God created the Garden of Eden and placed Adam and Eve in it to live. In the beautiful garden setting, God provided them with food, and they had fellowship with him and each other. Yet, after sin entered the world through the serpent’s temptation, God banished Adam and Eve from the garden forever. This unfortunate turn of events has led many readers to ask about what happened to the garden.
If God didn’t remove the Garden of Eden from the earth when he banished Adam and Eve from it, then the flood that occurred in Noah’s day destroyed it. After God excommunicated the first man and woman from the garden, no one ever again entered it. However, later Bible writers mention it.
Why did God excommunicate Adam and Eve from the garden? Why do some think that God removed the Garden of Eden from earth? Why do others think the flood destroyed it? What do biblical books outside of Genesis say about the Garden of Eden? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see Where Was the Garden of Eden Located? to learn more.
Why did God excommunicate Adam and Eve from the garden?
God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because they sinned against him. But rather than obeying God, the first man and woman rebelled, giving into the serpent’s temptation.
Genesis 3:22-23 describe the consequence Adam and Eve received for their sin. “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—’ therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken” (ESV).
Genesis 3:24 adds that God not only drove Adam and Eve out of Eden, but he posted angels to guard the garden’s entrance. As a result, Adam and Eve would no longer have access to the Tree of Life.
|ESV||He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.|
|KJV||So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.|
|NKJV||So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.|
|NIV||After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.|
|NLT||After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.|
Also see What is a Serpent in the Bible? to learn more.
Was the Garden of Eden destroyed or removed?
Since the Bible doesn’t directly address the fate of the Garden of Eden, readers speculate about what happened to it. One theory is that the flood destroyed it; another is that God supernaturally removed it.
Did the flood destroy the Garden of Eden?
Ten generations after Adam and Eve, God sent a flood upon the world to judge wickedness (Gen. 6-9). Noah and his family were the only people God saved from the deluge. The water was so high that it covered the highest mountain peaks in the world. Floodwater was on the earth for approximately one year, drowning all trees, plants, bushes, and other vegetation.
If the Garden of Eden still existed at the time, the flood destroyed it. If this occurred, it would ensure that the new world would not have access to the paradise as God intended when he sealed it from re-entry (Gen. 3:24). Scholars believe that the flood destroyed all vegetation and the topographies of entire regions dramatically changed due to the water.
Did God remove the Garden of Eden?
The idea that God removed the Garden of Eden comes from two observations. First, some think the Bible may suggest that God has removed other sacred objects from the earth, though this isn’t certain. Second, the Tree of Life appears in Revelation’s description of the New Heavens and New Earth.
Revelation 11:19 mentions the ark of the covenant in heaven. “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail” (ESV).
How did the ark get into heaven? The Old Testament doesn’t directly address the fate of the ark of the covenant. The Bible doesn’t mention the ark after the temple’s destruction, and the Israelites go into exile; that is, until Revelation 11:19. If God supernaturally removed the ark from earth to protect it, did he do the same thing with the Garden of Eden?
Revelation 22:2 mentions the Tree of Life, the same one mentioned in Genesis. “Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (ESV).
Bible readers first learn about the Tree of Life in Genesis 2:9. “The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
How did the Tree of Life get into heaven? Did God remove it from Eden? Did the flood not destroy it? The Bible doesn’t give readers an explanation.
Also see Who Wrote the Book of Genesis? to learn more.
Bible verses that mention the Garden of Eden
Isaiah 51:3, “For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.”
Ezekiel 28:13, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared.”
Ezekiel 31:9, “I made it beautiful in the mass of its branches, and all the trees of Eden envied it, that were in the garden of God.”
Ezekiel 31:16, “I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to Sheol with those who go down to the pit. And all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the world below.”
Ezekiel 31:18, “Whom are you thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? You shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the world below. You shall lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 36:35, “And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.'”
Joel 2:3, “Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them.”
Also see 7 Reasons Christians Avoid the Book of Enoch to learn more.
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