Q. I am studying in the book of Genesis–Can you give me any insight into the river that went out of Eden, and was parted and became four heads, Pishon, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates? Are there Spiritual and or literal interpretations?
A. Genesis 2:10-14 reads as follows
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
Taken literally, Pishon means increase, Gihon means bursting forth, Hiddekel (aka Tigris) means rapid, and Euphrates means fruitfulness. These are words that are often used to describe rivers. Almost everyone who reads the Bible literally believes these four rivers actually existed, and the fact that two of them, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are still around lends credibility to this view. Changes in the Earth’s topography and climate could have caused the other two rivers to disappear or be driven underground.