Out of the Garden and Into the Cradle
by Navy Christian
Periodically, as research can be made into hypothesis and the other way around, I will return to the issue of making sense of the data. This will be an imperfect process of course, and my conclusions may change over time. It’s science…this sort of thing happens all the time. So let’s dig in for the first issue: Out of the Garden and into the Cradle.
Modern man came from eastern Africa, according to the “Out of Africa” model of evolutionary history. While two theories exist to explain the evolution of modern man (replacement and regional continuity model), it is generally not thought to be compatible with what the Bible suggests happened in our history (with Eden).
This is the crux of the problem. Many fundamentalists suggest that the Garden of Eden was in modern day Iraq. This is due to the fact that the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, mentioned in biblical Eden, water that area of the globe.
This seems to be a contradiction. Can mankind come from both the Garden of Eden as the Bible suggests and the cradle of mankind, thought by modern scientists to be eastern Africa?
At this point, I refer you to a great article on the ICR website. I can be extremely critical of the Institute for its almost dogmatic defense of YEC, but I can also recognize a good defense when I see it. Essentially, for all we know, the Garden of Eden was in eastern Africa. We have no idea where the biblical Garden was because the flood, if it happened as the Bible said it did, would have completely reshaped the globe. Noah would have renamed the current landscape after what he thought things were based on when he was walking the pre-flood earth.
Answers in Genesis also discusses the issue and comes up with much the same answer. The one thing I’m concerned about is that the author of the AIG article claims the Garden couldn’t be in modern Iraq because of the millions of dead things, which wouldn’t have been there before sin entered the world. This is an unneeded argument, because nothing would have been dead until sin entered the world, whether in eastern Africa or Iraq and by the time of the flood, sin most certainly abounded. It’s just not a logical argument, in my opinion.
The problem with the AIG article is that it suggests that the Garden remained perfect even after sin entered the world. Essentially, even though Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden, the physical garden would have remained perfect. This isn’t logical. Mankind had been placed there to care for it. In their absence, and with sin abounding, the garden would have been overrun and become overgrown. Still, the rest of the article is very good.
In summary, the argument is not necessarily two beginnings of mankind. We don’t have to accept either the fossil record or biblical record (in this case!). As pointed out by both Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research, we don’t know Eden’s location. For all we know, they could be the same place (and probably were).