The Garden of Eden was supposedly a "paradise", given to humanity by God. Father Roberto, of the Church of Forgotten Saints, explained that humans messed up this first chance at paradise. (PROSE: Halflife)
An aspect of Eden was that it contained a serpent, (PROSE: Prologue, Halflife, The Gallifrey Chronicles) at least in versions of the story which included original sin. (PROSE: Halflife) This was a fear-inducing figure, and an antagonist within the story. (PROSE: Prologue)
One location was the entrance to paradise: the gate of Eden. A poem once quoted by a delirious Sixth Doctor described that, "One morn, a peri at the gate of Eden stood disconsolate." (TV: The Twin Dilemma)
According to Reverend Ernest Matthews, the story of the Garden of Eden was contrary to Darwin's theory of evolution. He believed that "man has been the same, sir, since he stood in the Garden of Eden, and he was never ever a chattering gibbering ape." (TV: Ghost Light)
Eden as metaphor Edit
The phrase "Garden of Eden" was a general metaphor for paradise, whether or not the place being so described resembled the Biblical original. For instance, the Ninth Doctor once called a settlement of Stone Age people next to a stream well-stocked with trout "the closest [Rose Tyler would] ever get to the Garden of Eden". His point was that the abundant, easy-to-catch fish made the people "affluent for the period". (PROSE: Only Human)
Sometimes, a place was called a "new (Garden of) Eden" to evoke memories of the original location. (PROSE: Halflife; TV: Smile) The Second Doctor saw the act of "looking for a new Eden" as a very human pursuit: one in which a group of people recognised that humanity had "come too far from whatever they were before", and often rejected more recent advances, like technology. Reacting against industrialisation, they would often choose to live outside of cities, "closer to the earth", like before. He remarked that "they think it'll bring them closer to what it means to be human." (PROSE: All of Beyond)
One idea of Eden, or heaven on Earth, was a world with "no ill health: "no germs, no cancer, no diabetes". This could only be achieved by purging the species of those who were ill, leaving only the elite behind to enjoy paradise. (PROSE: Culture War) Winifred Gillyflower thought of her Yorkshire community, Sweetville, as her "new Eden". Her daughter Ada referred to it as such, but was herself refused entry, due to her physical disability. Because she was blind, she was therefore not "perfect". As Mrs Gillyflower explained explained to Ada, "There can be no place for people such as you. That only perfection is good enough for myself and Mister Sweet." (TV: The Crimson Horror)
The Eighth Doctor felt that many human colonies set out with the ethos of starting anew, choosing to "throw away millennia of human history", as Father Roberto put it, not to look back "in order to start afresh" among the stars. The Doctor questioned, though, whether this was a strange attitude for a religious organisation, such as the Ecumenical Council. (PROSE: Halflife)
While the Twelfth Doctor inferred that human colonists would be expecting, metaphorically, the "new Garden of Eden" on the colony planet, (TV: Smile) the Ecumenical Council took this idea a lot more seriously. They saw their venture to Espero as an inherently religious mission: "another chance [at Eden]. Perhaps our last." They believed that God was giving them this chance: "God would lead us into the new Promised Land — we needed nothing but faith and the Holy Church."
Due to their "strong Catholic ethic", they brought nothing with them but sacred writings and some technical manuals. The Ecumenical Council had faith that, on Espero, they would restore the life and practice of the Holy Apostolic Church, and so "reflect God's glory" in the Promised Land.
Father Roberto suggested, though, that in the end, "It was hell. The colonists arrived in their new Eden to discover that the resources HomeWorld had promised were buried too deep for the minimal equipment that we'd brought. The climate was hotter than we'd expected, there were insects everywhere. Fresh water was hard to find. The first fifty years almost saw Espero wither and die." (PROSE: Halflife) The Twelfth Doctor feared that, on arrival to their new Eden, the human colonists on Gliese 581 D would be made into fertiliser for the colony. (TV: Smile)
Though John Robert Ashe had said that they would make the colony on Uxarieus perfect, the colonists were barely fed, and one of them, Martin, complained that, "This isn't exactly the Garden of Eden." (TV: Colony in Space) Conversely, the failing colonies on Espero, while acknowledging, as Prince Javill did, that "the Catholic heritage on which [they] were founded has become a liability", stuck to their roots in naming their countries. By the time of Javill, two different colonies on the planet were named Eden, and another was Paradiso Grande. "The whole of Esperon culture, the origins of the colony, were based on making a new start — building a new future out here among the stars, not repeating the mistakes of the past." (PROSE: Halflife)
In another instance, the name "Eden" was used to lure people into a trap. Eden 2 was an virtual world, an "empty paradise planet", which was used to lure in would-be conquerors, so as to apply the full force of intergalactic law upon them. The Twelfth Doctor brought Clara Oswald there, expecting paradise, but found instead a planet under attack. (COMIC: Freeze)
Behind the scenes Edit
Though unremarked in DWU fiction, within the story of the Bible, the Garden of Eden was originally home to Adam and Eve, the first humans God created. After eating fruit from the tree of knowledge (of good and evil), Adam and Eve were banished, and, according to Christian theology, became responsible for original sin.