[asa] Re: The Eden in Israel Proposition - Reconciling the story of creation with science

From: Bruce Paul <luke15twenty@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Jun 06 2007 - 16:43:10 EDT

Dear Dick

The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are in Mesopotamia, and have headwaters that flow right out of the East Anatolian Fault in Western Turkey – a direct extension of the Great Rift Valley that the Dead Sea rift is also a part of. The issue is . . . where were the other two rivers, the Gihon & the Pishon?

Josephus and the book of Jubilees both define this Gihon to be the Nile River, which is further confirmed by the Hebrew word Cush used in the Genesis 2:13 description of this river, which invariably refers to the land south of Egypt each of the 29 times this word is used. In fact, present-day Ethiopians still call the top of the Blue Nile the Ghion River.
From my book

According to Genesis 2:11-12, "The name of the first is Pishon: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone." The name of the River Pishon itself is not very helpful, but the name of the people Havilah identifies the area. The people are Arabian (as seen in Genesis 25:18 and 1 Samuel 15:7) and are thought to be one of the Joktanean tribes in northern Arabia. This reference to the "land of HAVILAH" suggests Moses was identifying this river with the man for whom the region was named—Noah's grandson (see Genesis 10:7). In other words, the area didn't take on this identity of the "land of HAVILAH" until after the great flood and during a time more contemporary with the Exodus. Also, during the time of the Exodus, a region east of Medina and toward the middle of the Arabian Peninsula, called Mahd ed Dahab, "the Cradle of Gold," was renowned for its pure gold and even today
 remains one of the only gold-producing areas in Saudi Arabia. The Hebrews understood this gold of Ophir to be of the most excellent quality (see Job 22:24), and later the Greeks would extol Arabia's gold as being so pure that it didn't need to be smelted. Southern Arabia was also one of the few places in the world where bdellium was produced, and the semiprecious onyx can still be found throughout the Arabian Shield.
Some remarkable Space-Shuttle Radar-Imaging photos were released to the public in the early 1990’s by Farouk El-Baz of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University that confirm this hypothesis. These satalite images of the northern Arabian panintula show a three-to-six-Km-wide river from the Hijaz Mountains near Medina, up 530 miles northeast into the Persian Gulf, just off the coast of present-day Kuwait. This matches our Biblical and historical information perfectly, so we can fairly confidently state that this first river mentioned in Genesis 2 was in Arabia. The headwaters for this river can also be traced from the Medina area all the way to Jabal al Lawz, which is where we would suggest was the location of the real Mount Siani.

Affirming these locations of the Pishon and Gihon is a mosaic map of the rivers of paradise in a 7th-century Byzantine church's baptismal near Jabaliyah, north of Gaza City. The river's wavy bands are combined with human characters and partial spellings of the river's names to define their locations. This clearly demonstrates that the early church believed the Pishon and Gihon to be in Arabia and Africa, the very locations the scriptures identify as their locations.

So we see 2 rivers in Mesopotamia with headwaters in Western Turkey (500 miles apart from each other), one in Arabia with headwaters near the Gulf of Aqaba, ant the fourth in Africa with Headwaters near Lake Tana. All of these river headwaters are coincidental to the Great Rift Valley and the only way to join all these river headwaters is through an underground river source just as Genesis 2:6 suggests - "But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground."

My book, however, goes much further than just reviewing the Genesis 2 narrative. The book looks at remnant images residing within ancient Sumerian and Egyptian mythology; ancient Jewish apocrypha texts like the Book of Jubilees, and of course the Bibles other references to this land of Eden.

The most compelling evidence in my mind, however, is how this approach unfolds so many mysteries within the Bibles text, such as the nature of the Tree of Life which according to Dr James Harris is tied to the Menorah and the El Yah term for God in the ancient Proto-Canaanite language. See: http://net.lib.byu.edu/imaging/negev/Names.html

Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net> wrote: Hi Bruce,
  Don’t wish to throw any kinks in your theory but there are some considerations. The rivers of Eden are in Mesopotamia. Ezekiel was among the captives in Babylon by the “river Chebar” (Ezek. 1:3; 3:15, 23), corresponding to nar Kabari meaning the “great canal,” the largest of three or four navigable canals that watered the fields of ancient Nippur. The tree of life appears to correspond with the date palm, the “sacred tree” depicted in numerous Sumerian cylinder seals – again Mesopotamia, not Israel.
    Dick Fischer
  Dick Fischer, Genesis Proclaimed Association
  Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
  -----Original Message-----
 From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Bruce Paul
 Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 12:09 PM
 To: asa@calvin.edu
 Subject: [asa] Re: The Eden in Israel Proposition - Reconciling the story of creation with science
  I'm trying to find a few apologists / thinkers review a book I’m just about to have published. I began a study of the Eden in Israel proposition while investigating the work and purpose of the Holy Spirit. Because "Living Water" is Scripture's principal metaphor for the Holy Spirit, I was going through every verse in the Bible referring to water, wells, rivers, and springs, and it soon became clear that the river in Eden is a type of the Holy Spirit. An interesting principle of scripture I've often meditated on is how God regularly visits certain places over and over again, such as the temple residing on the very location where Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed. After working through my study, I became convinced that the first river from Eden mentioned in Genesis 2, was the same river mentioned in Ezekiel 47, and both of these were for-runners of the River of Life found in Revelation 22.
  I had come to believe these were all one in the same river because:
    1. All three of these rivers appear during principal transformational points of the earth throughout redemptive history.
     Eden 's River at the beginning of creation(Gen 1-2).
       Ezekiel's river during the New Millennium (Eze 40-47)
       The River of Life when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Rev 21-22).
    2. All three rivers were accompanied by a version of the Tree of Life
     Eden 's River with the Tree of Life (Gen 2:9)
       Ezekiel's River has trees on either side of the river. The Ezekiel 47 passage records that there will be all kinds of trees for food, which ties Ezekiel's orchard together with Eden (Gen 2:9), but the trees will bear fruit every month and the leaves are for healing, which ties it together with the River of Life in (Rev 22:2).
       The River of Life has two Trees of Life on either side of the river (Rev 22:2)
    3. All three of these rivers have an incredibly vast distribution
     Eden 's River turns into four other rivers that water the whole surface of the earth (Gen 2:6).
     Ezekiel's river flows down to the dead sea, but Zechariah 14 suggests that it will also flow down to the Mediterranean Sea (Zec 14:8)
     The River of Life will go out to all the nations (Rev 22:2)
  4. All three of these rivers have a remarkable source
     Eden 's River flowed out of Eden (Gen 2:10).
       Ezekiel's river flows out of the altar outside the temple (Eze 47:1)
       The River of Life flows from God's thrown and from the Lamb (Rev 22:1)
  I realized there is a very logical conclusion in associating these three rivers together! If Eden 's river flows from the same point these other two rivers come from, Eden had to have originally been in the region we now know as Israel . My mind started to race as I began to appreciate the principle implication of this hypothesis, that the very ground that saw the first sin and failure would become the very ground of redemption and restoration. Why else would Israel be the Promised Land if God didn't have an extraordinary plan in mind for this territory, and under premise of the Eden in Israel Proposition, He was winning humanity back on the very ground that saw man's original fall from grace.
    Invigorated by this glorious possibility, and equipped with a geology background that enabled me to proficient review maps of the region, I tried to understand how Eden 's River could have acted as the source of the four other great rivers mentioned in the Genesis 2 account. But once the source of the first river was fixed, the pattern was obvious; all four rivers in the Eden narrative are coincidental to the Great Rift Fault. The Tigris and Euphrates flow directly out of the East Anatolian Fault (which is actually an extension of the Great Rift Valley), the Gihon (assuming that Josephus and the book of Jubilees are correct in suggesting the Nile is the Gihon) and the Pishon (assuming that Farouk El-Baz’s Kuwait river in Arabia is the Pishon) also have headwaters that are suspiciously coincidental to the Great Rift Valley.
    Tying this together with Genesis 2:6, “But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground,” it seems apparent that the water was flowing underground from the center of all these river headwaters from an area we now know as Israel . I’ve recently discovered that Dr A. Yahuda suggested the water from Eden flowed underground 70 years ago, but I believe I’m the first to put together this connection with the Great Rift Valley .
  Soteriology, Pneumatology, Eschatology, and even Hermeneutics all have wide-ranging implications effected by this Eden in Israel proposition, yet there's a theme that can be found weaving its narrative throughout all these fields of endeavor, tying them all together and affecting the very way we live - The message and mandate defining our inheritance within the Kingdom of God . The Eden in Israel proposition doesn’t contradict conservative evangelical Christian doctrine. Yet, many of the implications of this proposition are unconventional, and challenge many traditional concepts in scripture. The mysteries uncovered by this theory are, however, nothing less than astonishing, and provide a remarkable framework for understanding the message of God's Kingdom and His purposes with the land of Israel . I believe this work is only the beginning; inspiring many other works to follow, resolving mysteries that have confounded and separated the Church for thousands of years.
  This book is an honest endeavor from a Christian geologist’s perspective to reconcile many issues of science and the history of religion, together with a conservative evangelical perspective on the authority and inspiration of the scriptures. If you or anyone in your group would be interested in reviewing this 124 page book, let me know and I’ll send along a pdf copy.
    Kindest Regards
    Bruce Paul
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Received on Wed, 6 Jun 2007 13:43:10 -0700 (PDT)

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