The Garden of Eden THE cultural decadence and spiritual poverty
resulting from the Caligastia downfall and consequent social confusion had little effect
on the physical or biologic status of the Urantia peoples. Organic evolution proceeded
apace, quite regardless of the cultural and moral setback which so swiftly followed the
disaffection of Caligastia and Daligastia. And there came a time in the planetary history,
almost forty thousand years ago, when the Life Carriers on duty took note that, from
a purely biologic standpoint, the developmental progress of the Urantia races was nearing
its apex. The Melchizedek receivers, concurring in this opinion, readily agreed to join the
Life Carriers in a petition to the Most Highs of Edentia asking that Urantia be inspected
with a view to authorizing the dispatch of biologic uplifters, a Material Son and Daughter.
This request was addressed to the Most Highs of Edentia because they had exercised direct
jurisdiction over many of Urantia’s affairs ever since Caligastia’s downfall and the
temporary vacation of authority on Jerusem. Tabamantia, sovereign supervisor of the series
of decimal or experimental worlds, came to inspect the planet and, after his survey of
racial progress, duly recommended that Urantia be granted Material Sons. In a little less
than one hundred years from the time of this inspection, Adam and Eve, a Material Son and
Daughter of the local system, arrived and began the difficult task of attempting to
untangle the confused affairs of a planet retarded by rebellion and resting under the
ban of spiritual isolation. 1. The Nodites and the Amadonites
On a normal planet the arrival of the Material Son would ordinarily herald the approach of
a great age of invention, material progress, and intellectual enlightenment. The post-Adamic
era is the great scientific age of most worlds, but not so on Urantia. Though the planet was
peopled by races physically fit, the tribes languished in the depths of savagery and moral
stagnation. 2 Ten thousand years after the rebellion
practically all the gains of the Prince’s administration had been effaced; the races
of the world were little better off than if this misguided Son had never come to Urantia.
Only among the Nodites and the Amadonites was there persistence of the traditions of
Dalamatia and the culture of the Planetary Prince.
3 The Nodites were the descendants of the rebel members of the Prince’s staff, their
name deriving from their first leader, Nod, onetime chairman of the Dalamatia commission
on industry and trade. The Amadonites were the descendants of those Andonites who chose
to remain loyal with Van and Amadon. “Amadonite” is more of a cultural and religious designation
than a racial term; racially considered the Amadonites were essentially Andonites. “Nodite”
is both a cultural and racial term, for the Nodites themselves constituted the eighth
race of Urantia. 4 There existed a traditional enmity between
the Nodites and the Amadonites. This feud was constantly coming to the surface whenever
the offspring of these two groups would try to engage in some common enterprise. Even
later, in the affairs of Eden, it was exceedingly difficult for them to work together in peace.
5 Shortly after the destruction of Dalamatia the followers of Nod became divided into three
major groups. The central group remained in the immediate vicinity of their original home
near the headwaters of the Persian Gulf. The eastern group migrated to the highland regions
of Elam just east of the Euphrates valley. The western group was situated on the northeastern
Syrian shores of the Mediterranean and in adjacent territory.
6 These Nodites had freely mated with the Sangik races and had left behind an able progeny.
And some of the descendants of the rebellious Dalamatians subsequently joined Van and his
loyal followers in the lands north of Mesopotamia. Here, in the vicinity of Lake Van and the
southern Caspian Sea region, the Nodites mingled and mixed with the Amadonites, and they were
numbered among the “mighty men of old.” Prior to the arrival of Adam and Eve these
groups — Nodites and Amadonites — were the most advanced and cultured races on earth.
2. Planning for the Garden For almost one hundred years prior to Tabamantia’s
inspection, Van and his associates, from their highland headquarters of world ethics and
culture, had been preaching the advent of a promised Son of God, a racial uplifter,
a teacher of truth, and the worthy successor of the traitorous Caligastia. Though the majority
of the world’s inhabitants of those days exhibited little or no interest in such a
prediction, those who were in immediate contact with Van and Amadon took such teaching seriously
and began to plan for the actual reception of the promised Son.
Van told his nearest associates the story of the Material Sons on Jerusem; what he had
known of them before ever he came to Urantia. He well knew that these Adamic Sons always
lived in simple but charming garden homes and proposed, eighty-three years before the
arrival of Adam and Eve, that they devote themselves to the proclamation of their advent
and to the preparation of a garden home for their reception.
From their highland headquarters and from sixty-one far-scattered settlements, Van and
Amadon recruited a corps of over three thousand willing and enthusiastic workers who, in solemn
assembly, dedicated themselves to this mission of preparing for the promised — at least
expected — Son. Van divided his volunteers into one hundred
companies with a captain over each and an associate who served on his personal staff
as a liaison officer, keeping Amadon as his own associate. These commissions all began
in earnest their preliminary work, and the committee on location for the Garden sallied
forth in search of the ideal spot. Although Caligastia and Daligastia had been
deprived of much of their power for evil, they did everything possible to frustrate
and hamper the work of preparing the Garden. But their evil machinations were largely offset
by the faithful activities of the almost ten thousand loyal midway creatures who so tirelessly
labored to advance the enterprise. 3. The Garden Site
The committee on location was absent for almost three years. It reported favorably concerning
three possible locations: The first was an island in the Persian Gulf; the second, the
river location subsequently occupied as the second garden; the third, a long narrow peninsula
— almost an island — projecting westward from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean
Sea. The committee almost unanimously favored the
third selection. This site was chosen, and two years were occupied in transferring the
world’s cultural headquarters, including the tree of life, to this Mediterranean peninsula.
All but a single group of the peninsula dwellers peaceably vacated when Van and his company
arrived. This Mediterranean peninsula had a salubrious
climate and an equable temperature; this stabilized weather was due to the encircling mountains
and to the fact that this area was virtually an island in an inland sea. While it rained
copiously on the surrounding highlands, it seldom rained in Eden proper. But each night,
from the extensive network of artificial irrigation channels, a “mist would go up” to refresh
the vegetation of the Garden. The coast line of this land mass was considerably
elevated, and the neck connecting with the mainland was only twenty-seven miles wide
at the narrowest point. The great river that watered the Garden came down from the higher
lands of the peninsula and flowed east through the peninsular neck to the mainland and thence
across the lowlands of Mesopotamia to the sea beyond. It was fed by four tributaries
which took origin in the coastal hills of the Edenic peninsula, and these are the “four
heads” of the river which “went out of Eden,” and which later became confused with
the branches of the rivers surrounding the second garden.
The mountains surrounding the Garden abounded in precious stones and metals, though these
received very little attention. The dominant idea was to be the glorification of horticulture
and the exaltation of agriculture. The site chosen for the Garden was probably
the most beautiful spot of its kind in all the world, and the climate was then ideal.
Nowhere else was there a location which could have lent itself so perfectly to becoming
such a paradise of botanic expression. In this rendezvous the cream of the civilization
of Urantia was forgathering. Without and beyond, the world lay in darkness, ignorance, and
savagery. Eden was the one bright spot on Urantia; it was naturally a dream of loveliness,
and it soon became a poem of exquisite and perfected landscape glory.
4. Establishing the Garden When Material Sons, the biologic uplifters,
begin their sojourn on an evolutionary world, their place of abode is often called the Garden
of Eden because it is characterized by the floral beauty and the botanic grandeur of
Edentia, the constellation capital. Van well knew of these customs and accordingly provided
that the entire peninsula be given over to the Garden. Pasturage and animal husbandry
were projected for the adjoining mainland. Of animal life, only the birds and the various
domesticated species were to be found in the park. Van’s instructions were that Eden
was to be a garden, and only a garden. No animals were ever slaughtered within its precincts.
All flesh eaten by the Garden workers throughout all the years of construction was brought
in from the herds maintained under guard on the mainland.
The first task was the building of the brick wall across the neck of the peninsula. This
once completed, the real work of landscape beautification and home building could proceed
unhindered. A zoological garden was created by building
a smaller wall just outside the main wall; the intervening space, occupied by all manner
of wild beasts, served as an additional defense against hostile attacks. This menagerie was
organized in twelve grand divisions, and walled paths led between these groups to the twelve
gates of the Garden, the river and its adjacent pastures occupying the central area.
In the preparation of the Garden only volunteer laborers were employed; no hirelings were
ever used. They cultivated the Garden and tended their herds for support; contributions
of food were also received from near-by believers. And this great enterprise was carried through
to completion in spite of the difficulties attendant upon the confused status of the
world during these troublous times. But it was a cause for great disappointment
when Van, not knowing how soon the expected Son and Daughter might come, suggested that
the younger generation also be trained in the work of carrying on the enterprise in
case their arrival should be delayed. This seemed like an admission of lack of faith
on Van’s part and made considerable trouble, caused many desertions; but Van went forward
with his plan of preparedness, meantime filling the places of the deserters with younger volunteers.
5. The Garden Home Universal Father, the sacred shrine of the
Garden. To the north the administrative headquarters was established; to the south were built the
homes for the workers and their families; to the west was provided the allotment of
ground for the proposed schools of the educational system of the expected Son, while in the “east
of Eden” were built the domiciles intended for the promised Son and his immediate offspring.
The architectural plans for Eden provided homes and abundant land for one million human
beings. At the time of Adam’s arrival, though the
Garden was only one-fourth finished, it had thousands of miles of irrigation ditches and
more than twelve thousand miles of paved paths and roads. There were a trifle over five thousand
brick buildings in the various sectors, and the trees and plants were almost beyond number.
Seven was the largest number of houses composing any one cluster in the park. And though the
structures of the Garden were simple, they were most artistic. The roads and paths were
well built, and the landscaping was exquisite. The sanitary arrangements of the Garden were
far in advance of anything that had been attempted theretofore on Urantia. The drinking water
of Eden was kept wholesome by the strict observance of the sanitary regulations designed to conserve
its purity. During these early times much trouble came about from neglect of these rules,
but Van gradually impressed upon his associates the importance of allowing nothing to fall
into the water supply of the Garden. Before the later establishment of a sewage-disposal
system the Edenites practiced the scrupulous burial of all waste or decomposing material.
Amadon’s inspectors made their rounds each day in search for possible causes of sickness.
Urantians did not again awaken to the importance of the prevention of human diseases until
the later times of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Before the disruption of the Adamic
regime a covered brick-conduit disposal system had been constructed which ran beneath the
walls and emptied into the river of Eden almost a mile beyond the outer or lesser wall of
the Garden. By the time of Adam’s arrival most of
the plants of that section of the world were growing in Eden. Already had many of the fruits,
cereals, and nuts been greatly improved. Many modern vegetables and cereals were first cultivated
here, but scores of varieties of food plants were subsequently lost to the world.
About five per cent of the Garden was under high artificial cultivation, fifteen per cent
partially cultivated, the remainder being left in a more or less natural state pending
the arrival of Adam, it being thought best to finish the park in accordance with his