One of the things you come to understand in reading Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge, is that you have a good heart. That is of course is contingent upon your relationship with Jesus Christ. (I have a tendency to learn and change my opinion as I write. I think one of the reasons that I write is that I am working through things in my head and heart. The goal of course is to produce more and better fruit, kind of like pruning, for Orange trees only produce fruit on new growth and pruning is the best way to evoke that new growth.)
I believe that the context for the good heart comes from multiple sources Matthew 12:35 or Luke 6:43-45 and Genesis 1:31.
The English Revised version states it differently from all the others and yet makes a little more sense.
Notice the similar yet slightly different wording compared with Matthew's account. In both cases Jesus had refuted the Jews. In Matthews account he clearly called them vipers and I think it is safe to say that he fully intended to impress upon them that there was no good in them. (Keep an open mind about this no good part.)
In the nursery business you learn that some plants have to be protected from corrupting environments. Roses are particularly susceptible to nematodes, so they are grafted into a root-stock that is resistant to the nematodes and by itself does not produce the attractive flowers that people enjoy. Many plants and trees are like this, and make no other effort to do anything other than what their intended purpose is unless there is an outside influence.
In paralleling the heart to the good tree he is re-establishing that the heart was made good to begin with.
There is no denying that if God made the heart good there was a huge, over-arching change that took place, because we know through scripture that because of Adam's caving to temptation we all had to pay, and everyone is born in a broken condition.
Death, as you can imagine, came in so many forms that day. The heart changed and may have lost its innate goodness. It is an easy thing to say, their heart changed but I think it is wrong and removes their personal responsibility. God had already told them that the fruit contained knowledge of both good and evil. So really the knowledge of good is still embedded in the conflicted heart; Adam merely added evil to the mix.
As a side note: God blockaded man from accessing the tree of Life after this, why? Because had he not, some of the concepts we see in shows like Star Trek, where you run into someone who is eternal and blatantly evil. Outside of what imaginary portrayals give us, I suspect earth would have been a chaotic and deadly place to live; more so than what Genesis 6 shows us.
Allow me to fling something at you that might unwrap the events of Genesis 6.
If we take a passage, such as Genesis 1:5 NASB (God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.) and hang our hat on it, demanding that everyone bow to the six-day theory, then we ignore understanding and reason. The word day in the Hebrew is yom and expresses a time period. The concept of temporal, which is not expressed here, is measured or limited time, and God cannot be measured or limited, even science has proven that. Light bends and time has decelerated, just as Einstein suggested.
The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4.
So when we read of the events of Genesis we have no idea how long God allowed for things to transpire, only that the migration from one time frame to another was called a day, and it was good.
Add this into the mix.
Satan was thrown from heaven, Jesus told us that he witnessed this. But did his being thrown out exclude him access to God? No! Read the book of Job and you will see him action.
Scripture tells us that he (Satan) is the accuser of the saints.
This is a future event and not the one Jesus described earlier.
So Adam and Eve, given an undefined time frame, lived together in the garden, producing children. How do I know that? What did God say to her after the event that changed time to something temporal and defined?
Read it for yourself! -
What an odd and incomprehensible statement to make to Eve unless she knew precisely what he was talking about, and she did. You do not hear her challenging God about his statement, as though she did not understand. She understood. To think that God operated differently with them suggests that they had no choice at all. It also suggests that their sexuality, an aspect that comes with these bodies we were given, was all tainted as well, and it was not.
Given that they may have had a tremendous amount of time to explore each other prior to the fall, how many children did they produce? We do not know. If there were offspring from them prior to the fall, then those offspring had the same traits as the parents. (Think about trees again. The tree looks like the parent plant, including aspects of both.) What were their traits? We know that man was given dominion, and that alone made him Godlike. Adam communed with God and there is nothing to say that any offspring would not have followed the same path. We do know that there was no sin, as yet, and so nothing was tainted, until that day. On that day, death suddenly came upon everyone on the earth. Haven't you ever asked yourself, where did Cain get his wife? Or who were these people that he presumed would kill him? Why build a city if there is no one to live in it? And even God marked him to protect him, from who?
The book of Job places these Sons of God right along side Satan, in front of God, as Satan comes to accuse Job; doesn't that make them angels (perhaps fallen) as well. Why would God use the terminology if it meant something else? What if it implied, in Genesis 6, a race of Godlike people who are suddenly corrupted by sin, and yet still had the remembrances of their creative and Godlike abilities; abilities that we were designed, not to dominate men but “wilds” around them. Satan the corrupter would have quickly turned those Godlike qualities to evil, and that is exactly what we see in Genesis 6.
(I will not exclude the potential of angels inbreeding with the daughters of men but I struggle to find the clear definition in scripture. What I can see is my theory, deeply ensconced in scripture. - This concept of angels intermingling with men is spoken of by Dr. Chuck Misler, but I have not given it enough time to judge what he teaches so I stick with what I understand.)
Even with the flicker of good in his heart man only thought about the evil thing to do.
The loss of everyone and thing that you considered family, gone, stripped out of your hands.
Now the real plan begins.
Out of this mess one man stood out, Noah, and he found favor with the Lord. Did anyone else notice that it was not his wife or his children that got noticed, and yet they found favor also because Noah was the spiritual head. I never thought about this, in this way, before.
Let's jump back a minute. Luke 6:43-45 NASB "For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit...” God created the tree (man) and he made it good. He also gave man the ability to choose which path he wanted to follow. If Satan came only to steal, kill and destroy, and man follows that path, then who is man following? Satan, a fallen, condemned angel. So then the good tree, without being grafted in, gets planted in soil that is now filled with nematodes, or at the least things that are harmful to it, and though the tree and its functions have not changed it can do nothing other than produce bad fruit.
Paul spoke of us being grafted in -
The concept of the first piece, though in this case directed at Israel, also implies the creation, and certainly the first was holy. God was able to make the branches, Israel, holy through sacrifice and guidance, but God chose to graft us in too. The word indicating first in Greek is aparche and is a compound word, meaning: a beginning of sacrifice. Adam was the first, and he was perfect. His selfish actions infected the roots and we had to be grafted back into a non-infested rootstock, Jesus Christ. Because Jesus paid the price that Adam's treason demanded the only thing left is for us to accept Jesus Christ as our sacrifice and believe in him who raised Jesus from the dead. That means there is a God and the hope of a life with him is real. Surrounded by a sea of bad soil and nematodes waiting to corrupt the nature of our tree it is easy to become discouraged and not believe (bad fruit.)
If God created everything, and he did, then is it fair to say that the skilled nurseryman created it all perfect?
Is it fair to say that the cactus does not serve some purpose, display some beauty, and is perfect for its environment?
If God created all things perfect then he is capable of grafting you into the sound tree. A tree that is willing and ready to accept you and make you useful once again.
A heads up:
In the nursery business we took second year growth limbs. These were about the thickness of a pencil. After cutting and in a sense bruising the wood of the good stock we aligned the growth layers, the Cambium layer, of the stock plant and the plant that we are either trying to salvage or multiply. Why? Because the fruit that it produces is desirable and we know it has potential.
Are you beginning to understand that Christ did this for you, and that you are a plant worth salvaging and multiplying because you are worth it.
You are worth it.
If there been only you, you would have been worth it.