Damien F Mackey
“Thus says the Lord GOD:
‘This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the centre of the nations, with countries all around her’.”
The most common geographical expression used in the first 4 chapters of Genesis (so devoid of specific geographical indicators) is that general word/phrase, “[the] east”.
Thus the Lord plants “a garden in Eden, in the east” (2:8). And “…east of the garden He placed the cherubim” (3:24). And Cain “settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (4:16). (This eastern orientation is taken up again in Ezekiel 47:8).
- Albright, though, contended most interestingly that Hebrew miqeddem means “in primeval times” and not “from or in the east” (W. Albright 1968:97, as cited by Dr. Livingston). That would certainly make the more sense for me, at least in regard to the usage of this phrase in Genesis 2:8; for it would remove a geographical complication (by actually taking the geography right out of it) that I had encountered in “The Location of Paradise”, when trying to situate the Garden “in Eden, in the east” (instead of, perhaps, “in Eden, in primeval times”).
Presumably the Garden of Eden still remained the primary point of reference or orientation for exiled man and woman: their prototypal holy place. Just as Jerusalem would later be for the Israelites/Jews even during their various exiles (Assyria, Babylon). Based on the testimony of Jesus as I have interpreted it, what became the site of Jerusalem was the very site where Abel the Priest was slain by his envious brother, Cain, when the former was bringing his acceptable offering unto the holy mountain (Genesis 4:4-8). Wherever Adam and Eve may have dwelt subsequent to the Fall, the Garden of Eden presumably continued to be the ‘altar’ to where Adam seasonally would bring his offerings. Perhaps pious tradition can fill in at least one gap by telling us that Adam (his head, at least) was buried at this sacred site (Jerusalem). Thus R. Graves (The Greek Myths, 146:2): “… according to Ambrose (Epistle vii. 2), Adam’s head was buried at Golgotha, to protect Jerusalem from the north”.
This may, in fact, be the very origin of the name of that place:
So they took Jesus; and carrying the Cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him … (John 19:17, 18).
The Divine plan of salvation has this perfect symmetry about it:
the New Adam redeemed humankind, died, was buried and rose, precisely where the Old Adam had caused humankind’s Fall, and was ultimately buried.