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Paradise Will Exist as Long as Someone Pursues it


Perhaps Eden is buried deep below the snow of the North Pole (or it might be everywhere).

After Darwin published his emblematic The Origin of Species in the 19th century, any effort to find —or believe— in a lost paradise no longer seemed tenable. In The Descent of Man (1871) Darwin refuted that humankind had burgeoned from a specific geographical point attesting that it “is useless to speculate on the theme” since neither animals nor man were created in a single moment at a specific location on the globe.

Regardless of the collective skepticism of the time, and the apparent obsoleteness that searching for Paradise entailed, Methodist believer and President of Boston University, William Fairfield Warren, decided to devote himself to the search for the lost Garden of Eden.

He began his task by translating the Bible into scientific language. Eden is “the one spot on earth where the biological conditions are the most favorable.” The Book of Genesis describes how “trees were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Thus, taking into account that millions of years ago the planet was much hotter than it is today, and considering that there was still a blank spot on the map, one unexplored territory, he concluded that the Garden of Eden must be located at the North Pole.

Warren published his theory in 1881 under the title, Paradise Found—the Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole. At the time, this was a rare, esoteric work full of metaphorical echoes that referenced the Bible. And yet, it had been written by one of the most academically rigorous researchers of the century. The book’s diagrams depict the North Pole as if it were the true center of the Earth, a place where the first men, the Tree of Life and the pristine garden could have been located before they became frozen in time.

Amazingly, after being refuted, plagiarized and even called naïve, Warren wrote:

Long-lost Eden is found, but its gates are barred against us. Now, as at the beginning of our exile, a sword turns every way to keep the Way of the Tree of Life. We could do nothing but hurriedly kneel amid a frozen desolation and, dumb with a nameless awe, let fall a few hot tears above the buried and desolated hearthstone of Humanity’s earliest and loveliest home.

Poetically, after having experienced the Polar silence, Warren concluded that Paradise had existed there but, he warned, it can only be reached in the afterlife. With his book, explorations and determination, he opened the door for a brand new generation of explorers who sought the Garden of Eden, whose mission still prevails. And while there was no definite proof of this romantic warrior’s hypothesis, there is certainly one thing that remains true: as long as there is a single person searching for Paradise, Paradise will be waiting, in this very search.

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