Talk:Garden of Eden

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Article very short

The article, in my opinion, needs a great deal of meat! I suggest laying it out in this fashion:

  • The Biblical account of Eden
  • any extra-Biblical account of Eden
  • The physical description of Eden
  • the conclusions of David Rohl, who matched Eden's physical description with a site in northwest Iran.

Karajou 03:58, 11 March 2007 (EDT)

...Or too much?

Whilst I agree that the article needs expanding, the material about the descendants of Adam and Eve belongs in a different article. Philip J. Rayment 10:55, 18 March 2007 (EDT)

...although it would still be considered incest

What does this phrase (that was removed from the article) mean?

  • That it was still immoral? No, that's already been answered in the article.
  • That it still involves sex between closely-related people? That's already been said.
  • That it still involves someone forcing their affections on someone else (as a father on a daughter)? No, that's not what incest actually means (although it frequently has that connotation), and that is not the situation here.

So I see no reason for that phrase being in there.

I'm not happy about the reference to intercourse with Eve (besides, why not a daughter with Adam?), as that would be adultery, but between married brother and sister it would have been okay at the time.

Philip J. Rayment 09:37, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

The action is still considered incest. True, it is still stated that it isn't immoral, but it is undeniable that it is incest. If the theory that they had sex with their mother is true, then it is incest, whether the phrase looks nice or not. The Haunted Angel 12:04, 22 March 2007 (EDT)
I wasn't disputing that it was incest. I was asking what mentioning that adds to the article, as the only information that it conveys was already in the article.
However, I will dispute it now, as far as the brothers and sisters are concerned. I was thinking that incest is sexual intercourse between closely-related people, but it's actually "sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry". Using "incest" in this case presumes that it was at the time improper for brother and sister to marry, but this is a case of applying today's standards to the time, and there is good reason for thinking that it was okay at the time.
Philip J. Rayment 21:03, 22 March 2007 (EDT)

TheDecider has edited the bit about Adam and Eve's descendants, asking that we "stick to the scripture". I don't see why. As long as any further information is (a) not inconsistent with Scripture, and (b) not representing itself as being Scripture, there should be no problem with adding other information. There are other problems also.

  • Even his edit doesn't stick to Scripture, as Genesis doesn't say who Cain and Seth married, yet TheDecider is inserting what he believes must have been the case.
  • Suggesting that they may have had sexual intercourse with Eve is inconsistent with Scriptural declarations regarding marriage; marrying a sister is one thing, but having sex with one's mother is another entirely.
  • It rejects the possibility (he removed it from the article) that they married nieces. For example, Seth might have married a sister, had a daughter, and Cain married that daughter (his niece). Perhaps not a likely explanation, but a possible one, and ethically acceptable, unlike one having sex with their mother.

I intend to partially revert, but will await comments first.

Philip J. Rayment 04:28, 6 May 2007 (EDT)

Philip - There is no formulation which excludes the necessary incidence of incest (whether inter- or intra-generataional) from the historicity of Adam and Even and their decendants. And, since Cain and Seth are said to have -seperate- lineages, this rules out the possibility that either copulated with a daughter of the other, otherwise their distinct lineages would be interwoven by further inbreeding. There simply is no explanation for reproduction of humanity sans incest, and the Bible doesn't offer one. If you believe that Adam and Eve were the only two people on Earth, then it follows that the subsequent several generations would be heavily inbred. In your effort to find an "ethically acceptable" rational, you're resorting to tortured explanations and meaningless equivocations. The "difference" of the incestuous relations between siblings or parent and child is immaterial, and since God neither prohibits such acts or punishes them in Genesis, its reasonable to believe that incest was permitted. Applying logic to these cultural myths is what leads people to realize what they really are: creative stories, not historic facts. --TheDecider 15:05, 10 May 2007 (EDT)
"There is no formulation which excludes the necessary incidence of incest...". I haven't disputed that.
"...since Cain and Seth are said to have -seperate- lineages, this rules out the possibility that either copulated with a daughter of the other...". Where does it say that they had lineages that were so separate that it rules out them marrying from another lineage? And remember, there were more than two lineages, as Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters.
"...the subsequent several generations would be heavily inbred." Not so. Inbreeding is a rapid accumulation of genetic defects caused by breeding from two individuals that, to a large extent, share the same defects (having inherited them from the same parents, etc.). But as Adam and Eve were made without defects, there is no inbreeding problem.
"'re resorting to tortured explanations and meaningless equivocations." In saying that, you're resorting to sweeping statements that don't actually address the issue.
"The "difference" of the incestuous relations between siblings or parent and child is immaterial, and since God neither prohibits such acts or punishes them in Genesis...". Just taking Genesis, for neither act (intercourse with Even/intercourse with sister) can we say that it was not punished, because Genesis doesn't say that either occurred (i.e. we can't say that God didn't punish intercourse with Eve, because intercourse might have been with a sister, and we can't say that He didn't punish intercourse with a sister, as it might have been with Eve).
However, Abraham did marry his half-sister, and there was no punishment. And if we go beyond Genesis, Jesus indicates that creation provides the basis for marriage between one man and one woman, indicating that intercourse between Eve and a son would have been wrong from the beginning. The same is not true for intercourse between brother and sister (or uncle and niece).
"Applying logic to these cultural myths is what leads people to realize what they really are: creative stories, not historic facts.". Which you've failed to demonstrate because your "logic" has failed. Would you agree that when criticism of an argument can't be found, the argument is more likely to be correct?
Philip J. Rayment 22:10, 10 May 2007 (EDT)

Philip - I agree, the issue here isn't whether or not the sexual reproduction among the Biblical Adam and Eve and their direct decendents constitutes incest -- clearly it does -- but rather if it is reasonable to note this fact in the article. It seems that you think there are factors mitigating this which bear mentioning, but thusfar your additions are either purely rhetorical: "brother-sister incest isn't as bad as mother-son incest" or speculative innovations: "incest wasn't a problem because genetic defects wouldn't have had time to occur." Neither of these or other explanations appear in the Biblical account, which is what this article is about. If these opinions and speculation merit inclusion in the entry, there should be some citation and considerable explanation. From my perspective, so far it seems your efforts have been directed towards softening the hard realities that result from applying logic to mythology, to make them more acceptable to modern standards. --TheDecider 16:06, 16 May 2007 (EDT)

I think the key point in your message was the phrase "the hard realities". It seems that you want to make this "incest" out to be something bad. You think that the fact that it is incest should be noted in the article, but I've never disagreed with mentioning that it occurred, but object to putting it in a way that suggests that there was something wrong with it. Even just the use of the word "incest", although technically correct, is problematic because of the connotations surrounding the term. As far as putting in bits that aren't in the account is concerned, I previously pointed out that you were doing that anyway. The bits that explain that incest wasn't a problem come directly from what you want to do—applying logic to the accounts, but unlike you, I don't come with the presupposition that they are mythological stories that therefore must have problems. Philip J. Rayment 22:29, 16 May 2007 (EDT)


"Eden" in Hebrew is Eden - ayin-dalet-nun - not "Aten". According to the New User-Friendly Hebrew-English Dictionary, eden means pleasure, delicacy; Eden, paradise. Nahum Sarna in the JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis, notes that the Septuagint translated the Hebrew word for "garden" - gan (gimel-nun) - as "paradeisos", "a term that originated in the Old Persian pairi-daeza, meaning 'an enclosed park, a pleasure ground'". "Eden", Sarna continues, "has been derived from the Sumerian edinu, 'a plain,' but an Aramaic-Akkadian bilingual inscription suggests that the real meaning is 'luxuriance'". Ahavah, 8 July 2007

Trees as people

I've reverted Music4u's contribution as I consider it to be nonsense. If, however, he can show where others have made this claim, perhaps it can go back in in some form. There's no doubt that trees are used symbolically to represent people at times, but that doesn't mean that the trees in Eden were actually people, as the new section claims. And as Adam and Eve were the only two people when they were in the Garden, the trees could not be people. Philip J. Rayment 22:39, 30 September 2008 (EDT)