Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
It appears, then, to be a condition of a genuinely scientific hypothesis that it be not destined always to remain an hypothesis, but be certain to be either proved or disproved by that comparison with observed facts which is termed verification. . . . Verification is proof; if the supposition accords with the phenomena there needs no other evidence of it.John Stuart Mill.
It is evident, on a moment's thought, that our hypothesis immediately and materially modifies the whole problem of the location of Paradise.
Given a prehistoric circumpolar continent at the North Pole as the cradle of the race, what must have been marked and memorable features of that primitive abode?
1. To the first men there would have been but one day and one night in a year.
2. The stars, instead of seeming to rise and set, would have had an apparently horizontal motion round and round the observer from left to right.
3. The Pole, the unmoving centre-point of the heavens directly overhead, would naturally have seemed to be the top of the world, the true heaven, the changeless seat of the supreme, all-ruling God. And if, accordingly, through all the long lifetime of the ante-diluvian world, the circumpolar sky was to human thought the true abode of God, the oldest post-diluvian peoples, though scattered down the
sides of the globe half or two thirds the distance to the equator, could not easily have forgotten that at the centre and true top of the rotating sky was the throne of its great Creator, and that there, in the far North, was "the sacred quarter" of the world.
4. Standing at the Pole of the earth, an observer would be not only directly under the centre of the celestial hemisphere, but also directly on the centre of the surface of the terrestrial hemisphere. There, and there alone, the heavenly bodies would move, in horizontal planes, round and round him everywhere at an apparently equal distance, and he would seem to himself to stand on the one precise centre-point of the entire earth. Every departure of a few miles in any direction from this polar position would at once confirm this first impression. If, therefore, primeval Eden was at the Pole, the descendants of the first man, going away from such an original country, could hardly have failed to remember it as the centre of all lands, the omphalos of the whole earth.
5. Supposing the first man to have been located in the central and most elevated portion of the hypothetical Eden-land, the streams there originating and flowing seaward would have flowed, not in one but in various opposite directions toward all the cardinal points of the horizon. Moreover, all of these streams being obviously fed, not by each other, but by the rain from heaven, it would not have required a very powerful imagination to conceive of them as parts of a finer and more celestial stream whose head-springs were in the sky. 1 If, finally, the streams
flowing in the opposite directions grew at length into four opposite-flowing rivers,flumina principalia, as many old theologians have called them,dividing the circumpolar land into four nearly equal quarters, it would have constituted a never-to-be-forgotten feature of that first home of men.
6. In another chapter we shall expose the baselessness of the popular impression that at the Pole six months of every twelve are spent in darkness, and shall show that, on the contrary, less than one fifth of the year is so spent, while more than four fifths are spent in light. This being true, a primitive abode in that part of the world would have been remembered by the descendants of the first man as preëminently a land of beauty,preëminently the home of the sun. Moreover, Arctic explorers find it impossible to describe the nocturnal splendors of the Aurora Borealis in those regions,the whole top of the globe ofttimes seeming veiled in and over-canopied with quivering curtains and banners and streamers of living, leaping flame;it is therefore easy to believe that, once exiled from such a home, mankind would ever have looked back to it as to an abode of unearthly and preternatural effulgence,a home fit for the occupancy of gods and holy immortals.
7. Finally, assuming the prevalence of an equable tropical temperature, we find the biological conditions of the regionsuch as the extraordinary prevalence of daylight, the intenser terrestrial magnetism,
and the unparalleled electric forces which feed the Northern Lightsall combining to raise a high probability that if ever such a land as we have supposed existed, it must have presented forms of life surpassing those with which we are familiar; a flora and fauna of almost unimagined vigor and luxuriance of development. Under such conditions men themselves may well have had a stature and strength and longevity never attained since the Deluge, which destroyed "the world that then was," and immediately or ultimately occasioned the translocation of the seed of our new post-diluvian humanity into the cold and barren and desolate regions of the Northern Temperate zone. And if the first men were of the stature and strength and longevity supposed, how certainly would traditions of the fact linger in the memory of mankind long after its exile from its earlier and happier home!
Glancing back now over these various points, one instantly sees that they present conditions of human existence totally unlike the conditions of life as we know it, or as it has ever been known in what are called historic ages. They necessarily modify in the profoundest manner the whole problem of the site of Eden. No solution ever heretofore presented exposed itself to refutation at so many points. None ever before postulated so extraordinary an adjustment of both heavens and earth. None ever before required, in order to its establishment, so incredibly wide a concurrency of testimony. Against no other has it ever been possible for the very stars in their courses to fight. If false, it demands of human tradition shadowy recollections of world-conditions which have never existed in human experience. An
hypothesis so peculiarly difficult must surely break down, if it be not true. Promising the reader, therefore, not a new ignis-fatuus chase, but at least the satisfaction of a definite result as respects one hypothesis, we cordially invite his critical and patient attention to the facts to be presented in the following chapters.
51:1 Compare the poetic representation of "the river of God," in Ps. lxv. 9, 10. Also the following: "Aristotle, I remember, in his Meteors, p. 52 speaking of the course of the Vapours, saith, there is a River in the Air, constantly flowing betwixt the Heavens and the Earth, made by the ascending and descending Vapours."Burnet, Sacred Theory of the Earth, p. 226.