The Four Rivers of Eden
Gen. 2:10-14. The four rivers of Eden : the Pishon, the Gihon, the Hiddekel, and the Euphrates were real rivers which existed on a modern landscape before Noah's flood.
The now-dry Wadi al Batin was probably the Pishon River which the Bible identifies as draining the land of Havilah (Arabia) when the climate was wetter than it is today. "from whence came gold, bdellium, and onyx stone."In Kuwait, a dry riverbed (Wadi Al-Batin) cuts through limestone and appears to disappear into the desert of Saudi Arabia. Actually, the river ran underground along a fault line under the sand. From the Hyaz Mountains in Saudi Arabia, this river carried granite and basalt pebbles 650 miles northeast to deposit them at its delta in Kuwait near the Persian Gulf. Wadi Al-Batin is a large valley, 7-10 kilometers wide and with relief up to 57 meters. In the upper area, the valley sides are steep, but in southwestern Kuwait few ravines have steep walls greater than five meters in height. It is over 75 kilometers in length within Kuwait, and extends 700 kilometers south-westward into western Saudi-Arabia where it is referred to as Wadi Ar-Rimah.
This lost river, once up to three miles wide, corresponds to biblical descriptions of the Pishon River associated with the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10-12).
"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone."
The Cradle of Gold mine in Saudi Arabia is identified with the "good gold" respecting the land of Havilah and the Pishon in Genesis Two. This mine is also thought to be King Solomon's mine (1 Kings 9:26-28).
The Gihon is the Karun (and/or Karkheh), which "encompasses" (winds around) the whole land of Cush (western Iran) and is Iran's only navigable river. It is a meandering river with great bends. Its course is 510 miles long, but its distance (in a bird's-eye view) is only 175 miles long. Since the sedimentary rocks of the Zagros Mountains are folded into great anticlinal and synclinal structures, they create a zigzagging, "roundabout course" for the river as it follows them. Pliny's Natural History states that, the confluence of the Tigris and Karun Rivers was at Charax, at one time a distance of one and one- fourth miles from the coast. Charax was located about eighty miles southeast of Ur, and for a short time represented the location of a temporary seaport on a retreating Gulf.
The Tigris River rises on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in eastern Turkey and cuts a bed almost 1160 miles long on its way to the Persian Gulf. On its journey to the sea, it is joined by a number of tributaries flowing from the Zagros Mountains: the Khabur, Great Zab, Little Zab, Nahr al 'Uzaym, Diyala, Karkheh, and lastly the Karun . Arriving at Mosul, the river flows through a piedmont region of rather low hills. While the course of the upper Tigris appears not to have changed substantially over the last five thousand years, its lower course has been very unstable (for example, one of its ancient courses was called "Idiqlat" by the Sumerians). The Tigris River floods annually due to the spring melting of snows in the Taurus Mountains. Its waters first begin to rise in March, reach their peak in May, and normally recede in June or July. At Baghdad, the river is about one-quarter mile wide, with a depth at high water of twenty-six feet and at low water of about four feet. The current in flood is about four miles per hour and at low water it is one and one-quarter miles per hour. The river below Baghdad is navigable by boats of some size, while the upper Tigris is more difficult to navigate. The Tigris is capable of flooding over vast areas of land. For example, an overflow of the Tigris River in 1954 submerged the low-lying Babylonian plain for hundreds of miles. The Tigris was the great river of ancient Assyria. On its banks stood many of the cities mentioned in the Bible, including Nineveh, Nimrud and Asshur. Gen. 2:14 identifies it as "that which goeth toward the east of Assyria," or the land of Asshur, who was the grandson of Noah (Gen. 10:11).
The Euphrates drains the western part of Mesopotamia. It starts in the highlands of Turkey, flows southeastward over a limestone hill terrain in northern Iraq, and enters its delta at Hit (about 80 miles west of Baghdad). Overall, it winds its way over a meandering 1700- mile path on its way to the Persian Gulf. South of Hit, the river has an extremely low gradient. Hit is located more than 500 miles upriver from the Gulf, but is only 175 feet above sea level. At An Nasiriyah, the water level of the Euphrates is only 8 feet above sea level, even though the river still has to cover a distance of more than 95 miles to Basra. Once Ash Shamiyah is passed, the water of the Euphrates is lost in an immense marshland region, and during spring floods this whole region, from the Euphrates east to the Tigris, can become severely inundated.The course of the Euphrates River has constantly changed channels in its lower portion. Today the Euphrates flows west of where it did in the third to second millennium B.C. At this time the lower Euphrates (then called by the Sumerians "Purattu") flowed from the ancient city of Sippar, to Kish, to Nippur, to Shurrupak ( Noah's home town), to Uruk, to Ur, and then into the Persian Gulf .
Six thousand years ago, the Persian Gulf may have been located as much as 150 miles inland from where it is today, and it might have been at this inland position where the four rivers confluenced near Eden. The river that "rises in" Eden could have been a spring, possibly supplied with water from the Dammam limestone aquifer. The four rivers of Eden cut across sedimentary rock. The pitch for the ark was supplied by sedimentary rock; therefore sedimentary rock must have existed in pre-flood time.