According to Jaspellen Receiver texts, which I have in my possession only because my research demands I know both the lies and the truth of our history, the world as we know it was once akin to the ore we drag from Illium itself; raw and imperfect, and it was home to none but the beasts of the darkness and of myth, and of course the Northerners (we all know those bastards are older than the rock itself).
Then it was that the Watcher first interfered with our world, shaping it as he saw fit, as the tradesmen change the ore to metal and then tool. And when he was done, Illium was nearly as it is now, able to support the gentler forms of life; the fowl, the wild beasts, the fish, and man (you should be able to tell from this alone that it's a load of crap - man, gentle?). And the creatures of the darkness and of myth were pushed into shadow, and the Northerners to the cold wastes. And then did the Watcher decide to indeed create the beasts and man, and the beasts he did spread across the land, but man was special.
For man, he did place his hand unto the world, and he did press - ...okay, the scripture is not pleasant even mockingly quoted, so I am going to paraphrase what we all have learned in school since we were children anyway: the Watcher made a thumbprint in Illium, creating a vast valley surrounded by a mountain range, and in this land he created paradise, and that paradise is supposed to be Jaspelle, and that was where he placed man. Right.
For all I know, this could be the truth, but there is no doubt in my mind that the rest of this story is fabricated. You all know it by heart, but think about it. Does it not make perfect sense that the Receivers would preach that Jaspelle was the paradise? That the other men of Illium were imperfect beings chased away to live outside the grace of the Watcher and the protection of the Alpines? That the Receivers of the Watcher's word in other lands have their own versions, that tell of their land being the paradise?
It's all rubbish. There are many things in this world that only one like the Watcher could be responsible for, and he truly may exist, but we need to think about this with our own minds, not with the brainless acceptance we've been taught by the Receivers.
But if they are right... Watcher save us all. If this pit of filth and sin is paradise, then we are all doomed.