Glenn Morton: Is the Garden of Eden real?

I am going to introduce myself. I am a retired geophysicist with 47 years of searching for oil all over the world. I was Mgr of Gulf of Mexico, Dir. of Subsurface tech for the North Sea, Dir. of Technology, and retired as Exploration Director for China. I have seen geological data all over the world, and sadly what is missing in most discussions of Genesis, etc is input from geology.

I have searched for 50 years for a way for the stories in Genesis to be true. My kids can tell you how much time I spent on this. And in early April, I found the thing that I had been looking for for decades. The Rivers of Eden describe an actual geography–but the time is not what most christians want.
I was saddened to see that William Craig Lane ended his search for Adam and Eve. I think we Christians have not thought in older time frames. I hope pictures load or my time here will be short. Geology works on pictures. What I am posting is abstracted from here, which has the pictures even if this post doesn’t.

The rivers of Eden describes the Eastern Mediterranean area as it was 5.3 myr ago. It points to Eden being located in the only place on earth that was flooded with a flood that matches the Biblical description of Noah’s flood. How did that happen? How is that possible? Below, I show how the Bible does match that time frame. It is up to you to decide how this occurred.

Eden is not popular with our theologians anymore. To me, this is a problem in need of solution because I believe Christian theology requires Eden and the events there to be real historical events. Most modern Christians don’t think Eden’s geography is real. And they do so for good reason, today’s geography makes Eden impossible. Eden is reserved for a special castigation and unbelief by our scholars. John Monday writes:

" Some have gone further and claimed the geographical allusion is to a fantasy. For Cassuto, ‘The Garden of Eden according to the Torah was not situated in our world.’ Skinner claimed: ‘it is obvious that a real locality answering the description of Eden exists and has existed nowhere on the face of the earth…(T)he whole representation (is) outside the sphere of real geographic knowledge. In (Genesis 2) 10-14, in short, we have…a semi-mythical geography.’ For Ryle, ‘The account…is irreconcilable with scientific geography.’ Radday believed that Eden is nowhere because of its deliberately tongue-in-cheek fantastic geography. McKenzie asserted that ‘the geography of Eden is altogether unreal; it is a Never-never land.’ Amit held the garden story to be literary utopiansim, that the Garden was ‘never-known,’ with no real location. Burns’ similar view is that the rivers were the entryway into the numinous world. An unusual mixture of views was maintained by Wallace, who held that the inclusion of the Tigris and Euphrates indicated an ‘earthly geographic situation,’ but saw the Eden narrative as constructed from a garden dwelling-of-God motif (with rivers nourishing the earth) combined with a creation motif, both drawing richly from those motifs as found in Ancient Near East mythological literature. " John C. Munday, Jr., "Eden’s Geography Erodes Flood Geology,"Westminster Theological Journal, 58(1996), pp. 123-154,p.128-130

John Worrall, professor of the philosophy of science at the London School of Economics, said:
" There is an enormous difference between myths like the Garden of Eden – so crazy even bishops don’t believe it – and those myths which, as yet, have no evidence to back them up. Camelot falls into this category. " Link no longer works but can be found on

So, is the geography of Eden real? I hope to show that it was real, and that geography has changed, and the description of Eden no longer fits today. But it is going to stretch the comfort of many.

The question I have come to is “How on earth did Genesis 2:8-13 come to describe the geography of the eastern Mediterranean sea bottom, which at the time was dry land during the Messinian Salinity Crisis?” And that location for Eden lies in the only flood in geologic history that is local, and matches precisely the description provided by Genesis 7 and 8.

8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. " The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ge 2:8–14). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. (Note, all Bible quotations come from this source)

Six million years ago the strait at Gibraltar closed, cutting the Mediterranean off from its main source of water. In the Mediterranean basin, more water evaporates from it than rivers can supply. Because of this, the entire Mediterranean sea dried up, leaving a few big brinish lakes and the rest was desert or grasslands where the rivers flowed in. Things were very different back then. What I am showing is what geology says about the eastern dried out Mediterranean 5.3 million years ago…I am the one who gave the names to the rivers based upon geologic reasoning.

The first river is the river Pison and it is said to compass the land of Havilah. Genesis 25: says: And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria.

This places Havilah in Arabia or the Sinai. In 2019 Matt and Ryan presented a paper on this question at an AAPG sponsored geological conference.

Yossi Mart and William B.F. Ryan Abstract

“The offshore extension of Afiq Canyon is a deep valley, buried under thick Plio-Quaternary sediments beneath the continental slope off the southern coastal plain of Israel. … Additional valleys of similar dimensions and characteristics to the marine extension of Afiq Canyon occur elsewhere along the continental slope of the entire Levant, suggesting that several rivers of the fluvial system of the Levant, which drained northwestern Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea during the Oligo-Miocene, still prevailed in the Messinian . The Afiq Canyon and its offshore apron as well as equivalents such as the Nahr Menashe fluvial system off Lebanon, imply that the geography of the Levant during late Miocene differed from the present. The Levant Rift could not have been a continuous tectonic depression as it is in the present, but rather a sufficiently disconnected series of grabens that allowed large rivers to still flow in between. The presence of the Afiq apron of substantial volume and with a thickness approaching 200 m along its apex confirms active fluvial systems feeding their bedloads into the Mediterranean as recent as 5 million years ago.” 1

This is the Pison river system and when the Mediterranean was a dry mostly arid land, this river flowed over the present continental shelf and ended up on the former Mediterranean sea bed.

The second river is easy to identify because the only river that encompasses the land of Cush/Ethiopia between the White and Blue Nile tributaries, is the Nile river. During the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the Nile river cut the biggest Grand Canyon that ever existed. It cut over 4000 m into the African granite during this period.

" During the MSC the Nile created an enormous canyon, measured at a depth of more than 4000m below sea level in the offshore area of the delta ." 2

The sands it transported into the Mediterranean are shown on the picture below. The sharp linear cutoff of the yellow Nile sands is due to where the seismic survey stopped:

The southernmost red arrow in the picture above marks where the Pison entered the Mediterranean Sea. That is crooked lines it points to is the Afiq canyon mentioned above. Below is a picture of Afiq canyon from another paper, it is an enlargement and a bit fuzzy but can be read.

We now have two of the Biblical rivers coming together on the floor of the dry Mediterranean basin.

The third river is the Tigris. It is called Hiddekel in Daniel 10:4

" as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel "

Since the other river is always referred to as the Euphrates, Daniel had to be in the Tigris.

The Tigris couldn’t flow south because of topography. It was updip toward the south at that time., So, the Tigris is boxed in by the Euphrates draining to the Mediterranean and the Pison draining to the Mediterranean. Logic dictate that this river entered the Mediterranean basin in between them. Below is the surface slice from 3d seismic showing there is a big river channel entering the Med which I have marked on the picture. The channel is about 3 km wide which means it was a major river. The Blue sediment fan shown in the first picture has to be the Euphrates, because it is closest to Turkey where that river is sourced. The Tigris river is sourced further east in Turkey. The green sands in the picture above is the Nahr Menache, which I believe are the sediments deposited by the Tigris.

The fourth river is the Euphrates, as it is named. It entered the Mediterranean through the province of Hatay, Turkey. The blue sands shown in the picture below are mostly from the Euphrates river, which even today gets about 62 miles from the Mediterranean coast at just this location. Today uplift along the coast turns the Euphrates away from its closest sea and heads it to the Persian Gulf.

This is because the crash of Africa into Eurasia has changed the tilt of the land since then. But during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, when the Mediterranean was dry, the Great Euphrates dumped its sand in the same place we find the Pison and Nile(Gihon) dumping their sands. The waters of these 3 rivers would have intermingled.

Putting this all together, this is a schematic of what I think the preflood rivers looked like and how they related to each other. Let’s start with what Scripture says:

“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” Gen 2:10

That description can be matched precisely so long as one treats the word translated as ‘heads’ as meaning “primary or chief or main”.Ro’sh can mean this. Under this word choice,it reads,

And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four main [rivers].

Doing that, and placing Eden in he midst of the main rivers,and making the area west of Eden into something that resembles the Okovango Delta of the Kalahari desert, or the Sudd or South Sudan, then one gets the following picture.

The area west of Eden in this scenario would look something like the Sudd swamp of southern Sudan. From Google maps, you can see channels going every which way::

Eden’s geography can be quite real and quite historical. The question is, are you willing to go where the data of geology and the data of the Bible lead?

Now, I have shown that at one time, 5-6 myr ago, the rivers of Eden met on the bottom of the dry Mediterranean basin. I think that is where Eden was. The geography is real, but it isn’t applicable to our time. Geography changes.

So, here is the question, How is it that the Bible mentions these 4 rivers which are impossible to be together today, but which were together 5 myr ago in a basin that experienced the most massive flood every known. That flood would have matched Noah’s flood as described.

  1. Noah’s flood lasted a year. Geological cores from the flood layer show that the filling was extremely rapid–within an inch of sedimentation. Calculations show that it would have taken about a year to refill the Mediterranean 8.4 months to 2 years are recent estimates.

2.That flood would have covered many high mountains within the basin, but whose tops were below sea level. Noah’s flood says the same thing. “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered” Gen 7:20
When the dam at Gibraltar broke, in what would be a great possibility for the ‘fountains of the deep’, waters spewed into the empty basin at over 220 mph (red in the picture below is that fast.

  1. If you read the word ‘eretz’ as land rather than as planet earth, then Genesis 7:21 is absolutely true: The land was destroyed.

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the land, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

  1. Constant rain would occur because the flood waters filling the basin would push moist air up which would cool, condense to clouds and cause long periods of constant rain.

  2. Furthermore, in Gen 6:11, God says he will destroy the ‘eretz’ (land). And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. This can’t happen with a global flood; we still have land. It doesn’t happen with a Mesopotamian flood–Mesopotamia is still there. But with a big local flood, like the infilling of the Mediterranean, that land has actually been destroyed. It no longer exists.

To top this off, this time period was when Hominids first appear on earth. This is the only time we could have had a primal pair of Adam and Eve. And this makes people nervous about having Adam be a small brained person. I have a series of posts here which discuss this and other issues.

If you are worried about a small brain being stupid, see my post discussing a normal modern human with a brain the size of an australopithecus.

If you don’t think Adam could have lived that far back, consider the series When Did Adam Live. Since humanity’s oldest genes are 5.3 myr of age, genealogically, this is the only time a primal pair of parents could have existed, see here. Religion goes way back, meaning religion is not a new thing. The curses given to Adam and Eve both involve their brains growing bigger, which implies strongly that Adam and Eve were early hominids. Why would God curse big-brained Neolithic farmers with what they already had? More evidence tomorrow.


Aren’t the four rivers supposed to have their sources, not their mouths, in Eden?

Just like to note that this is partially copied from Glenn’s blog post here:

1 Like

Crud, I can only post 1 picture and I need 3. I will put links to the pictures and you will have to be bothered by going to those links.

What the NIV says is "A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ge 2:10). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

It is the split of the one river to become a source for the others that is hydrologically strange, and I will address that more fully in a post on the strange hydrology of Eden. Above sea level the only place a river splits is at its delta, the distributaries.That is right where the river meets the sea, and instead of watering the garden, the water goes into the sea. So geologically, a delta doesn’t fit what the Bible describes.
The other condition which can split the river is flat land like occurs in the Sudd of the Nile. Here is a google shot of how the Nile river splits into many streams. The land is very flat there. Picture here

The Sudd is in southern Sudan.

So to fit the description, we need flat land, not at a delta where the river meets the sea.

The Bible says that “it was separated into four headwaters” so we must consider what a head water is for a river. Here is a picture of the Mississippi River system with all the tributaries, any and all of which are headwaters for the Mississippi river.

Picture here

I like to point out that if North America had been discovered and settled from Oregon area, the first people over the mountains would have given the Missouri river a different name, say, the Toodle River, and considered the source of the Toodle to be what we call the source of the Missouri. And they would have called it the Toodle River all the way down to New Orleans. A ‘headwater’ is any source for a river system. What humans call the source for the river is a historical accident, not a fundamental feature of the river system. The current Mississippi headwater wasn’t named until I believe, the 1830 when one guy proclaimed a given lake as its source. Again a historical accident.

Given that, here is a picture of how I do the rivers of Eden in my scenario matching up with actual Eden.

The one river leaves the spring at Eden (which will be explained as an artesian spring,) leaves Eden and hits the flat land of the desciccated Med and splits with each of the splits going to a different river, thus sourcing or becoming a headwater of each river.

For those who want Eden above sealevel, I know of no river system in the world where 1 spring feeds multiple rivers. Such a scenario would require exacting equal erosion of the spillways for each river. That is like balancing a pencil on its point. But in this deep basin, I can have 1 spring feed one river and have it split on the flat ground and feed other river systems.

No, to fit the description you need the four rivers originating at a common source, not ending at a common swamp. The flow is in the opposite direction in Genesis and in your scenario. That the biblical description violates what we know of rivers is an argument against the reality of the description, not a reason to assume a complicated scenario.

Why? I quoted the NIV translation which says: A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters

and here is how I parse it.

A river watering the garden flowed from Eden[flowed out of Eden, not towards it]; from there [the one river mentioned in the first clause[ was separated into four headwaters. My map clearly shows one river leaving the circle, which is Eden and is split into 4 rivers which become ‘headwaters’ of the four rivers. I will stand on what I got here. I don’t see the objection.

King James says the same: And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads

It isn’t a river flowing INTO Eden, Scripture seems clear it is flowing out of Eden.

AV says the same thing. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Such things happen.

I think I figured out the issue. The word used as headwaters or heads is ro’s. It has the meaning “head” (not head waters), ‘Chief’, Top. or I guess you could say ‘main’. Thus the verse is probably best read as And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four ‘chief’ [rivers].

With this one doesn’t have the headwaters flowing into Eden against the actual words of Scripture. Which says the river flowed out of Eden. It is interesting to me that when the translators have used ‘headwaters’ waters actually isn’t in the text. It just says head/chief/main/principal. Hope this helps. if not. we will agree to disagree on this.

Also, it seems clear that the word translated as flowed out, or went out is exactly that: to go or come out or forth, depart The river departed Eden.

It seems to me that it is hard to go out when everything is coming in. If this doesn’t resolve it then we can each go our separate ways in peace.

I think you misconstrued my objection. The bible clearly has a single river originating in Eden and then splitting into four rivers that go on to the four countries described. Those countries must thus be downstream from Eden, not down a little stream and up another. I think your scenario requires equivocating between two meanings of one name, as if you say that the Mississippi River originates in the Appalachians (of course we call it the Ohio, but you could call it that) and then goes on to go all around the Louisiana Purchase (of course we call that the Missouri, but you could call it the Mississippi) So you’re saying that the Ohio means the Missouri, but I say they’re not the same thing. The description in the bible corresponds to no reality, nor does it correspond to your unevidenced scenario. That’s what I’m trying to say. Now of course the obvious solution is that Genesis is not history.

I also find the biological part of the story unlikely, but maybe somebody else will try that one.

Hi Glennn! You took your time :slightly_smiling_face:.

Ok, John, I got your 2nd note and see that my argument fell flat in your view. That is fine. I quote from your first note. If one is insistent on having an ahistorical bible then my views are not for you. Given that I have about 2-4 months to live, my goal is not to convince those who have other views but to show to those who want a historical scripture that there might be a way.Thus I don’t have time to get distracted on rabbit trails. I will stand with my interpretation of the Rivers. I can’t figure out why, if one has a way to make it true, one would chose a way that makes it untrue. Just my view.

Hi Roy, took me a while to figure out where to go on this site. lol

Since I probably won’t be allowed more than one picture I will insert links to the pictures. Sorry about this but I am a newbie here. LOL, and I am limited to 2 links in a post. This will bother yall more than me.

Putting Adam back 5.3 myr ago All sorts of things in the Bible fall into place.

1.This the only flood in earth history that matches the Biblical description exactly. It occurred just at the time when the Rivers of Eden were for the only time in geologic history flowing into the same spot. To view it as John does means the account will forever be false because no one source can source the Nile, the Tigris, the Euphrates and the Pison. This is just the time when hominids first appear on earth and it matches the time of the oldest genes in the human population. Indeed, the average age of a human gene is one million years and it’s origin predates H. sapiens Here is a picture of the age of various human genes.

  1. This is the only time in geologic history that the named rivers flow into the same place. (Sorry John, I don’t accept your interpret. of the Rivers.) It is amazing to me that the Biblical description of Eden is an exact match for any real geography but it matches that of 5.3 myr ago in the eastern Mediterranean region… The Tigris and Euphrates, the Gihon which encompasses Cush can only be the Nile, and the Pison which flowed out of Havilah which the Bible places in Arabia, all were in Eden. Their positions are marked on the PBS map below showing the locations I believe they entered the basin in based upon interpretations of 3D seismic data shown in the literature. That a river was at each of these locations is certain. One could of course squabble about the name. They do match what Scripture says about Eden.
    Picture here

The area from the lake to the Levant coast is absolutely huge, but, as I said, would have been watered by 4 big rivers each of whom was mentioned in Scripture. The sediment from these four rivers would have created a land of intersecting deltas and built up a land gently sloping to the brine lake. It would have looked much like southern Louisiana only larger, and as with the Okovango delta in the Kalahari desert, much wildlife would have flourished there (see the PBS video (11m long) That Time the Mediterranean Sea Disappeared). It is on youtube.

3. It was just at the time when the earliest hominids appeared on earth. The earliest known as of this writing is A. kadabba dated to 5.6 myr. A flood at this time, when humans are brand new can be anthropologically universal and the theology of the young-earthers can be correct. If all the humans are confined to that basin, then when the flood happened, they all died. One doesn’t have to reject Noah’s flood as myth if we place the flood in the Mediterranean basin at this time.

4.One couldn’t easily walk out of this area so an ark was necessary. The Mediterranean basin is huge, an equal distance from one end to the other the same as crossing the USA. As air is pushed out of the basin, it would have created weird air fronts at the tops of the basin as the evicted air pushed outward away from the basin, and I feel certain it would have rained all around the rim of the basin, again making it difficult for someone to walk to safety.

In Mesopotamia where many put the flood, I want to ask why didn’t Noah et al, just climb the Zagros Mountains a two day walk away?

5, It covered high mountains. This is the only local flood ever proposed that could cover 15,000 foot high mountains. Gravity models of the basin strongly suggest it was that deep or even deeper in parts. Note that in the model below they place the original Messinian surface, the red line in both models, at 7 km below sea level. Even after 2 km of salt is deposited, the depth of the basin would be more than 5 km below sea level.
See the picture at:
discourse.biologos org /uploads/db1313/original/2X/5/529a370bc9df8729c4aa4ae0b01cf229b90429e0.png

7.The length of time is approximately correct. Modeling of fluid flow shows that, depending upon how large the breach in the Gibraltar dam was, it would fill in between 8 months and 2 years.

Interestingly the western part of the basin would partially fill before the eastern Mediterranean even started filling. It is estimated that the eastern Mediterranean would require about 200 days to fill after the partial filling of the western basin. This is quite close to the 150 days of water prevailing recorded in the Scripture.

See the last picture in my opening post have to get rid of a link.

8.An object floating on the waters could have easily landed in southern Turkey, which the Bible calls the mountains of Ararat!. The Bible does use the plural for mountains, not the singular, so the Bible doesn’t say mount Ararat. Again, in Mesopotamia where so many place the flood, the ark would flow south into the Indian Ocean so how did it land in Turkey?

9.The curses are explained because Adam really was a smaller brained hominid. Giving these curses to any Homo sapiens would have been a big so what? They already had pain in childbirth and sweat of the brow problems. See (adam and eve’s curses are curses of a bigger brain on my blog themigrantmind.blogspot. com)

10.Only a deep basin explains the strange and weird hydrology going on in Eden. (see the strange hydrology article on my blog the migrantmind.blogspot. com)One has a hard time finding anyplace like that above sea level today.

  1. Explains the rainbow (see the rainbow article on themigrantmind.blogspot. com) or rather lack there of.

12.Explains how a land on earth could never have been rained on(see the rainbow article on my blog themigrantmind.blogspot. com–Mesopotamia always got rain.

13.Explains the phrase–there was no man to till the ground. I know most people believe there was farming and technology before the flood, but I don’t. I think translators have inserted their view of what life was like into the translation, just like people have placed King Arthur into the Age of Chivalry when in fact he was a 5th century barbaric warlord… See the technology articles on my blog themigrantmind.blogspot. com

I know of no other flooding event in geologic history that can satisfy the above check list. I also know of no other apologetical view that accounts for so many of the interlocking pieces of Genesis and gives us a way to view this as real, divinely inspired history. The story of Noah could not have been handed down via oral tradition. Nor could the rivers of Eden have been handed down that way. It was due to Divine inspiration. How was anyone to even have a clue that the rivers of Eden match an actual geography–albeit not at a time anyone likes? But do our ‘likes’ determine what is true? I don’t think so.

I love how our theologians have simply given up on Eden as shown by the quote below:

" Some have gone further and claimed the geographical allusion is to a fantasy. For Cassuto, ‘The Garden of Eden according to the Torah was not situated in our world.’ Skinner claimed: ‘it is obvious that a real locality answering the description of Eden exists and has existed nowhere on the face of the earth…(T)he whole representation (is) outside the sphere of real geographic knowledge. In (Genesis 2) 10-14, in short, we have…a semi-mythical geography.’ For Ryle, ‘The account…is irreconcilable with scientific geography.’ Radday believed that Eden is nowhere because of its deliberately tongue-in-cheek fantastic geography. McKenzie asserted that 'the geography of Eden is altogether unreal; it is a Never-never land. ’ John C. Munday, Jr., “Eden’s Geography Erodes Flood Geology,” Westminster Theological Journal, 58(1996), pp. 123-154,p. 128-130

What are they going to do when faced with a real possibility for a real Eden? I think they will still deny any chance of Eden being real. I have already had that experience with a well known theologian.

But to give up on Eden, is also to give up on the Fall, which is the basis for why Christ came and why he died. I agree with H. G. Wells that if the Fall didn’t happen, Christianity collapses:

" If all the animals and man have been evolved in this ascendant manner, then there would have been no first parents, no Eden, and no Fall. And if there had been no Fall, the entire historical fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin and the reason for an atonement, upon which current teaching bases Christian emotion and morality, collapses like a house of cards ." H. G. Wells, The Outline of History, (Garden City: Doubleday, 1961), p. 776-777

I am showing how, in an evolutionary world we can still have a primal pair–Adam and Eve, by moving them way back in time. And if they existed, then so did the Fall! And if we have the Fall, Christianity stands like a giant granite mountain, not like a house of cards. I firmly believe, after 50 years of searching that Christianity has no reason now to shrink and cower in the face of science. Christianity and the early stories of Genesis are historically true.

Some don’t want me to create a complicated scenario. Well, Truth is sometimes complicated! Declaring Scripture false and agreeing with the atheists, is quite simple.

Wait, you’re burying the lead here. It’s a tragedy, and you have my sympathies.

I would put it quite differently: only if one is insistent on having a historical bible would your views be at all attractive. And your interpretation required violence to the clear sense of the biblical description. As I said, the Ohio River is not the same as the Missouri.

As a biologist, I recoil at that description. You’re talking about the coalescents of various genes. But there’s no reason why coalescents should be associated with a bottleneck, and if there were the sustained bottleneck necessary there should be some serious concentration of coalescents at that time. It’s also the case that there are more than 4 alleles shared with other primates for a couple of known HLA genes.

These humans are austalopithecines, right? Who had an advanced civilization, with cities, agriculture, domesticated animals, and the ability to build gigantic boats? At least that’s what the bible describes. There may well be fossils of australopithecines at the bottom of the Med, but they’re also all over Africa. Are humans an unreported australopithecine species with no fossil record (except a hypothetical submerged one)? If their post-flood history began in Turkey, why are no hominids known from outside Africa until H. erectus millions of years later? And what about the immediately post-flood generations, which again seem to be building cities, etc., for which we have no evidence? I don’t think your scenario fits either Genesis nor earth history; it reconciles the two by distorting both.

It’s not that it’s complicated. It’s that it’s unnecessarily and implausibly complicated. Of course I’m an atheist, so not predisposed to rescue Genesis as history. I don’t think any of the Christians here is agreeing with you either. At least nobody has responded.

I have outlived 3 prognostications of my death by 2005, 2013, and 2019 and now in January they said I had six months. I have lived a life that few get to live–lived on 3 different continents, been to Tibet, Antarctica and 34 different countries, found a billion barrels of oil with my teams, published 100+ articles, and now, with finding that the river description of Genesis can match a real geography, it is the cherry on a 50 year long search for a way to make it possible for the Bible to be actually true. I will point you to (using one half of my allowed links), The Migrant Mind: Where is God in the Pandemic?

I find God to be very good even during these difficult times. God has been extremely good to let me live to see my grandkids, and to let me live to finish what I started at age 19. I am now 70, having worked on this for 51 years. I have run my race, but that doesn’t mean I get to lay back. We Christians should go out of this world like we actually believe there is another world we will really go to.

The week the cancer got to my bones, and I was a bit bummed out, God showed me a quote by Steven Weinberg saying that Quantum Mechanics couldn’t be formulated without human beings in the middle of it. What that means is what Stephen M. Barr said, he having realized this long before me:

But this was only one of the remarkable reversals produced by the quantum revolution. In the opinion of many physicists-including such great figures in twentieth-century physics as Eugene Wigner and Rudolf Peierls-the fundamental principles of quantum theory are inconsistent with the materialist view of the human mind. Quantum theory, in its traditional, or “standard,” or “orthodox” formulation, treats “observers” as being on a different plane from the physical systems that they observe. A careful analysis of the logical structure of quantum theory suggests that for quantum theory to make sense it has to posit the existence of observers who lie, at least in part, outside of the description provided by physics. This claim is controversial. There have been various attempts made to avoid this conclusion, either by radical reinterpretations of quantum theory (such as the so-called “many-worlds interpretation”) or by changing quantum theory in some way. But the argument against materialism based on quantum theory is a strong one, and has certainly not been strong textrefuted. The line of argument is rather subtle. It is also not well- known, even among most practicing physicists. But, if it is correct, it would be the most important philosophical implication to come from any scientific discovery.” Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), p. 27-28
That was the first cheer up card God sent. I wrote my quantum soul article on that.

As I said, we disagree on the ‘clear sense’ of the biblical description. You haven’t answered why the word ‘waters’ isn’t there when it said they became the four chiefs. I think the lack of that word waters means that it isn’t referring to headwaters. You do. This is an irreconcilable difference. So, what you should do is reject my views. It isn’t a big deal. One can’t sell ideas to everyone.

Recoil away. There isn’t any reason it can’t be associated with a bottleneck. When I wrote my book in 1997 I left the MHC as a big thorn in the side of this view. Since then gene conversion and other processes show that the MHC diversity is not due to singleton mutation and thus can’t be dated by that means.

“*Some new alleles are the result of point mutations, but many arise from the combination of sequences from different alleles either by genetic recombination or by gene conversion, a process in which one sequence is replaced, in part, by another from a different gene (Fig. 5.19).” Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et a, Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition.

"Sequences can be transferred from one gene to a similar but different gene by a process known as gene conversion. For this to happen, the two genes must become apposed during meiosis. This can occur as a consequence of the misalignment of the two paired homologous chromosomes when there are many copies of similar genes arrayed in tandem-somewhat like buttoning in the wrong buttonhole. During the process of crossing-over and DNA recombination, a DNA sequence from one chromosome is sometimes copied to the other, replacing the original sequence. In this way several nucleotide changes can be inserted all at once into a gene and can cause several simultaneous amino acid changes between the new gene sequence and the original gene. Because of the similarity of the MHC genes to each other and their close linkage, gene conversion has occurred many times in the evolution of MHC alleles." Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et a, Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition. Had to pull the link but you can find it on google books

btw you should know I have a 1 gb database of scientific information and quotes from every book and article I have ever read over these last 50 years. I find it very useful. I can call up information like that above in a couple of seconds.

Why don’t we wait on this issue. I will get to it. I can’t get to everything all at once and doing one big post a day is really about all I can or want to do.

You have my sympathies for being an athiest. That is a sickness much worse than what I have. FYI, I spent 16 years of serious doubt about Christianity, thinking it couldn’t be true. I even had serious philosophical and theological discussions with my friend Will Provine, a guy who liked to brag that he could convert 90% of christians to athiesm in his class.

As a Christian, my responsibility is to proclaim God. I am not responsible for results. Even if no one goes with me, I don’t care, I still will do what I believe to be correct. I guess, unlike others, I dont let others define my worth. I let facts define my work. That is a better way of life.

I will proclaim him until the day I get bed ridden and try to do so after that. If you go look me up on the internet you will find me discussed on a few atheist networks because I kinda ran with you guys back in the 1990s and early 2000s before I decided atheism was nothing but a faith as well. It too is an unprovable philosophical position and one I believe is quite wrong now.

God Bless you John. you might be interested in seeing the one thing that kept me as a Christian, the one thing I couldn’t get around and explain away. It was my Turkish translator experience. It really was an amazing thing.

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I think the lack of the word “waters” doesn’t affect the meaning when we already know we’re talking about a river.

It’s not a question of dating. It’s a question of particular alleles that are found in multiple species and thus must predate the separation of those species.

I chose to take no offense. But that was a pathological statement. But I can’t resist a little spelling flame.

Really? I thought you had merely rejected creationism and YEC especially, not Christianity. Tell me you’re not back on creationism now. That would be tragic.

The Strange Hydrology of Eden
Glenn R. Morton 2020

First to John who said:

lol, there are two ways of interpreting that verse, your way, and my way. Why am I not surprised you chose your way. It actually says ‘chief’ not ‘chief waters’ as you wish into it. Making up data to fit one’s view is not a good scientific procedure.

Excuse me but that is a question of dating the age of genes.

It wasn’t meant in an offensive manner. My father was an atheist. I have had several bosses who were atheists. I do find much wrong with that world view. If someone having a different opinion of your position bothers you, well, that is life for all of us. As to spelling, I apologize. Chemo has hurt my eyes. I will try to do better in that regard.

Well, clearly you didn’t pay much attention.

Now to the strange hydrology.
As a geophysicist of 47 years experience all around the world, I view some parts of the Bible differently than theologians who don’t know much geology. As a geoscientist, I know that the hydrology described is highly unusual–mists, rivers splitting into four big rivers etc. I have arrived at a professional conclusion, this kind of hydrology can only exist in a flat bottomed basin. Interestingly, there is a massive, US-sized dry basin right next to where the Nile, Euphrates, Pison and Tigris flowed five and a half million years ago. As you read, enlarge the pictures to see for yourselves what I am saying about them.

Many won’t like how far back in time this is. That is too bad because you will miss seeing things from the Bible match up with modern geologic knowledge.

I place Noah’s flood in the dry Mediterranean basin because it is the only cataclysmic flood which matches the Biblical description. It filled up in about a year’s time, the basin was up to 5 km deep, meaning any mountain less than 5 km high would be covered by this flood, and the fact that the rivers flow into this area at that time, makes this basin a prime geological candidate for being Noah’s flood.

No Rain
for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth,

This is an interesting passage which rules out Mesopotamia as the site for Eden. Mesopotamia was a well-watered region throughout geologic time. Where I place Eden was in a deep dry Mediterranean basin, which is a real geologic event. Deep basins like the Dead Sea or Death Valley, get very little rain, but this basin, the dry Mediterranean basin was likely 10-12 times deeper than either of those. Plus the eastern end of the basin was the upwind direction for the prevailing wind, and that means that air dropping into that part of the basin, would lose water saturation as it dropped, and thus making rain almost impossible.

Mists Galore

As I said, the hydrology described by Scripture only works in a flat bottomed deep basin. Consider Gen 2:6
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

I believe this is artesian flow causing the mists. Other than areas with hot geysers, I cannot think of anywhere that is watered by mists rising from the ground. I once owned a ranch and had a small temporary spring. Water which landed on the adjacent hill, (about 20-30 feet higher than the spring), would seep through the hill’s rocks and bubble up in this low area. It would last about 2 weeks after a rain. While it didn’t have the energy or pressure to spray into the air, water which drops several thousand feet in rocks very well could have had the pressure to form a mist when they spewed into the deep dry, Mediterranean basin.

So how did that happen in Eden? Below is a cross section of the geology of central Israel which I have extended to the continental shelf edge… Note the geologic rocks are dipping to the west, towards the Mediterranean Sea.

This geometry of rocks is certain to yield artesian flow at the continental edge. The situation would be a bit more complicated than what I have shown, but this simplification shows the basic idea. Artesian wells occur only in valleys, never on top of the mountain.

Egypt’s coast at the time is a bit more complicated. Due to limited pictures and links I will skip the steps I took to get to this point but they can be found on the post with this title on my blog themigrantmind. Below is what offshore Egypt would have looked like during the Messinian

The places I marked the possible artesian locations are channel cuts into the Abu Madi (first 3 from the left) and small thrust faults shown on the cross section in he middle of the section. Given that the rain falls on Egypt, 5 km higher than this surface was at the time the Mediterranean was a desert, there would have been a lot of pressure to these artesian wells.

I know the Abu Madi formation is capable of artesian flow because it is made of sand and shale. The sands today are filled with natural gas produced by the Egyptian oil industry. a cross section from another place illustrates how faulting could be the source of some artesian flow. One can see a cross section of the stratigraphy of the Abu Mahdi at the full post at my blog themigrantmind…

I have shown that it is quite possible for what the Bible says to be true. Mists would have arisen in this land regardless of whether one accepts this as Eden’s location or not.

The Right Rivers!

This has been covered above but I will keep it here. The second clue that this dry basin marks Eden comes from the fact that this is the only time in geologic history that the Nile, Euphrates, Pison and Tigris flowed into the same region. See the first map in this post or for more detail Today, the Euphrates, Tigris and the area drained by the Pison(it no longer exists), empty into the Indian Ocean. The Nile still empties into the Mediterranean. If The Bible is true about these river, then this is the only time and place where one could make a case for a real Eden. If this location is rejected, then Eden becomes a fantasy as many of our theologians and atheists, have claimed.

“Skinner claimed: 'it is obvious that a real locality answering the description of Eden exists and has existed nowhere on the face of the earth…(T)he whole representation (is) outside the sphere of real geographic knowledge.” John C. Munday, Jr., "Eden’s Geography Erodes Flood Geology,"Westminster Theological Journal, 58(1996), pp. 123-154,p.128-130

All I can say to Skinner is that there was a time when a locality answering the description of Eden existed. He just didn’t have the requisite geological knowledge.

This event comes at the same time as genetics says the oldest human genes originated. It is the only time genetically we could have a primal pair of parents. Isn’t that an interesting coincidence? But one will object, only small brained hominids lived at that time. That is true, but one Homo Sapiens, named Daniel Lyon, lived a full life in New York, having normal intelligence but the brain size of a two million year old hominid, H. habilis. Daniel Lyon lived a normal life, showing brain size doesn’t matter to one who bears the image of God. Furthermore after I talk about the physical issues of the basin and the flood, I will show that the curses of Eden both involve the brains of Adam and Eve’s descendants getting bigger. The curses are meaningless if they were given to Neolithic farmers who already had the problems of a big brain. If they are Neolithic farmers as everyone claims, why curse them with something they already have, namely problems arising from having a big brain?

Rivers Splitting

Another odd thing about Eden’s hydrology concerns the splitting of rivers. Scripture says(Genesis 2:6):

“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.”

Rivers don’t split right after the spring that starts them. The only time rivers split into distributaries is when they are on flat land or at their delta, near sea level. This hydrology is telling us that Eden was at a delta or on extremely flat land. The bottom of the Mediterranean desert five and a half million years ago would satisfy that requirement. It requires a deep flat basin for this to happen.

Well, if we assume that Eden was near where the four rivers poured into the basin, and the Edenic river was sourced by an artesian well, as described above, then below is what I think Eden looked like in diagrammatical form:

I don’t believe atheists should be the ones to define Christianity and Biblical interpretation. They are biased. lol In our world, one river doesn’t source four others. So what could this word ‘head’ mean? The Hebrew word means ‘head’, ‘chief’, or ‘principal’. Its definition says nothing about water, or headwaters. But some interpret that verse as requiring that this Edenic river be the source of the other rivers. Now, I had an interesting debate about the word ‘heads’, but the debate got me thinking and I figured a way to explain this if it does indeed mean headwaters. Notice that I have one green river flowing out of Eden and its distributaries, empty into the four other rivers. I am going to suggest that even if you require Eden’s rivers to be ‘headwaters’, a requirement not imposed by the Hebrew but by one’s bias, then there is a way to have these rivers as ‘heads’.

If our continent had first been settled in Oregon, and people crossed the mountains and found the Missouri river and gave it a new name, let’s say, the Toodles river, they would float all the way to Southern Louisiana on the same Toodles river. They would give names to each of the tributaries they passed and in this scenario, we would consider the headwaters of the Toodles to be in Montana and Wyoming, not in Minnesota. What I am saying is that what we call a river’s headwaters, is an accident of history. It was Henry Rowe Schoolcraft in 1832 who named the source of the Mississippi river. He called the lake which he decided was the headwaters of the Mississippi, Veritas Caput. He could have named any of the thousands of heads as the headwaters of the Mississippi.

While most people will not like Adam being as far back as I place him and won’t accept this theory for that reason alone, I have shown above that the strange hydrology of Eden can only fit a deep basin locale. Furthermore,

1-this is the only time in geologic history that the four rivers of Eden are found interacting together in one real place.
2. This is the only place where a flood matching the Biblical description of Noah’s flood actually happened.
3. Only in a deep basin like this can the lack of rain and mists be explained.

The geology is sound. The question is will you follow where the data leads?

Yet you’re the one making up data here. It’s talking about a river flowing from Eden and dividing into four. On this we are agreed, and that’s the important part. There is no clue that these four rivers flow into other rivers that came from far away. The rivers flow into Cush, etc., not from Cush, etc.

No it isn’t. You were talking about dating things based on assumed mutation rates. I’m talking about fitting data to a tree, for which mutation rate is not needed. If humans and gorillas share an allele, that allele must have arisen before the divergence of humans and gorillas. Would you not agree?

No. I’m afraid that it’s you assembling little bits that you can make fit. They don’t actually fit the way you want. Genesis doesn’t describe four rivers flowing to the same place but flowing from it. Genesis doesn’t describe artesian springs but a mist coming from the ground. The age of “the oldest human gene” says nothing about a primal pair. And the problem with your australopithecine scenario isn’t Adam and Eve so much as Noah, the Flood, and what happens in Genesis before and right after the Flood: agriculture, animal husbandry, cities, and boats, all of which Genesis specifically mentions. If you say those are inventions of the authors, how can you believe anything else in the book? Then there’s Noah landing in Turkey; again, he carries domestic animals, food crops, and within a generation there are cities. All this in Turkey before there’s anything in Africa. There might conceivably be a lost australopithecine civilization under the Mediterranean, but how could there be such a thing in the Near East?

Perhaps, but are not Christians also biased? You have a need for Genesis to be true. I lack that need.

This is not relevant. If you name the Ohio River as the headwaters of the Mississippi, you can’t also claim that the Mississippi flows through the whole Louisiana Purchase. This just doesn’t work.

I would, but the data don’t actually lead where you think. You are abandoning the text of Genesis except for a few parts that you can fit into your story.

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I wonder what @davidson thinks?

I did not realize until this interchange that Glenn Morton was publicly engaging in this field again. He is a former YEC who championed for scientific and biblical truth with many really helpful articles (thank you Glenn!). Then he suddenly went dark, presumably tired of the endless rancor, and even pulled all his articles from his website. Fortunately, that history was preserved by others.
I have not seen any of his new work before now, and cannot yet say if they continue in the same spirit as his older work. I suspect that they will at least be thought provoking. I will have to do some reading to be able to specifically comment.


We will disagree agreeably hopefully on this one.

covid has taught us the value of scientific modeling, hasn’t it. I spent the last 8 years of my life involved in a group making reservoir models of oil fields. The number of assumptions that go into these models and others is legion and one ends up with an ediface teetering on the edge of desstruction from the falsification of a one of a mile high of set of assumptions Models are not facts, they are models.

We will get to that, but as I said, I can’t get to everything all at once. And, frankly, you are not my audience. At the end of my life I will look back knowing I had a purpose, more than to destroy other people’s belief system. But to have built a theory that no one else had done–like the theory or not.

We both may be biased, but it isn’t that you lack a need, you don’t want the Bible to be historically true. Stalemate my friend.

I deny that. I just read what it says and compare that to the world and to your scenario.

Well, some one remembers me. lol. I went dark when once too often I found my arguments destroying a YECs faith and them going into atheism. I will pay for those sins in the next life (yes John there is a next life). When my articles were preserved, I consulted with some friends whether or not try to stop it and one friend said that maybe God wanted them up there. I don’t know; still don’t know. It was never my intention to drive YECs into atheism. I went dark and did other useless things, having no idea that I would ever re-engage in this area–having no intention to. But like the previous times I went dark, I was drawn back like a moth to a flame.

Today I no longer argue with YECS unless they push me into a corner. They actually believe God in a way that I don’t like, but which is better, believing God and his word, or believing that God’s word is not historically true and thus at least implicitly agreeing with the atheists who love it when we agree with them and hate it if we don’t?

If you are a hard rock geologist we have studied different parts of the geologic world with our careers. In the oil industry, we prefer soft rocks, often the softer the better. lol. It means more porosity. and more porosity can mean more oil recovery. Hard rocks have little porosity or interest from guys like me. And vice versa.

What I am presenting is geologic data that has come out of the eastern Med in the last 10 years with the gas discoveries there–the work was done by other people not realizing how well it fit with my flood view published in 1997. The Mediterranean FloodŸ Glenn R

It is very hard for me to do much more–like present the life that lived in this basin until the newbie shackles are taken off of me. How long do they last?

edited to add. I don’t like the advertising at Barry’s archive. I didn’t have to ‘get my geology right’ to make a living. Throughout my career, I worked with a few YECs who did great geology. One went out and became a multi-multi-millionaire. He knew the problems his view had, but felt his theology required YEC belief. I ran into others like him. Barry is way over reaching with that claim that I ‘had to get my geology right to make a living’. Bunk!


Since I can’t present the life which was living in this deep basin, I will take a couple of things out of the order I prefer. Since I have such an old Adam, I have to hold to evolution, and that makes lots of Christians nervous. But God controls the chaos in a way that YECs and even TE’s don’t think about. I have a very Calvinist friend who likes my view. lol

How God Controls Evolution

Glenn R. Morton May 14, 2020

edited to add: because of the time frame I have Adam and Eve live, evolution is a necessity thus I need to explain how God controls evolution.

On Biologos, a person was concerned with what the point of God was in the face of evolution. He had become convinced evolution was real, but while reading Francis Collin’s book, in spite of Collins constantly saying God was the creator, Collins never connected God with something which influenced the course of evolution. He later admired that he felt that such a God was useless. My guess is it is this ‘separate magisteria’ idea first proposed by atheist Stephen Jay Gould, and accepted by Collins which causes the discomfort.

“” In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul-and the mind must find a way to embrace both realms." " Francis Collins, The Language of God, (New York: Free Press, 2006), p.6

This isolates God from anything we modern people think of as real. God is a ghost of whom we can have no evidence. My whole blog is dedicated to opposing that view and showing the God is in charge of both scientific data and theological data. Collin’s view makes God a harmless being who can’t engage in Nature at all. I don’t believe our God is that powerless.

The Intelligent Design movement thinks only in terms of either godless randomness or a designer in their own image as being the two options.

" Given the existence of a designer ready and willing to do the work, why should we suppose that random mutations and natural selection are responsible for such marvels of engineering as the eye and the wing? " ~ Phillip E. Johnson, “Evoution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism” First Things, October 1990, p. 18

I say, ‘why not both design and randomness’? Design by use of randomness. That is what this page will discuss.

Indeed, many young-earthers feel the same way about evolution because of the randomness, feeling that God can’t control the randomness.

" Sproul also warns that "if chance exists in any size, shape or form, God cannot exist. The two are mutually exclusive. If chance existed, it would destroy God’s sovereignty. If God is not sovereign, he is not God. If he is not God, he simply is not. If chance is, God is not. If God is, chance is not. " Hank Hanegraaff, The Face that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution, (Nashville: Word Publishing co., 1998), p. 61

I am opposed to this view as well. Our God is greater than randomness. Randomness which is subject to rules, or limitations is quite controllable. Christians have taken the wrong approach to randomness. Below is how randomness is God can control random evolution.

We all know that some DNA mutations, maybe lots of them, result in the death of the individual. This means that there are ‘areas of nonviablity’ in what is called the phase space of DNA. The phase space is a massively multidimentional space where the number of axes is the number of base pairs. Each axis has 4 possible locations, for A,G, C, T. This space represented all possibilities for for a DNA molecule f that length. It is just a Euclidian space with several billion dimensions. Below is what such a space looks like for a 3 base pair long DNA.

Now, I also read Collin’s book and thought that in that book, God was a useless add on–he served no purpose except as word filler and I agree, Collins provides no mechanism by which God can control evolution and the random mutations that take place. But there is a way to view it where God controls the path.

Consider the Hilbert space above and lets draw walls around those nonviable mutation locations . I think we would end up with something like a cave system shown below, where one can randomly walk in any direction except into the walls. Given enough time, a randomly walk would fill the entire cave system.

A random walk by a dot starting anywhere in the cave will eventually be at every point in the cave. (look it up) Now consider a cloud of DNA patterns which represent a species. As the members randomly mutate they will fill the spaces which are viable sequences of DNA.When they go down different passage ways, they create two different species and it happens randomly but under God’s control of the DNA phase space. In this way God controls the randomness and ensures that we would evolve.

Here are two times steps of what I think happens. I had to remove one for lack of links as a newbie. Let’s say life starts at the bottom of this system and let the random walk begin.

One can see the 2nd picture on my blog in the post how god controls evolution themigrantmind

At the time above life has filled a different gallery in the cave system, meaning a new species has arisen, and the original life has gone extinct. The original cavern where life began is empty.

Let’s move to one more step in time.

Now we have several galleries filled with different species. I think the reader gets the idea of how I believe God controlled evolution, indeed, made it totally deterministic via random mutations, otherwise known as a random walk. This view makes God a real player in evolution and not a useless mantra we give lip service to every four pages in our book.

In the above way, God can control what happens in random evolution and ensure that eventually we would evolve. It is design, but not of the kind the ID movement prefers. .