Religious Wisdom: The Untold Truth of the Garden of Eden

In Abrahamic religions, the Garden of Eden is also called jannāt ʿadni or Gardens of Perpetual Residence in the Quran and the Terrestrial Paradise or Garden of God in the bible.

Hello, Dear Readers and followers, welcome back to my new story, I hope all’s well. After Christianity, Islam is the most populous religion worldwide. Almost two billion people consider themselves Muslims. The two largest world religions are both monotheistic. Both consider the worship of many gods to be idolatry which is absolutely forbidden. Both religions rely on prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus and have a book as their main written source: the Bible for Christians and the Qur’an for Muslims.

The two religions also share a common origin. The Arabs, who were the first Muslims, descended from Ishmael, the son of Abraham. The Jews, who were the first Christians, also have Abraham as their father through his other son Isaac. Both Christianity and Islam see themselves as a religion of peace. Believers are urged to live justly and in peace. Prayer and almsgiving are therefore important to Christians as well as Muslims.

Today’s post is about the Garden of Eden which is one of the similarities but there are differences themselves. The Abrahamic religions Islam and Christianity have some beliefs on it.

I find this to be a very interesting topic based on different books and articles I have read. Today’s story is going to be a bit of a long one but I hope you stay for the full ride because it’s also a super interesting one!

Be Patience and Stay connected till the end.

The Spiritual & Signature Importance of Garden of Eden:

In Abrahamic religions, the garden of Eden is mentioned in both the Bible and Quran and there are different names in both Abrahamic religions Islam and Christianity. In the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam Adam and Eve were tossed out of the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit.

Christianity Perspective:

In Christianity, it’s called the Garden of Eden or Garden of God, also called the Terrestrial Paradise, is the biblical paradise described in Genesis 2–3 and Ezekiel 28 and 31. The Garden of Eden (from Hebrew Gan Eden) is described by the Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created by God and lived until they fell and were expelled.

The Bible says that God created man and woman and that he placed them in an ideal location for them: the Garden of Eden. After sinning, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden forever.

The Garden of Eden is the biblical earthly paradise created by God to be inhabited by his first human creation — Adam and Eve. Some claim that the name “Eden” derives from the Akkadian term edinu, which means ‘plain’.

God created Adam as the first man. After God saw the loneliness of Adam as “not good,” God caused a deep sleep on Adam and created Eve (the first woman) out of Adam’s rib as his helper (Genesis 2:20–23).

To properly understand what the garden is to the narrator of Genesis, it is important to discern its location, the characters playing roles in it, and what took place in it. All these contribute to our understanding of the biblical definition of the “Garden of Eden.”

God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, instructing the couple to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. A serpent deceived Eve into eating an apple, she convinced Adam to take a bite as well. God was angry with the couple for disobeying Him so they were banished.

This one-story supports the Gnostic narrative of creation more than the Christian version.

Let’s Look At Genesis

Here is the story from the King James Version of the Bible.

Man and Woman in the Garden. Then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God gave growth to every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food. And in the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2: 7–9 )

wait, there’s more.

And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2: 15– 17 )

In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. It’s crucial to the story.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3: 4–5 )

The serpent tells Eve that God is lying to keep them from having knowledge and becoming gods in their own right. The narrative everyone believes is that the serpent deceived Eve and tricked her into eating the fruit.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3: 6)

Eve recognized knowledge was a good thing, and the serpent had told her the truth. She decided to do this of her own volition.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3: 7)

After studying I noticed most people have different beliefs in Christianity about the location of The Garden of Eden. The actual location of Eden is disputed amongst different Christian scholars, but a number of them have concluded that a garden is an extraterrestrial place where the gods resided.

It is clear from the Bible that the Garden of Eden has an exact location, and it is not just a mythical location.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. (Genesis 2:8)

The location is associated with four rivers that are mentioned in the biblical text. The Gardens’ irrigation came from a river that flowed from the district of Eden. In the bible, they have flowed through Assyria, namely today’s Iraq. These are Euphrates, Tigris (Hiddekel), Pison, and Gihon. The exact location for Gihon and Pison is unknown. Gihon is associated with the land of Cus, which is located northeast of the Persian Gulf.

The water from the garden was the water source for the two great rivers: Tigris and Euphrates, which are well-known in ancient Mesopotamia for the production of irrigation systems in the surrounding area. Its location then should be placed somewhere in Mesopotamia.

This description suggests Eden was the district or area God chose for the location of the Garden. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden.(Gen 2:10)

The description of the garden in Genesis 2:10–14 states that the water from Eden watered four important areas: Pishon, which flows into the land of Havilah; Gihon, which flows into the land of Cush; Tigris, which flows into the eastern side of Assyria; and the fourth is the Euphrates. The garden is also said to have “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Yet, two trees are singled out: the “Tree of Life” in the middle of the garden and the “Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.” However, the Genesis account is inconsistent at some points, Genesis 2:8–9; 3:1–3 has both trees in the midst of the garden, whereas Genesis 3:22–24 gives the possibility that both trees were planted on the east side of the garden where Adam was originally placed.

Islam Perspective:

In Islam, Jannāt ʿAdn (Arabic: جنّات عَدن) or Gardens of Eden, meaning perpetual gardens and heavens, is the name of a heaven or a city in the Heaven. It is the fourth stage of Jannah, the Gardens of Perpetual Abode, symbolized by large pearls. Adn is a garden where those who do good, are patient, and pure will live there in mansions. The gardens are full of streams and malaikah. It is from this place that Adam fell to earth, landing on Sarandib.

In the Quran, it is simply called the Garden. There are several mentions of “the Garden” in the Qur’an, while the Garden of Eden, without the word ʿadn, is commonly the fourth layer of the Islamic heaven and not necessarily thought as the dwelling place of Adam.

Quranic exegetes believe that “Jannat ‘Adn” is superior to other gardens of Heaven. In a hadith from the Prophet (s), the Gardens of Eden are described as being what no eyes have ever seen and what has never occurred to any heart. However, there are sensible descriptions of this heaven in some Quranic verses. Residents of Gardens of Eden are said to include different groups such as prophets, the sincere, martyrs, believers, and mujahids.

Despite the Biblical account, the Quran mentions only one tree in Eden, also called the tree of immortality and ownerships of no decay, which Allah specifically forbade to Adam and Eve; in other words, there is no tree of knowledge in the Quran.

The Quran states that the Garden of Final Return is eternal for the righteous and the Hell “for whoever of them follows you, indeed the hell shall be your requital, an ample reward.” (17:63). If Adam and Eve were actually in it, then they too would be eternal.

The word, “Jannat”, is the plural form of “janna” meaning garden and heaven, and the word, “‘adn”, means residence and settlement. “‘Adn” in the Qur’an has been interpreted by exegetes as perpetuity and eternity, and “Jannat ‘Adn” has been interpreted as perpetual or eternal heavens. The phrase has occurred eleven times in the Qur’an, in all of which it appears in the plural form. It occurs both in Makki and Madani suras of the Qur’an. Some exegetes believe that “Gardens of Eden” are superior to other gardens of Heaven.

There are two views of the “Gardens of Eden”:

  • Some exegetes believe that it is a proper name, referring to one of the heavens. Others take it to name a city in the middle of the Heaven.
  • However, other exegetes believe that “‘Adn” is an attribute of the Heaven, and all heavens count as ‘adn indeed.

The Holy Prophet said: “Allah says: I have prepared for my righteous servants that which has neither been seen by eyes, nor heard by ears, nor ever conceived by any man.” If no human eyes have seen it, then Adam could not have seen it, and therefore the Garden of the Forbidden Tree could not have been seen in Paradise.

In Quran following verses also rules out the possibility of the garden being Paradise:

And he taught Adam the nature of all things; then He placed him before the Angels, and said: Tell me the nature of these if you are right… And behold! We said to the angels: bow down to Adam and they bowed down . No, said Iblis (Satan). He refused and was haughty. He was of those who rejected the Faith. (Holy Quran 2:31–34)

When Iblis refused to prostrate before Adam, God ordered him out of the garden. God said:

“Get thee down from this: it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).” (Holy Quran 7:13)

Then in the presence of Adam and Eve before their expulsion from the Garden, Iblis requested and God replied:

“Give me respite till the Day they shall be raised up from the dead.” Allah replied, “You are granted respite.” (Holy Quran7:14–15)

According to the above verses, Adam learned the nature and reality of all things and everything.

And He taught Adam the names — all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.”(Holy Quran 2:31)

Therefore, when God granted Iblis respite, Adam and Eve must’ve known that their lives in the garden with the forbidden tree were subject to imminent death and that they would be “raised up from death” on the Day of Judgment.

For these reasons, the garden could not have been in Paradise and it must’ve been on earth. The promise of the Garden of Final Return would make no sense for Adam, as well as for his human contemporaries for their good deeds if they were already there.

Iblis deceived Prophet Adam and his followers, telling them: “Your Sustainer has forbidden you this tree, lest you two become [as angels], or lest you live forever.”

But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal.”(Holy Quran 7:20)

He whispered to Adam: “O Adam! Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?

Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?” (Holy Quran 20:120)

Thus, by describing the Forbidden Tree as a secret recipe for eternal life, Iblis tempted Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of the tree. When they consumed the Forbidden Fruit, they sought eternal life. The Quran states that the Garden of Final Return is eternal for the righteous and the Hell “for whoever of them follows you, indeed the hell shall be your requital, an ample reward.”

[ Allah ] said, “Go, for whoever of them follows you, indeed Hell will be the recompense of you — an ample recompense.(Holy Quran 17:63)

If Adam and Eve were actually in it, then they too would be eternal. The desire to acquire a thing develops in the human mind only when the desired object or state is not available.

Adam was in an environment where death and decay, not immortality, were the facts of life. Adam and his contemporaries would not have become victims of temptation if they had already been immortal beings in Paradise.

So the Forbidden Tree as well as Adam, Eve, and their human contemporaries were not in the Garden of Final Return. The following verse adds more support to the falsity of the notion that the forbidden tree was in Paradise:

I have secured it (Heaven) against every rebel Satans. These Satans cannot hear the exalted ones; they are darted at and driven off from every side, for them there is a perpetual torment. However, if someone snatches away something, a flashing flame follows him.(Holy Quran 37:7–10)

The satans have no access to Heaven and no power to hear the angels’ conversations… if by chance a little of its news enters the ear of a devil, and he tries to bring it down, he will be followed by a flashing flame.” Based on verses 20:120; 7:20; 37:7–10, and 7:22, we can conclude the following:

First, Adam was allowed to stay in the Garden of the Forbidden Tree after Iblis’ expulsion from it. Second, although Iblis did not have access to the Garden of the Final Return, he succeeded in entering and deceiving Adam. Third, Adam and Eve fell for Satan’s persuasion and ate from the tree in the hope of becoming immortal.

Thus, the Garden of the Forbidden Tree was a place where all that existed had a transient, decaying nature into which Satan was able to enter. How could it be the Garden of Eternity?

Quranic verses repeatedly disprove the idea that the garden was in Paradise. One verse reads: “There [Paradise]they call for every kind of fruit in peace and security: Nor will they there taste death…” (44:55–56) Thus, the presence of a forbidden tree bearing the fruit of immortality and the commandment that Adam and Eve not eat of that fruit contradict the location of the Garden of Forbidden Tree in Paradise.

Throughout the Quran, Paradise is described as a place where peace prevails: “There they shall hear no idle talk, but only ‘Peace’” (19:62)., where sin, lies, and vanity do not exist (56:25–26; 78:35, and 88:11). If we accept the Quranic description of the Garden of Final Return, then we also have to conclude that the Garden of the Forbidden Tree could not be the place where Satan makes the false, vain claim that he is better than Adam He (Iblis) said:

“I am better than he [Adam]; You have created me of fire and created him [Adam] of clay.”(Holy Quran7:12)

If Iblis’ claim was true, God would not have asked the angels and the Jinn to prostrate before Adam- thus Iblis lied. In Paradise, Iblis would not have been able to tempt Adam to commit sin.

Such egoism, lying and deception could not have taken place in the Garden of Final Return- a place where fruits are not forbidden, where peace and justice prevail, and where sin, lies, and vanity are unknown.

Finally, Adam could not have been thrown out of Paradise because it is the place of (final) return.” (38:49) Thus, Adam, Eve, Iblis, and the Forbidden Tree could not have been in Paradise (Jennat-ul-Khuld), and the notion that the garden with the forbidden tree and Paradise were one and the same is false. The Garden of the Forbidden Tree is a place for human trial and error, while Paradise is a place for reward.

Since the Quran does not support the notion that the garden was Paradise, where was the garden instead? The following verses offer clue. After God presented Adam to the Angels, He said to Adam:

There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked, nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun’s heat.(Holy Quran20:118–119)

Many Muslims who believe that Adam and Eve were created in Paradise promote their view by quoting verse 2:38. According to the verse, when Adam disobeyed God’s command and ate the Forbidden Fruit, God ordered him out of the Garden, saying: “Get ye down all from here.” (2:38)j They claim that the verse suggests that Adam went from a higher place to a lower place.

They believe that Paradise is located above the earth. Such belief is problematic and unacceptable; we know that the Earth rotates on its axis and that it is an integral part of the Milky Way Galaxy which also rotates on its axis.

Therefore, if Paradise were visible from Earth, we would see it beneath us at one point in time, above us at another, and at various times on either side. How, then, can we explain the above verse? Many early Muslim commentators believed that, before their expulsion, Adam and Eve experienced a mental state filled with ease, happiness, and innocence and that the phrase “get ye down” shows they were driven out of a blissful mental state.

Muhammad Rashid Rida records that explanation in Tafsir-ul-Manar. Regardless of one’s concepts regarding the location of Paradise, based on the above study of the literal reading of the Quranic verses, one can reasonably conclude that Adam, Even and the forbidden tree were located on the earth and not in the Garden of Eternity.

Final Thoughts:

Allah is eternal, and so not bound by the constraints of time. Allah decided to create the universe and because of his unlimited power and authority, he commanded things to come into being. Allah then made all living creatures, the angels, the planets, and the rain to allow vegetation to grow.

He created the heavens and the earth in six days, and is firmly established on the throne (of authority): He draweth the night as a veil o’er the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His command. Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds.(Holy Quran20:7:54)

In one another Quran verse Allah Said;

Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds. He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance). Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: “Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come (together), in willing obedience.” So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge. (Holy Quran20:41:9–12)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“Allah created Adam in His picture, sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), “Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring.” Adam (went and) said, ‘As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).’ They replied, ‘AsSalamu-’Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah’s Mercy be on you) So they increased ‘Wa Rahmatullah’ The Prophet (ﷺ) added ‘So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and picture of Adam Since then the creation of Adam’s (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings is being diminished continuously) to the present time.”Sahih Bukhari 4:55:543

I believe these points will help.

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And all praise and thanks are due to Allah, without Whose help and guidance nothing can be accomplished. May Allah bless you with happiness, success, guidance, health, and knowledge. May Almighty Allah give us the strength to follow the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and make us part of the group who is among the most righteous! Ameen.

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Raja Muhammad Mustansar Javaid

Writer | network engineer | Traveler | Biker | Polyglot. I’m so deep even the ocean gets jealous