According to the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis, the Garden of Eden was an earthly paradise where the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, lived. Genesis has the main story of the Garden of Eden, but other Old Testament books reference it, such as Ezekiel and Isaiah3.
The meaning, and the history of the word Eden has been heavily discussed. In the past it was believed that it may have come from a Sumerian word meaning “plain”. It is now more commonly believed to have come from the Aramaic word meaning “fruitful”, or “Well watered”.
According to the story in Genesis, when Jesus created the garden, under the direction of God, he planted many trees that were “good for food”. After creating Adam, he was placed in the Garden of Eden so that he could take care of it. Adam and Eve were told that they could eat from any tree within the garden, apart from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Not only did the Garden of Eden contain the first man and woman, and trees that were good for food, it also contained many animals and birds. Adam was given the job to name all of them.
Genesis does not give much detail to where the Garden of Eden was. It is said that the garden was planted in “the east”. It is unclear whether this means that the Garden was planted in the East of a place called Eden, or Eden was in the East. Genesis also mentions that four rivers ran out of this garden. It is unclear whether these rivers were connected to each other somehow, or what these rivers were called. Because of the many uncertainties, it is hard to work out where the Garden of Eden may have been placed.
A number of people and religious groups have tried to place the Garden on the map. Many believe that the original site could have been in or around Lebanon, Iraq, the Persian Gulf, or Africa. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons as they are commonly known as) believe that the Garden of Eden was originally placed in what is known to us today as Jackson County, Missouri.
There are those who believe that the story of The Garden of Eden is only an allegory, and should not be taken literally. If this is the case, then the Garden of Eden may never have been a real garden on Earth, but just a story to represent a deeper meaning.