I believe it to be man-made since paradise originally meant a park or garden (walled). During our prehistory mankind was too busy hunting and gathering without anytime for anything else. The concept of spirit or soul had not yet been defined by humans.
As the agricultural revolution allowed us more time we were able to take a section of land and cultivate it so that it was different than the natural, wild, and at times barren land surrounding it. We were also able to realize that the human condition could be improved in a similar manner, from our natural and wild state, based on our lower reptilian and mammalian brain, to a more elevated, prosperous state by using our executive function.
Mostly every religion is based on using our critical thinking to allow us to rise above animalistic behavior. This in my mind is paradise and even the main deities in the most popular mythologies all reside in elevation, loftiness, heights, because ascendancy is the goal. In order to commune with the divine we have to rise in most but not all belief systems.
Finally we were able to use paradise, the walled garden, as a metaphor for our own newfound sense of humanity.
Now for a long time paradise, at least in the Christian narrative, meant the Garden of Eden, because a Western belief was that our earliest stage of humanity was a Golden Age and that every age after was inferior, the ancients actually believed the world was deteriorating and would eventually end by falling apart. As proof some even claimed children did not listen to their parents as they used too or that we were unable to build the pyramids again if we wanted to. Well times have not changed but that ancient view is somewhat at odds with our current mindset that we are progressing.
Perhaps, the spirit and soul have always existed, as our yearly travels around the sun, and they had only neede the time to observe and discover the calendar year and your sense of spirituality. If paradise is real it has been filtered using our very mundane terminology. I still think we created the concept.
Edited by Lookitisoneofthosepeople, 20 July 2012 - 01:11 PM.