Luxembourgish Jesus
Macedonian Исус
Malagasy Jesosy
Malay Yesus
Malayalam യേശു
Maltese Ġes
Maori Ihu
Marathi येशू
Mongolian Ecyc
Myanmar y shayu s nyya
Nepali येशू
Norwegian Jesus
Pashto عیسي
Persian عیسی
Polish Jezus
Portuguese Jesus
Punjabi ਯਿਸੂ
Romanian Iisus
Russian Иисус
Samoan Iesu
Scots Gaelic Íosa
Serbian Исусе
Sesotho Jesu
Shona Jesu
Sindhi عيسي
Sinhala යේසුස් වහන්සේ
Slovak Ježíš
Slovenian Jezus
Somali Ciise
Spanish Jesus
Sundanese Yesus
Swahili Jesu
Swedish Jesus
Tajik Исо
Tamil இயேசு கிறிஸ்து (Yesu Christu)
Telugu యేసు
Thai พระเยซู
Turkish Îsa
Ukrainian Ісусе
Urdu یسوع
Uzbek Iso
Vietnamese Chúa Giêsu
Welsh Iesu
Xhosa UYesu
Yoruba Jesu
Zulu UJesu

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Jesus in Every Language

The Six Days of Creation in Genesis 1

At the beginning of the Bible we see an account of the creation of the universe. Here is the order of creation as outlined in the first chapter of Genesis:

Day One

Light

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.

Day Two

Separating the Waters

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.

Day Three

Plants

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the third day.

Day Four

Sun, Moon, and Stars

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the fourth day.

Day Five

Fish and Birds

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the fifth day.

Day Six

Land Animals and Humans

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.

Day Seven

Rest

On the seventh day, God rested…not because He was tired, but because His work had been completed.

There’s more to the story, of course. Genesis 1 isn’t simply an account of creation, but the start of God’s relationship with us. He created us, and we were good. He loves us like a perfect father, and wants us to know Him.