Home Sweet Home: Physical or Spiritual?
We know that the first human beings, Adam and Eve, were placed in the Garden of Eden. But where exactly is the geographic location on the map of this cradle of civilization?
This precise question is posed in Chassidus. Rabbi Dov Ber (son of the Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi) asks: “The Garden of Eden is a physical place on Earth. Why then don’t we find it on the map? Scientists have wondered where is its location; as much as they searched they cannot find its geographic location”?!
The explanation he offers: The Garden of Eden is an ethereal state of being, which is an intermediary between the physical and the spiritual, between matter and spirit. For example: the taste of an apple, though the taste is within the physical apple, yet it does not occupy tangible space. Before Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge their bodies were also on this ethereal state; once they ate from the tree, they became more ‘materialized’ and therefore could no longer remain in the spiritual state of the garden. The Garden of Eden therefore exists on Earth, yet we (with our material eyes) cannot see it on the map. Just like the vegetative properties in the soil cannot be seen on the map.