a letter sent to TPT:
Evidence for the Israel/Lebanon region as the location of Eden and the lost river finds considerable support in the Bible, in the fact that God considers the land of Israel as His Holy land. It was upon one of the mountains in the "land of Moriah" (Genesis 22:2) where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son (a type of the Lord's sacrifice of Jesus). Solomon was told to build the Temple "at Jerusalem in mount Moriah" (2 Chronicles 3:1) and Jerusalem was where the Lord Jesus was actually crucified. By extension, we can assume that when God sacrificed an animal to cover Adam and Eve with its skin (Genesis 3:21), that animal was a Lamb (Revelation 13:8). Therefore, we can be certain from the typology that Adam and Eve, and the center of the Garden of God, were somewhere at or very near geographical Jerusalem. And so was the source of the River.
Now, what exactly do those spiritual realities have to do with the location of the river of Eden? In the future, when the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His Kingdom and Righteous Temple in Jerusalem, the Bible speaks of a river flowing from below the Temple. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of seeing this in a vision:
1Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 2Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. 3And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. 4Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. 5Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 6And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 7Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 9And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 10And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 11But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. 12And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
(Ezekiel 47:1-12 KJV)
The above passage is speaking of the future days on the one-thousand year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem (Revelation 20), and a reconfiguration of the land after the regeneration of the heavens and Earth following the Great Tribulation (see: Jeremiah 4:23-28 & Isaiah 65:17-25). At that time, once again, the land will be like the Garden of Eden (but not quite exactly, from a geological viewpoint).
What Ezekiel wrote about (above) should not be confused with the eternal future time of the new heaven and Earth that comes after the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11).
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
(Revelation 21:1-2 KJV)
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
(Revelation 22:1-2 KJV)
The difference between the earthly Jerusalem of Ezekiel's description, with a river flowing out from below the house of the Lord (the Temple) during the one-thousand-year reign of the Lord (Revelation 20), and the river flowing out from the "throne of God" in the New Jerusalem that John wrote about, is that there is NO TEMPLE in the New Jerusalem.
"And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
(Revelation 21:22 KJV)
The Jerusalem and river described in Ezekiel 47:1-12, and the New Jerusalem and river described in Revelation 22:1-2, are two different places in two different times, though very similar in their descriptions, yet different in important ways.
In summary: The Bible tends to indicate that the river from the Garden of Eden originated in the Holy Land, and from there became four heads. A forensic study of the region's geology tends to support the theory over the alternatively proposed locations of Turkey or Kuwait. What we have not shown is a geologic model for the source of these waters originating from the area of Jerusalem. Keep in mind, however, that Jerusalem sits just west of the Great Rift Valley. It is quite possible that the legendary river of Eden originated from a massive artesian aquifer, the source of which has long since been disrupted by block faulting along the Rift. We know for a scientific fact that there is a considerable amount of "fossil" water under the Middle East in the deep-rock sandstone aquifers of the region such as the Nubian sandstone aquifers and equivalent formations.
Also keep in mind that in the days of Adam and Eve a "mist" went up and watered the face of the Earth within the Garden (Genesis 2:6). Fountains of waters (underground waters under pressure gushing upwards) would certainly be a logical source for the generation of such a mist and would be a logical feed-source for such a river. Certainly, we cannot exclude this possibility. Although the modern-day geology and topography of the Middle-East does not readily reveal the exact location of the Garden of Eden and the four rivers source, guidance by faith from the Holy Bible and a forensic study of the region's geology and topography reveals the matter. The available data appears to suggest that present-day Israel was the central location of the Garden of Eden.