Yes, Eden was beautiful- and if I had to squeeze through corporeal keyholes to crash it- so be it. (Hasn’t it bothered you, this part of the story, my being there, I mean? What was I doing there? ‘Presume not the ways of God to scan,’ you’ve been told in umpteen variations, ‘the proper study of Mankind is Man.’ Maybe so, but what, excuse me, was the Devil doing in Eden?) I took the forms of animals. I found I could. (That’s generally my reason for doing something, by the way, because I find I can.)
Let us not, however, exaggerate our power. Whatever man does, the great lines of creation persist; the supreme mass does not depend on man. He has power over the detail, not over the whole. And it is right that this should be so. The Whole is providential. Its laws pass over our head. What we do goes no farther than the surface. Man clothes or unclothes the earth; clearing a forest is like taking off a garment. But to slow down the rotation of the globe on its axis, to accelerate the course of the globe on its orbit, to add or subtract a fathom on he earth's daily journey of 718,000 leagues around the sun, to modify the precession of the equinoxes, to eliminate one drop of rain--never! What is on high remains on high. Man can change the climate, but not the seasons Just try and make the moon revolve anywhere but in the ecliptic!Dreamers, some of them illustrious, have dreamed of restoring perpetual spring to the earth. The extreme seasons, summer and winter, are produced by the excess of the inclination of the earth's axis over the place of the ecliptic of which we have just spoken. In order to eliminate the seasons it would be necessary only to straighten this axis. Nothing could be simpler. Just plant a stake on the Pole and drive it in to the center of the globe; attach a chain to it; find a base outside the earth; have 10 billion teams, each of 10 billion horses, and get them to pull. THe axis will straighten up, ad you will have your spring. As you can see, an easy task.We must look elsewhere for Eden. Spring is good; but freedom and justice are beter. Eden is moral, not material. To be free and just depends on ourselves.
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheldOf Paradise, so late their happy seat,Waved over by that flaming brand, the gateWith dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;The world was all before them, where to chooseTheir place of rest, and Providence their guide;They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,Through Eden took their solitary way.