The Urantia Book, (UB), gives a number of specific clues to the location of the first Garden of Eden. Most of these clues are contained in subsection 3 ("The Garden Site") of paper 73 entitled "The Garden of Eden", page 823; (Paper 73, Section 3). These clues are specific enough to offer hope for finding the remains of the Garden. The purpose of this paper is to assemble these clues and other relevant information and to form a hypothesis on the location of the First Garden of Eden.
The "other revelant information" used in this paper comes from two sources, a bathymetric chart of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and a bathymetric/ topographic visualization of the entire Mediterranean Sea. The bathymetric chart contains information gathered up to January, 1971. The visualization contains data up to 1997. The chart supplies actual depth information, while the visualization is easier to interpret than contour lines on a map.
The first clue to the location of the Garden is that it was "a long narrow peninsula - almost an island - projecting westward from the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea" (UB823:1; 73:3.1)
Figure 1 is a bathymetric chart of the eastern Mediterranean obtained from the Defense Mapping Agency (chart number 5030, Atalya Körfezi to El- Iskandarîya, DMA Stock No. 54XC054030). This chart shows contours of the depth of the sea bottom as well as elevation contours of the surrounding terrain. In the deep sea, depth contours of 100 fathoms (600 ft) are shown. At depths below 100 fathoms, individual soundings are quoted to two significant digits. Presumably such depths can be read to about 10% accuracy. This low-resolution depth information is sufficient to discern the gross features of the ocean bottom. The original chart is a large 3 x 4 ft document.
Figure 2 is a bathymetric/topographic visualization of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. This visualization is what one would see from a position in space above the Mediterranean Sea if the water were completely transparent. This remarkable visualization was compiled under the direction of Dr. Viacheslav K. Gusiakov of the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
An inspection of this chart reveals that the only place in the current eastern Mediterranean which even remotely fits this clue is between the Island of Cyprus and the border of Turkey and Syria. The matching pattern is primarily off the Eastern coast of Cyprus, which has a long peninsula projecting eastward towards the mouth of the Orontes river in Turkey. This peninsula is continued underwater in the same direction for approximately 30 miles. Another feature suggestive of a former connection with the mainland is the 500 fathom contour which also projects along a line parallel with the peninsula towards the mainland. The island of Cyprus lies a little over 62 miles off the current eastern shores of the Mediterranean.
An eastern Mediterranean location is also mentioned in the Urantia Book passage that reads:
"But still older vestiges of the days of Dalmatia exist under the waters of the Persian Gulf, and the first Eden lies submerged under the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea." (UB875:4; 78:7.7)
Another clue is given as:
"The great river that watered the Garden came down from the higher lands of the peninsula and flowed East through the peninsula neck to the mainland and thence across the lowlands of Mesopotamia to the sea beyond. It was fed by four tributaries which took origin in the coastal hills of the Edenic peninsula, ..." (UB823:4; 73:3.4)
This is a strong clue, since it indicates that river which ran through the peninsula must have been connected with the Euphrates river which runs across the lowlands of Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf and presently comes to within 150 mi of the Mediterranean. Indeed, the Euphrates river heads directly for the mouth of the Orentes river for 100 miles before turning 90 deg to the North as shown in Figure 2. This figure also shows that the source of a tributary of the Euphrates river is about 8 km * west* of the source of a tributary of the Orontes river (the Nahr Aafrine).
This clue also uses the word "neck" to describe a portion of the peninsula. This implies that the peninsula was wider offshore than at a region closer onshore. It further implies that at least one coast of the peninsula contained hills.
Is it possible that before the uplifting of the land adjoining the eastern Mediterranean there could have been a connection of the Euphrates with what is now the Orontes river, continuing on through a land bridge to Cyprus, connecting with the 4 rivers originating in coastal highlands now emptying into Famagusta Bay? These 4 rivers enter the bay near Koma tou Yialou, Boghaz, between Boghaz and Salamis, and south of Salamis. Another river, the Pedieos, also empties into Famagusta Bay but its origin is in the central highlands of Cyprus (not far from Mount Olympus) rather than in the coastal highlands. If so, it means that the direction of flow of the Orontes river has been reversed by the uplifting of the coastal mountains.
In this same vein, the Bible (Genesis 1:10) states:
"A river fowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates."
Thus the Biblical account of Eden indicates that the river which flowed through Eden was connected to the Euphrates river.
There is yet another strong clue:
"The coast line of this land mass was considerably elevated, and the neck connecting with the mainland was only twenty-seven miles wide at the narrowest point." (UB823:4; (73:3.4)
As shown in Figure 1 a width of 27 miles is consistent with the size of a possible land bridge to Cyprus. The entire eastern Mediterranean covers only about 5 deg of latitude, (from 31° 30" N to 36° 30" N) or approximately 350 miles in extent. Thus there are only 13 independent places in this area at which a feature 27 miles wide could exist. A feature which is 27 miles across at its narrowest point is a large feature relative to the size of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The period of time when the Garden was occupied is fairly precisely given in:
"This paper depicts the planetary history of the violet race, beginning soon after the default of Adam, about 35,000 B.C., ..." (UB868:2; 78:0.2)
This raises the issue of the time scale required for the eastern Mediterranean land masses to rise. Could this rise occur within a period of time less than 37,000 years? The feature on the bathymetric charts which might be the Edenic land bridge now lies at a depth of approximately 500 fathoms, or 3,000 ft. The peak elevation of the terrain of the Eastern Mediterranean region is approximately 1,500 m, or about 5,000 ft. Assuming the land bridge elevation was originally about 1,000 ft, the submerged First Eden has sunk around 4,000 ft, while the land bordering the eastern Mediterranean has risen around 4,000 ft. The average rate of change of elevation in these regions must therefore have been about 1.2 inches per year. Is this is a geologically possible rate of change of elevation?
Another question of importance to this investigation is the time at which the Mediterranean Sea was formed. I am presently investigating this question.
The most likely remain of the Garden is the great brick wall built to prevent incursions by raiders and/or wild animals. The UB says:
"The first task was the building of the brick wall across the neck of the peninsula." (UB824:1; 73:4.2)
Of course if the brick wall was made of unfired bricks, a long submergence may have dissolved the bricks making their location more difficult, if not impossible.
Another object which might be located is the stone temple of the Universal Father.
"only the stone wall (of the Temple) stood until the Garden was subsequently submerged" (UB826:4; (73:6.7)
This temple was located in the center of the peninsula, just south of a great mound, or hill.
"At the center of the Edenic peninsula was the exquisite stone temple of the Universal Father, the sacred shrine of the Garden." (UB824:5; 73:5.1)
"Soon after their awakening, Adam and Eve were escorted to the formal reception on the great mound to the north of the temple. This natural hill had been enlarged and made ready for the installation of the world's new rulers." (UB 829:7; (74:2.5)
The end of the Garden was described as follows.
"... in connection with the violent activity of the surrounding volcanoes and the submergence of the Sicilian land bridge to Africa, the eastern floor of the Mediterranean Sea sank, carrying down beneath the waters the whole of the Edenic peninsula. Concomitant with this vast submergence the coast line of the eastern editerranean was greatly elevated." (UB826:6; 73:7.1)
This great elevation of the coastline would have the effect of severing the river running out of Eden, as would the submergence of the ocean floor. Thus three distinct rivers would have been formed: 1. The river running out of the highlands to the West of Eden would now run eastward into the sea from the remaining island formed from the highlands. 2. The remains of the river on the western shore of the Mediterranean would run westward to the sea (the Orontes). 3. The portion of the river running through Mesopotamia would no longer have any connection to the Mediterranean (the Euphrates).
The statement that the "whole of the Edenic peninsula" was submerged conflicts with the hypothesis that Cyprus is the remains of the highlands of the western portion of the Edenic peninsula, since Cyprus is not submerged. If the Edenic peninsula were not located between Cyprus and the mainland, then where was it? There are no remains of the western highlands or the peninsula anywhere else in the eastern Mediterranean visible on the charts available to me. Perhaps the statement "whole of the Edenic peninsula" really means the whole of the peninsula containing the First Garden, since the word peninsula is modified by the word "Edenic".
The elevation of the eastern Mediterranean is also mentioned elsewhere in The Urantia Book:
"For thousands of years after the submergence of the first Eden the mountains about the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and those to the northwest and northeast of Mesopotamia continued to rise. This elevation of the highlands was greatly accelerated about 5000 B.C., and this, together with greatly increased snowfall on the northern mountains, caused unprecedented floods each spring throughout the Euphrates valley." (UB874:7; (78:7.2)
The First Garden was apparently of enormous size. "The architectural plans for Eden provided homes and abundant land for one million human beings." (UB824:5; 73:5.1)
Given that the neck of the peninsula was 27 miles across, one might assume that the Garden was approximately 27 x 27 miles in dimension, or larger. This would place the area of the Garden at 2.0 x 10^10 square feet. If one million people were housed within this area, then the population density would be 1 person for every 20,000 square feet. This is a plot of land about 143 ft square.
The book gives the length of roads and paths existing within this area.
"At the time of Adam's arrival, though the Garden was only one-fourth finished, it had thousands of miles of irrigation ditches and more than twelve thousand miles of paved paths and roads." (UB824:6; (73:5.2)
The area of land devoted to these paths and roads may be estimated as 1.27 x 10^8 square feet assuming an average width of the paths and roads to be 2 ft. The ratio of the area of roads and paths to the completed area is thus on the order of 2.5 x 10^-2. Given this ratio, one can estimate the size of the plots of land enclosed by the roads and paths, assuming that the plots are square. One can show that assuming the area ratio is small compared to one, the side of the enclosed square plot is approximately twice the path width divided by the area ratio. Thus the side of the enclosed square land plot would be approximately 160 ft. This is in reasonable agreement with the amount of land allotted to each person.
Based on the above clues, one can form the following hypothesis. The first Garden of Eden was located at approximately latitude 36 deg N, longitude 35 deg 20 min E, which is now under approximately 500 fathoms of water. This location was once about 1000 ft above sea level. The river which flowed through Eden had its origin in the highlands of what is now the island of Cyprus. This river flowed eastward and connected with the Euphrates. After the Eastern Mediterrean Sea suddenly was created by the breach of the Sicilian land bridge by waters of the Western Mediterranean, the land containing the Garden sunk about 4000 ft and was submerged beneath the Mediterrean due to the weight of the surrounding water. The eastern shore of the Mediterrean rose to maintain isostatic equilibrium and thereby severed the connection to the Euphrates River.
END OF PAPER
If someone could actually mount an expedition to this area and find the archeological remains of the First Garden as described in The Urantia Book, such a discovery would have a big impact world wide.