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Garden of Eden

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"That'll teach you for being too dumb to know better."

"Here, mankind's root was innocent; and here
were every fruit and never-ending spring;
these streams—the nectar of which poets sing."

The Garden of Eden is a location in the Abrahamic Creation Myth. According to the Book of Genesis, it was a mythical paradise created by God, which he tasked the primordial man Adam to guard. Adam and his companion, Eve, were free to eat from any tree except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, they were tempted by the serpent into eating the tree's fruit (depicted as a Tempting Apple most of the time). Because of this defiance, the pair was thus expelled from the garden, essentially damning their descendants to burdened lives.

Because of its prominence in the Fall of Man, the garden's imagery lives on in many works of fiction as a symbol of temptation, the folly of man, and paradise lost. A beautiful, idyllic, sinless paradise can bear the garden's name. It can kick out its inhabitants if they break the rules, or it can be corrupted by humankind. More cynical works will see Eden as a restrictive place where man was not free to learn. Some works are subtle allegories to the Biblical legend, while others cherrypick the imagery (the serpent, the Tree, the Tempting Apple, etc.) without it necessarily meaning anything. This page covers all allusions to the legend.

In speculative fiction, Adam And Eve Plots may pair this with a New Eden.

Compare Adam and/or Eve and Forbidden Fruit. Subtrope of Biblical Motifs. See also other famous settings and events from Genesis that have their own pages — Creation Myth, the Tower of Babel, The Great Flood. Contrast Garden of Evil. See also The Promised Land, another purported ideal land from the Old Testament.


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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pleasantville utilizes Adam-and-Eve/Eden symbolism a couple times. The titular location is an innocent 1950's town that loses its innocence; in one scene, Margaret tempts Bud into eating a red apple, alluding to the myth.
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the Garden of Eden, along with the Klingon Qui'Tu and the Romulan Vorta Vor, is conflated with the Vulcan creation myth of Sha Ka Ree, a location from which all life originates and man's questions could be answered.
  • Left Behind (2000) has Chaim Rosenzweig refer to his synthetic fertilizer as The Eden Project, which would make barren lands fertile again for growing food.

  • In the cosmology of The Divine Comedy, Eden is located on the top of Mount Purgatory one the lone island of the Southern Hemisphere. Dante and Virgil enter it in Canto 28 of the Purgatorio and realize that it is one and the same with Parnassus, the mountain Greeks and Romans believed all inspiration came from.
  • East of Eden and its film adaptations, in addition to referencing the Garden in the title, has a plot that parallels the story of Genesis. The book follows a guy named Adam, who starts a family with Cathy on the best ranch in Salinas, California. Cathy is an evil temptress and a parallel to Eve, who later leaves the garden (the ranch) to pursue various sinful ways. Adam has two sons, Cal and Aron, whose names and relationship parallels Cain and Abel.
  • The Faerie Queene:
    • The final cantos of Book I are set in Eden, which is imagined as a lush, English kingdom whose people are being plagued by a dragon. In the Allegory of the poem, Eden represents a just and pious society, while the dragon threatening it represents sin (especially Pride).
    • The Bower of Bliss is a sensual imitation of the Garden of Eden set up by the temptress Acrasia to lower the guards of passing knights with its sheer beauty. It lacks the true glory of Eden, but since Eden was also the site of the original temptation, the comparison is apt.
  • Ernest Hemingway's The Garden Of Eden, despite not featuring any Biblical characters, uses this motif to describe David and Catherine's marriage. While their honeymoon is initially idyllic, the cracks begin to show early on and the ending implies that they will stay separate, mirroring Adam and Eve's happiness in the Garden before everything went down.
  • The Garden is the main setting for Book IV, VIII, IX, and X of Paradise Lost and is favorably compared to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the lush wilds of the then-largely uncolonized Americas. Of course, the entire garden is corrupted upon Adam and Eve's fall.
  • In Shadow of the Hegemon, Petra considers Achilles, a brilliant student who wound up a murderous conqueror, and compares it to Eve's temptation by the serpent.
    Petra's narration: She remembered the story from her childhood, about Adam and Eve in the garden, and the talking snake. Even as a little girl she had said - to the consternation of her family - What kind of idiot was Eve, to believe a snake? But now she understood, for she had heard the voice of the snake and had watched as a wise and powerful man had fallen under its spell. Eat the fruit and you can have the desires of your heart. It's not evil, it's noble and good. You'll be praised for it. And it's delicious.
  • The opening scene of Good Omens is set just outside the Garden, shortly after the Fall. The final scene has a different Adam reflecting "there was never an apple that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it."
  • This is the location of the "virtuous reality" in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump. Brother Vahan is concerned by the theological implications, but is reluctantly persuaded to accept it on an allogorical level.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Galadriel describes Valinor as an idyllic Paradise-like place to the Elves. And just like Eve and Adam, they 'fell' from Paradise and had to experience for the first time in their life, death and sorrow.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): "The End", which is set on a beautiful, isolated island, twists the motif.
    • Ishmael, who in this adaptation looks like a Grandpa God with his long pale robes and white hair and beard, is keeping knowledge from the islanders sequestered away on a prominent tree on the other side of the island.
    • The Incredibly Deadly Viper later offers the protagonists an apple that cures them of the deadly fungus they're infected with.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • The name "Eden" pops up in the episode "The Way to Eden", which is about a group of space hippies searching for the mythical paradise Eden. It turns out to be a False Utopia. Although Spock strongly encourages the hippies to continue to look for the real Eden, or make it themselves.
    • The Garden is also referenced in the episode "The Apple", where a race of innocent humanoids serve a "god", Vaal, a computer shaped like a serpent head. After Kirk and company save the day and destroy the false god, the knowledge of good and evil is then known by the inhabitants. Spock makes a reference to the Garden Of Eden - according to Chekov, the Garden was located just outside Moscow - and Kirk asks if there is anyone onboard who remotely resembles Satan.
      Spock: No-one to my knowledge.note 
  • Good Omens (2019): The show begins in the Garden of Eden, with Aziraphale (the angel guarding the Eastern Gate) and Crawley (the demon who tempted Eve) having a casual chat about the whole affair. The show metaphorically ends the same way, with Adam leaving his father's garden to go visit a traveling circus.
    Aziraphale: Uh okay, so, uh in the beginning, in the Garden, there was well, [glances at Crowley] he was a wily old serpent, and I was technically on apple tree duty—
  • Wynonna Earp: Late in Season 3, it's revealed that the doorway to the Garden (an archway atop a winding stairway which is only visible at certain times) is in the woods in the middle of the Ghost River Triangle, and Bulshaar, the Big Bad of the season and Greater-Scope Villain of the series, is also revealed to have been the serpent, and he's trying to get back in. Then in Season 4 we actually see the Garden, and find that at some point it's been reduced to a barren wasteland, due to now serving as the prison of a shapeshifting demon who mockingly calls herself "Eve".

  • Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi", about the Oakies, discusses the contrast between the migrants' idealized views of California and the harsh treatment they received when they got there. The chorus includes the lines: "California is a Garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see". But rather than being cast out of the paradise due to their sin, the migrants are cast out due to lack of money.
  • Sara Bareilles's "Eden" is naturally rife with allusions to the garden. The singer tells of a good life in "Eden", once lived before a serpent took it away from her.
  • The singer of Bob Dylan's "The Gates of Eden" views the concept of Eden very cynically, ironically comparing it to his own life and the state of the world.
  • "New Eden" by Vision Divine is about a god-like figure angry at the inhabitants of Eden for breaking his rules.
    "This is the Eden I made out for you,
    You'd blow it out breaking rules..."

  • Hamlet: In keeping with the consistent imagery of snakes and gardens, the Ghost compares the murder of Hamlet's father by Claudius (and, broadly, the corruption of the Danish court) to a ruined Eden.
    "Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard,
    A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
    Is by a forged process of my death
    Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
    The serpent that did sting thy father's life
    Now wears his crown."

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed, it is an ancient Isu city that contains a lot of advanced Lost Technology known as the Pieces of Eden. And much like the garden in the original Bible, Eden is also the home of Adam and Eve who are the first humans to rebel against their creators in the War of Unification and its successor conflict the Human-Isu War.
  • Civilization: Call to Power: The Eden Project wonder destroys the three most polluting cities in the world, leaving unspoiled countryside where they stood.
  • The fourth level of Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp is set in the Garden of Eden, where Dirk has to deal with cherub guardians; not one but two serpents (one wants to eat him, the other tricks him into giving Eve the apple); a rather portly Eve who has taken a liking to him; and the literal fall of Eden, which is floating in the sky until Eve bites the apple, upon which the entire garden plummets to the ground.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: The Forbidden Wood takes cues from the biblical Garden of Eden, with it being the lush, pristine forest where the Overlord raises his most powerful creations, including the Ur-Child who is the most powerful entity created by him. This also makes it the most dangerous location in the game, which is why it's a Bonus Dungeon only accessible during the postgame.
    • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: The fifth stratum is clearly based upon this, being a floating biodome in which Arken, an alien of a Precursor Race planted the first seeds of life. Arken then kept watch over the planet until said life became strong and developed enough until someone could scale the labyrinth and learn the truth about it, as well as deal with the Sealed Evil in a Can that is present there.
  • The Big Bad of Fallout 3 chooses the name "Eden", fitting their goal of trying to create a paradise no matter the cost.
  • A House of Many Doors: The ultimate objective of the game is to reach Eden, the mythical garden that grows golden apples which grant eternal life. But it harbours a dark secret: Anyone who eats the apple destroys an entire world. Those that do eat the apple cannot leave the House, or they will lose their immortality. These revelations are what started the God War over dominance of the apples. Even worse, the shenanigans of the immortals who used these apples have inadvertently doomed the House, meaning they only have a few millennia or so until the House itself dies, meaning that immortality isn't going to be as useful as they thought.
  • The Magolor Epilogue from Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe contains a few allusions to the Garden of Eden. The Fruit Fragments Magolor needs to collect turn out to be the slices of an enormous Gem Apple, which the Master Crown takes control of to transform into a cyclopean monster resembling a huge, flying apple tree. It's a fitting metaphor for what the Crown represents: limitless power at the cost of having your soul devoured and used to fuel the Crown's appetite for destruction. To emphasize this motif, the "Ethereal Altar" where Magolor begins his quest and eventually slices the Master Crown in half at the end is known in Japanese as "エデンの間" (Eden no Ma, lit. "Eden's Room").
  • The final dungeons of Persona 5 Royal and Persona 5 Strikers uses this as their motif. The former one is Maruki's Palace, in which the Eden with cognitive patients living in blissful ignorance is how he views the final reality he created; devoid of all suffering and people's ambition which results in it. In the latter, it's actually a Jail manifested by the EMMA app itself taking the form of its center tree and the Sephirot, which has been evolved into a Demiurge who drags masses of people to hand them their desires so they will no longer commit any crimes, and her creator, Kuon Ichinose also has the same philosophy as the aforementioned Maruki, albeit taken to more radical levels. For a Christian, the Garden of Eden is actually paradise. For a Gnostic? It's a Jail of blissful ignorance, created by the Demiurge to trap Adam and Eve so they can't turn against him. It's just the Snake foiling the Demiurge's plan by letting them eat the forbidden fruit.
  • Sunless Skies: A strange example; the myth of Eden is combined with The Holy Grail. This version of paradise is both an eternal world of sunshine and green, and a fantasy world where dragons and bandits roam the countryside. It is an endlessly-fun video game for the Knights. To get in, you have to be eaten - or rather, drunk, by the Unseen Queen after entering the Martyr-King's Cup. Alternatively, you can reject paradise and either become her real knight, or just stab her in the face and take the eternal life for yourself.
  • The Talos Principle is a Whole-Plot Reference to the Garden of Eden story, starring robots and artificial intelligences torn by allegiance to Elohim (God) and temptation by Milton (the serpent).

  • Sandra and Woo presents a fresh take on the imagery: when Woo encounters the tree of knowledge, he doesn't care about the fruit on it, instead opting to eat the serpent.
  • Sister Claire: Years ago, Clementine founded a city called Eden, a refuge for Witches during the war. Clementine's council, The Garden of Delights (GOD), oversaw the city.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, when Torg and Aylee are staying in another dimension while the media coverage of the latter dies down, the locals have a number of mountain-based gardens, the largest of which is named Eden.

    Web Original 
  • Comes up occasionally in the SCP Foundation:
    • Dr Clef's proposal for SCP-001 is a giant fiery angel guarding a gate to a grove of fruit trees. Two larger trees can be seen near the center. One's an apple tree, the other is an unknown fruit with a redacted description.
    • The Pitch Haven canon makes the "Hard-to-Destroy Reptile" SCP-682 the snake that tempted Adam and Eve, with his immortality being a punishment from God. His main goal is to get back to the Garden but the angel mentioned above keeps throwing him out. His conversations with SCP-001 and SCP-343 imply the Garden Of Eden is also Heaven.
    • Word of God says the Foundation's Ambiguously Human Dr. Alto Clef is responsible for kicking Adam and Eve out of Eden.
    • Notably Cain and Abel are among the more famous SCPsnote  and Lilith is SCP-336 implying the Adam and Eve story to be true in the SCP universe.
  • In the fourth entry of Centennials, the race to The Garden of Eden is the main source of conflict between the main characters and antagonists.

    Real Life 
  • Cornwall has the Eden Project, two biomes that house plants from all over the world.
  • As crazy as this may sound, it may have been a (semi-) real place. A site called "Gobekli Tepe" was unearthed in what's today Turkey (right near the border it shares with modern-day Syria). It featured stone henges that predate Stonehenge, and indeed farming. The henges were decorated with depictions of animals (which may be totemic animals, or possibly clan sigils showing which family each one belonged to). People gathered there to celebrate something, as evidenced by large amounts of wild animal bones that showed signs of butchering and cooking, and even vats for the production of beer.note  Now, what does all this have to do with Eden? Well, besides being located in the right place (between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, with two tributaries), the animals referenced could be those on the henges. The story, being a "Just So" Story, may also reflect the hardship of the transition from a relatively easy hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a farming lifestyle (to produce enough food and drink for a growing population), and all of its challenges: more wear and tear on the body, social stratification, living in closer quarters, patriarchy, etc.


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Can't have Adam's backstory without a glimpse of paradise.

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