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Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.

Originally titled "The Land of Eden Located" 1964
by David J. Gibson

Chapter Six
Eden in Relation to Geology

Turning back to the Land of Eden, let us consider it for a little from the viewpoint of geology. Can we locate the Eden story geologically, that is, where will it fit into the geologist's scale. To what age does the record belong?

We do not feel that a final solution is yet available, but perhaps a few remarks will not be wholly out of place. These remarks will be exploratory only, awaiting fuller information in the future.

We know that the flowing waters of rivers will cut and erode channels for themselves. As a river picks up material in a place where it is eating out a channel, it will carry this material along while its waters move above a certain velocity, then deposit or drop it again where the waters move slowly. Rivers are thus a very important factor in the science of geology. Geologists have studied these actions of rivers with a good deal of care. By examining the geological strata near a river and noting what deposits the river has laid down, it has been possible for them to tell many an interesting story of events which transpired before there was a human eye to see them.

Some river valleys go a fairly long way back, geologically speaking; others are fairly new. One time I had the privilege of descending into the Red Deer River Valley in Alberta, Canada, at a point where the valley is deep and narrow. I had not been there before, but had heard of the dinosaur and other fossil remains found in parts of the valley.

As I looked up at the high, precipitous walls of the valley, I said to myself, "This valley must be of very recent formation." It aroused a curiosity in geology. Later the matter was discussed with a geologist and he not only agreed with my opinion, but proceeded to explain much of how the valley came to be formed. Thus a thirst for some knowledge of this very interesting subject was stirred.

One would appreciate a very detailed supply of data on the geology of the lower Euphrates-Tigris valley before venturing too far in expressing opinions on that region. However, gathering up such information as at hand we suggest that the Euphrates River goes quite a way back into the past, from the geological view.

For those readers not acquainted with geological terms, may we just briefly explain that before this present time, geologists inform us there was the Pleistocene Epoch frequently referred to as the "Ice Age" or "Ice Ages" as it had cool phases during which, in northern parts of the earth great ice sheets formed. Prior to that was a relatively warm period known as the Pliocene, and before that the Miocene. That is as far back as we need to go for this Discussion.

What Rock Strata Lay Beneath Adam's Feet?
A friend who was resident in the City of Baghdad for some time, told me he noted outcrops of the deep Miocene formation between Baghdad on the Tigris river and Musayib on the Euphrates. The latter place is almost straight south of Baghdad. Again, there are outcroppings of the same strata not far From Hillah, which is close to ancient Babylon, also at Najaf, and west of Basra. From these indications it seems that the Tigro-Euphrates Valley has been cut and eroded down into the Miocene formation from some higher level. If this is right, we might surmise that this happened during either the Pliocene Period or the Pleistocene Epoch (Ice Age).

The important point to be drawn from this is, that whatever may have since occurred by way of river deposits, re-erosion and re-deposit, the fact remains that Miocene formations and all previous strata lay beneath Adam's bare toes. Those earlier ages or eras had come and gone ere Adam drew his first breath. Thus certainly, at least the Miocene Age and all previous ages ante-dated Adam, proven by the fact that Miocene formations underlie the Land of Eden. Closer examination may even prove that the next age after the Miocene, that is, the Pliocene, also ante-dated Adam, but of this we are not dead certain without fuller geological data.

There are those who subscribe to the theory of "Flood-Geology." This teaches that nearly all the geological strata were laid down in one huge, global catastrophe, the Noachian Deluge. Now the relationship between geological formations and the Flood of Biblical history is as yet by no means a clear picture. There is a real need for a close and precise examination of the evidences on this subject. The late Dr. William Bell Dawson of Montreal told me he felt there was an urgent need for someone to make this their lifework. It would require one who is an earnest believer in the Scriptures on the one hand, and well trained in geological learning and observation on the other. So far, no one seems to have accepted the challenge.

The "Flood-geologists" have accomplished some good in challenging and calling in question some of the orthodox geologists I surmises and suppositions, which were a bit too easily put forth and too readily accepted. The idea of slow and very gradual changes in the past has had a few rude shocks, so that the doctrine of uniformity has had to step back slightly in more recent years. It has been admitted that there may have been some sudden and violent changes in the past.

However, while that step-back is a healthy sign, for the clash of theory against theory causes us to the more carefully search for the truth, yet so very much still remains to be unraveled. But it does seem that if our identification mf the Land of Eden is anything like near right, then the main contention of Flood-geology is untenable. As far as the geology of that land is concerned, if it has any meaning, the first man strode atop the Miocene strata, and probably on Pliocene strata also, and these strata with all that again lays beneath them, could not possibly have been deposited by the Flood which occurred long after.

When, then, did Adam appear, in the geological sense? Tossing aside for the moment all date-setting and all time estimates of the geological ages, from the evidences we have so far called up, Adam would come somewhere between the end the Miocene Epoch and the commencement of the present age. Two Epochs intervened here; the warm Pliocene and that mysterious, cool Pleistocene (Ice Age). This reply will be far too broad to satisfy many, but it is better to leave it thus for the present. We will have a little more to say on this in the next chapter, but the final answer awaits much fuller research and study.

End of Chapter Six

 Chapter One  A Few Leading Clues
 Chapter Two  The Rivers Euphrates and Hiddekel
 Chapter Three  The River Pison
 Chapter Four  The River Gihon
 Chapter Five  The Changing River Courses
 Chapter Six  Eden in Relation to Geology
 Chapter Seven  Eden and Biblical Chronology
 Chapter Eight  Cain's City of Enoch
 Appendix A  Are the names in Genesis 2 Postdiluvial?
 Appendix B   Maps, sketches and notes

 David J. Gibson

The Land of Eden