Eden is, of course, in reference to the Biblical place known as the Garden of Eden. It is the utopian paradise where God placed the first earthly man and woman He created (i.e., Adam and Eve); that is, until their Eden Country Club membership was rescinded for disobedience. But before Eve (with the first bite) and then Adam (with the second) ate a piece of fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the first two humans dwelled blissfully in the Garden of Eden. If only all of our passports gave us access to this fantastic place of harmony and beauty. Food was bountiful, flowers were always in bloom, and humans and all other animals co-existed peacefully. In the Garden of Eden there was no death or disease, no crime or cruelty, no inequality or oppression, and no labor or hard work. Even nudity and sexual human love was celebrated: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25). Of course, as we all know, Adam and Eve were eventually expelled from Eden for breaking the one and only rule they were asked to obey: don’t eat the Forbidden Fruit. Not only that, but outside of Eden (as punishment) women would henceforth experience childbirth labor pains and men would have to labor the land to produce food. Eden is translated in Hebrew as the “garden of God” or “place of pleasure, delight.” It is also believed to be derived from ancient Aramaic meaning “fruitful, well-watered”. All of these potential etymologies are perfectly in line with our notion of Eden as a place name. But where exactly is Eden? According to the Book of Ezekiel, the ancient Garden of Eden was located in modern day Lebanon. It is also believed to be near where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet in modern-day Iraq (although no one knows for sure). As a given name, Eden is a modern coinage and used primarily in the United States. It is also considered unisex although it is much, much more popular for baby girls.
Even through the Garden of Eden dates back to the beginning of time (either religiously or symbolically), the forename Eden only dates back to 1986 in America. The usage of this name is really quite modern in the United States. Although it could technically be considered a “unisex” name, we are calling it strictly female. The name has only been on the charts for males for three years and, quite frankly, appears to be floundering. In fact, American parents are about eight times more likely to bestow the name Eden on a girl rather than a boy. Nonetheless, we don’t think Eden has either a distinct feminine or masculine sound, so if you like it for your little boy, we say go for it. The name is currently a Top 200 favorite for girls and it appears to be gaining momentum. We’ll have to wait and see if it makes the Top 100 list in the next five to ten years. In the meantime, Eden is a simple and straight-forward name that begs no explanation. There’s nothing negative that could be said about Eden, except maybe that we don’t live there anymore.