It’s the story of the Gobekli Tepe – don’t let the name put you off this is a remarkable story of an archaeological find that may be casting new light on an ancient story. It is reckoned to be at least 12,000 years old. And when you consider the last Ice Age ended about 10,000 years ago and Stonehenge is about 5,000 years old, Newgrange is slightly older and both were built before the pyramids, then that should give you an idea of how ancient Gobekli is.
What is most fascinating though is the biblical interpretation being put on this discovery by Klaus Schmidt the secular archaeologist who spends his life there. Eden, he argues, was humanity’s glorious hunter-gatherer past when fruit could be picked from the trees and fish scooped from the rivers. There was time then to build temples for worship. It all went wrong in the transition from hunter-gathering to farming with its ceaseless toil and hardship when human beings are cursed to earn their living by the sweat of their brow. It also leads to a change in the body-shape of human beings and the animals they domesticate, and ultimately to ecological disaster.
Thing is, he argues, it was religion that encouraged human beings to take up farming. Thus paradise was lost and Adam was forced to till the ground from which he was taken (Gen 3:23).
Anyway, read it and be intrigued. I’m not sure I would go all the way with it, but it is a fascinating possibility and I think I’ll include a link in my Genesis collection.