Saturday, April 10, 2010
Eden: A Well-Watered Region
The area shaded in red is the location of biblical Eden. It was said to be a well-watered area. Today this is one of the driest regions on earth, but during Noah's time and before it was vastly wetter. Abraham's ancestors came from this region. It is the point of origin of the Afro-Asiatic peoples who came us the Bible.
Between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago the Nile river system filled with waters from the Angolan Highlands. Before this time, the streams of the Ugandan highlands flowed west to join the Congo River, which drains into the Atlantic. Geological uplift about 12,000 years ago tilted the region to create Lake Victoria and direct its excess flow north into the White Nile. The waters of the White Nile provide most of the Nile's water during the dry season. Essentially the entire Albertine Rift was a vast flood plain extending 3,700 miles from Syria to central Mozambique.
Likewise, the now dry Botswanan lake basin in southern Africa was once a sea, filled by water from the Angolan Highlands. Thousands of manmade stone tools have been found in the area dating to between 80,000 and 100,000 years.
Between 12,000 and 7,000 years ago Lake Chad filled its present drainage basin and spilled southwest out the Benue River to the Atlantic. It was called "Lake Megachad" and during that time it was the world's largest lake with a surface five times larger Lake Superior.
Genesis 2:10-14 says that Eden was watered by four rivers: the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Pishon and the Gihon. Two are in Mesopotamia and two are in Africa. This is the heart of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. This is the place of origin of the ruler-priests and of "him that holds the scepter from the house of Eden" (Amos 1:5).
The Ethiopians identify the Gihon with the Abay River, which encircles the former African kingdom of Gojjam (where Ge'ez was spoken, the language of the Ethiopian Orthodox church). The Pishon "flows through the whole land of Havilah" (Gen. 2:11). Havilah is a son of Kush (Gen. 10:7) and the "Kushites" lived in the upper Nile region and the Sudan. Kushite kings also ruled in Egypt.
The description of Eden as a well-watered region is supported by climate and geological studies. These four rivers encompass the heart or Eden of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion which was ruled by a network of chiefs who were priests. They controlled the major water systems and built shrines along the rivers.