If (and I stress "if") we can look at the story as being based in truth, and the Garden of Eden lies between the Tigris and Euphrates where Baghdad
now sits, that would place the story during an Ice Age.
between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers...you may wonder why its all desert there in Iraq...but the rich oil supplies suggest it was once a very, very
verdent place..possibly the most verdant place on planet earth....(hence the oil)
This coherent part of Mystra's posting is true, as it does explain the oil in the region. (No offense, but you lost me on some of the references.)
I don't know that I'd say that it is because a Garden of Eden was created by a supreme being however. We know that this entire region, the deserts
of the Middle East, was covered in lush vegetation during the last ice age. It would have been a landscape that matched the Biblical setting of the
I believe that the story of the Garden of Eden is much like the story of Noah's Flood however.
It is an echo of sorts of something partly remembered -- a legend passed from generation to generation as a way of preserving some knowledge of what
the world was like in what we would term as prehistoric times. We don't have all the details though -- they've been lost to antiquity.
Now we have to wonder if the Garden actually existed, just as we debate whether Noah's flood was real, or if Atlantis really existed. All of these
stories, if some divine intervention is used as a rationale for the events, can be viewed as being simply tales of morality.
The flood story comes up in many unrelated cultures around the world, and is one reason so many people point to a previous civilization that was
apparently lost in a cataclysm. The loss of Atlantis, for example is another example.
This flooding from the end of the last Ice Age could have been the reasoning behind all of these stories. The loss of the Garden to our searches
isn't because we're looking in the wrong area -- we don't have the same climate to look at anymore.
I've explained how that catastrophic flooding is possible in other threads, I think.
So to answer your question, I believe the Garden itself (or at least some similar place) actually existed, but beyond that, I'd say it's been used
as a morality tale.