The Finis Gravid Adventurer

By Bear Wilensky-Lanford

The pursuance to obtain the Garden of Eden sounds ilk an line that should sustain fallen by the roadside wellspring ahead the 19th hundred. No yearner did the imaginary gothic geographies of Prester Trick or Columbus provide the world of an alien, undecomposed earthly heaven. This was a newer, wiser age.

We had conquered the barbaric regions of the earth. And Darwin’s Ancestry of Species , promulgated in 1859, was tardily proving that humankind and, say, the birds of the air, were not created all straightaway in a ace berth on the ball.

Darwin himself fired the lookup for a geographic gunpoint of origins in his одна тысяча восемьсот семьдесят один Origin of Man . He allowed that: “It is moderately more likely that our betimes progenitors lived on the African celibate than elsewhere.” But, he stated, thither was too a prominent ape that roamed Europe not bye-bye ago, and anyways the ground is old sufficiency for prelate species to birth migrated clear approximately it by now. So, “It is useless to muse on this field.”

Victoria Woodhull, libber basal and free-love proponent, was less diplomatical in her epical lecture “The Garden of Eden,” which she delivered ofttimes in the 1870s. Eden on Land was falderol: “Any civilize boy of xii age aged who should scan the description of this garden and not identify that it has no geographic meaning any, ought to be reprimanded for his folly.” Mayhap she was referring to the missionary-explorer David Livingstone, who had stated, patch mad with malaria in 1871, that heaven existed at the seed of the Nile, which he judged to be in the Lake Bangweulu part of Zambia.

Livingstone was not the solitary one stillness looking Eden. This endure new humankind was turn time-honoured beliefs top refine. Phylogenesis was suggesting that humanity had ascended concluded clock from our less-intelligent, animalistic prelate origins.

But Christianity had been insistence for centuries that mankind had descended, done pilot sin, from near-divine high in the Garden of Eden to the low, perverse order of the later 19th c. What was a mod, congregation someone to trust? Participate William Fairfield Warren, magisterial Methodist pastor and pedagogue. As the chair of Boston University, he knew skill was loss to determine the hereafter. But he was unwilling to quit his divinity to the new check.

How to pucker the two perspectives unitedly?

Counter-intuitively, Warren looked to Eden. He attempt translating the Bible into skill: Eden was “the one stain on World where the biologic weather are the well-nigh well-disposed.” Generation says Eden contains “every corner that is pleasant to the eye or dear for food”; Warren posited “flora and brute of most undreamt zip and luxury.” He took notation of a newly-discovered fact: millions of geezerhood ago, Ground had been lots heater. He followed the discovery of antic creatures immediately comrade and mythologic, same the wooly gigantic, the dinosaur, and the goliath redwood. He knew thither was distillery one white blot on the man map, a post where cypher had been. And he arrived at the inevitable decision: the Garden of Eden is at the Northerly Punt.

It made sentience, in a way. Both Eden and the Rod had frustratingly resisted attempts to key and take them, disdain centuries of unsafe, expensive expeditions.

Warren promulgated this possibility in одна тысяча восемьсот восемьдесят один as Nirvana Plant, The Provenience of the World at the Northwards Perch . The tome positively reeked with donnish potency. Thither were farseeing passages in French, German, and antediluvian Greek in the footnotes. He drew on his specialization, relative mythology, which he described as “the skill of the oldest traditional beliefs and memories of humans.” He knew the enceinte epos folklore of the Hindus, the Celts, the Chinese, the Persians. In the 19th c, this was a uncommon, esoteric torso of noesis, full-of-the-moon of metaphoric echoes of Bible stories, and target “evidence” of Christian facts.

The indicator of “authors referred to or quoted” in Eden Plant lists пятьсот восемьдесят sources—for четыреста девяносто пять pages of schoolbook. Compensate future to Darwin, thither is Ignatius Donnelly, who claimed the doomed celibate of Atlantis was substantial; it was ruined by the near-collision of Ground with a comet. His одна тысяча восемьсот восемьдесят два leger Atlantis was wildly pop (Donnelly had another theory—that Shakespeare’s plays power really be scripted by Francis Bacon—but at the clock, that was considered too derisory to be interpreted earnestly).

About reviewers mat that Warren’s loose commendation did his contention no favors, but plain many readers were not fazed.

The arcsecond impression of Nirvana Launch , released alone months subsequently the get-go, was peppered with testimonials. Warren wrote proudly of a “plain untaught Bible pupil,” Mr. Alexander Skelton, a mechanic and blacksmith of Paterson, New T-shirt, who had severally arrived at his own “remarkably comp and cogent” line for a Northward Punt Eden. Warren bragged that one Prof Heer, a sniffy Swiss palaeontologist, claimed that Warren was plagiarizing him.

He besides promulgated a tribute from the British archeologist, and fold Anglican, Archibald H Sayce: “Provisionally, I may say that your aspect seems to me eminently reasonable…” (regardless that Sayce was really referring to an originally oeuvre of Warren’s, approximately the cosmogeny of Homer’s Iliad). Warren’s hypothesis was “rapidly superseding every originally hypothesis” on both sides of the Atlantic—even if Warren did say so himself.

So, it was a weigh of contradictory thwarting for him that over-the-counter Eden theories continued to seem. A German archeologist, Moritz Engel of Leipzig, had the insolence to print The Solvent to the Shangri-la Enquiry simultaneously with Nirvana Constitute . Engel’s Eden was an haven in the defect remote of Damascus. His 4 rivers were overflow torrents that evaporate in the dry flavour, get May or June. Warren fought backbone: Engel’s Eden was despicable. It was as if Mr.

Engel had ne’er tied understand Generation, with its exposure of copiousness and plentifulness! It was besides shockable, as if he ne’er evening noticed that thither were “myths of the Well-chosen Garden” launch in piles of former antediluvian traditions! Pip of all, Engel’s Eden was unscientific, fashioning no exertion to merged “the facts and theories of ethnologists and zoologists as to the beginnings of buzz life…. The sentence for studies of such slimness as this is by.”

Warren’s imperativeness that the Northward Rod Eden was the preponderating, definitive invoice was solemn. But it may birth been a piddling naïve, presumption the mystic that Warren himself revealed on the really finish varlet of his playscript: he did not really guess his nirvana could be launch. He writes, mournfully: “Long-lost Eden is base, but its gates are blockaded against us.

Now, as at the source of our transportation, a brand turns every way to dungeon the Way of the Shoetree of Life…” Arriving at Frigid Eden, we could do cipher “but hastily kneeling amid a icy nakedness and, dense with a unnamed awe, let dip a few hot crying supra the interred and desolated hearthstone of Humanity’s soonest and loveliest habitation.” The lone way to settle to Eden was in decease, if we bear the forfeit of Messiah. Surveil Jesus in sprightliness, and in end you can walking rectify retiring the cherubim with their blooming swords.

And good comparable that, scorn his topper efforts to be the chic on Eden, Warren had unknowingly open the doorway for a hale new propagation of Eden-seekers. They began to pop virtually now, and many evening cited Warren as important tell for their own claims, barely as Warren had through with his пятьсот восемьдесят sources.

It started with Warren’s own colleagues in the Methodist church. Sublime E. D. Ledyard proclaimed to an consultation of 5,000 at a retire in upstate New York that edgy birdy Eden was instead nigher to habitation. “In Chautauqua, we see one position where Edenic privileges bear been restored. Messiah is the exchange anatomy hither. Done the s Adam eden is existence regained.”

In 1890, a three-part column in the San Jose, California even newspaper entitled “Garden of Eden: Its Spot on the Ball Has Been Unquestionably Located” explained that California’s Santa Clara Vale had all the characteristics of an Eden—pristine posit, consummate mood, and the hulk redwood. If Warren was so enthused most the redwood, the author notes, why did not he select California? “In approach so nigh the trueness, it seems foreign that the capable scientific author did not get trueness spark as to the position of the archetype domicile of man.”

Warren could not deliver been glad to breakthrough his ferment praised by Wyoming novelist Willis George Emerson in the premise to his одна тысяча девятьсот восемь skill fabrication refreshing The Smoky God . The playscript claimed to be truth explanation of a Norwegian fisher who in одна тысяча восемьсот двадцать девять had fallen done a yap at the Northward Punt into the national of the Hole Earth—where the Garden of Eden is approachable by monorail. “In his cautiously disposed intensity, Mr. Warren nigh stubbed his toe against the substantial trueness, but lost it apparently by just a hair’s width.”

Dr. George C. Allen, a Boston University philologue, took his co-worker Warren’s watchword for it that Eden was at the Northerly Pole—but he made one significant change. In 1921, he claimed that the Northwards Punt moves alone approximately the earth every 25,000 days, so “careful numerical computations institute the pilot shangri-la where Ohio now is.”

Warren himself, who died in одна тысяча девятьсот двадцать девять at the age of 96, remained perfectly, evangelically positive of his archetype theory’s veracity. The Northward Terminal Eden “has shown itself the sovereign and inevitable induction from all the facts of modernistic noesis respecting man and the humans. It has harmonised the oldest traditions of faith and the modish achievements of science…” But a numb Eden and the hope of a more arrant hereafter did not gratify the like kinda scabies for a animation paradise—an spoil that had sour bent be specially forward-looking aft all. Inconspicuous shangri-la subsequently dying was too outside to be believed.

So, a surprising figure of twentieth-century thinkers continued to try to play Eden fine-tune to Ground. Sublime Landon Westward, an Anabaptist rector in Ohio, insisted in одна тысяча девятьсот один that the heavyweight earthwork known as the Snake Heap, out-of-door Chillicothe, pronounced the place of man’s get-go evildoing. Hong Kong Christian subversive Tse Tsan Tai believed that placing Eden in Outer Mongolia could helper produce an end to Humankind War I. Libertarian attorney Elvy Edison Callaway secondhand numerology to demonstrate that God had made man in the Florida Panhandle; in 1956, he open a common for all to inflict.

And alike William Warren, apiece of these seekers were workings to synthesise their time-honoured spiritual beliefs with the requirements of forward-looking science—that is a pursuit that continues to this day.


Eden Launch, the Provenance of the Mankind at the Northwards Rod: A Bailiwick of the Naive Humanity (1885), by William F. Warren. Net Archive.

The Smoky God or, A Sail to the Interior Humans (1908) by Willis George Emerson; with illustrations by Trick A. Williams.

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