Is The Story Of The Garden Of Eden Specific To The Bible?

The Garden of Eden is one of the most well-known locations from the Old Testament, where the first created humans Adam and Eve supposedly lived in paradise before being expelled after disobeying the commandments of God (via Britannica). Also known as "The Garden of Yahweh" or "The Garden of God," the story is used to show the transition of humanity from blissful innocence to the current human condition filled with sin and misery.

While the story of Adam and Eve's failure to resist temptation has been replicated countless times over to become one of the more famous and influential biblical tales, the idea of this paradise on Earth predates even the Old Testament. Similar stories of an earthly garden paradise are found in ancient Sumerian society, suggesting that this theme of lush, lost nature was common throughout the mythology of the ancient Middle East and the rise of the earliest civilizations.

Eden has ties to Mesopotamia

According to World History, clues in the biblical text point to the garden's Mesopotamian origins, the region in modern-day Iraq that housed Sumer and other early civilizations. The garden's name is actually better translated as the "Garden in Eden," with Eden's exact location a matter of scholarly dispute; most say Eden is a sort of extraterrestrial realm where gods lived. However, it is said that the waters of Eden were the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates, two rivers that form the boundaries of Mesopotamia and gave life to humanity's first large civilizations. 

The biggest connection to Sumer comes from the tale "Enki and Ninhursag," a piece of ancient Sumerian literature that details a land that mirrors the garden, pointing many times to its purity and cleanliness. This was a place created by gods, for gods, where they could live in their garden paradise. It's easy to see how this could be adapted for the tale in the Bible of Adam and Eve, and warn of how their sin deprived humanity from this godly utopia.