“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

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I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Geneses 2 : Searching for Eden

I have always been enchanted by the four rivers that run out of Eden. I, (like many others) it turns out thought of them as a treasure map that would help find Eden. But like the chasing of rainbows Eden is not to be found. It is magical. It is not mystical. It is real.  It is not something you hold, but rather something deep and inspirational that holds you.  Eden comes to those who seek what Eden has to offer not- where is was originally found. 
I did some searching of my own. 
  • I discovered that people have looked for centuries as to the whereabouts of the Garden of Eden.
  •  I discovered that many believe it was in Africa, Mesopotamia, the Mountains near Iran, China, etc. 
  • The 4 heads of the river were known as Pison, Gihon, Euphrates and Hidekkel
  • There are as many speculative ideas as there are evidences for and against. So I decided not to be distracted by the exact whereabouts of Eden's Garden. 
When you consider there was a flood, etc.. it is unlikely that it is where it once was. Then I found a LDS reference to the Garden of Eden by Bruce A Van Orden, associate professor of Church history, BYU. Some key points he made concerning the whereabout of Eden are: 
  • Before the fall of Adam (before he left the garden) the earth was in a paradisiacal form
  • Before the fall, the Garden was the center of the paradisiacal earth. 
  • After the fall there was no paradisiacal place. All of the earth fell. 
  • Joseph Smith declared that (D&C 57) the ancient Garden of Eden was in Jackson Missiouri
  • Brigham Young stated, "Joseph the Prophet told me that the garden of Eden was in Jackson Missouri."   (Journal of Wilfor Woodruff, vol. 5, 15 Mar. 1857 Archives Division, Church Historical Dept., Salt Lake City.) 
  • President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “In accord with the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, we teach that the Garden of Eden was on the American continent located where the City of Zion, or the New Jerusalem, will be built. 
  • When Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they eventually dwelt at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman, situated in what is now Daviess County, Missouri. … We are committed to the fact that Adam dwelt on [the] American continent.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., comp. Bruce R. McConkie, Salt Lake City:Bookcraft, 1956, 3:74. Compare Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957–75, 2:93–95, 4:19–24; and Alvin R. Dyer, in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, pp. 108–9.)
What I found more interesting is that Eden represents all that we hold dear. It's as if we are always searching for it, ever since Adam left Eden.  
Verse 9... talks about how God gave 
1. Beauty (trees that are pleasant to the sight)
2. Food (trees that are good for food)
3. Eternity (tree of life ) (Immortality)
4. Truth (tree of knowledge of good and evil) 
5. Water ( we know that a river ran out of Eden and divided into four branches.) 

 Think for a moment about your home. What do the common comforts of home offer? 
1. water 
2. food 
3. Beauty - for the soul.. visual, audio, touch, taste, thought (the 5 senses)
4. truth - for the spirit
5. knowledge of good and evil .. -for the experience of man that he might exercise his agency.

If a home has all of these things then you will have no need to leave. But they don't have them all and we must often leave our homes to find food, to find beuaty, to seek for truth and to learn about good and evil. 

It's as if we are always searching for the home we once knew as Eden's Garden. While we were there we did not have to work because all of our needs were provided for us. We did not have to fear because we did not know of evil.. or good.. we only knew of existence. 
As beautiful as the Garden of Eden was, I believe that I enjoy the experience of Eden much more than the place called Eden. For when we carry Eden in our hearts it can be with us everywhere we go. 


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