Note: I wrote this series almost three years ago on an old blog. The book came up in counseling class today, so I thought I would repost the 5-part series on this blog.
As I begin this little series of posts I want to reiterate that I do not think John Eldredge is a bad man with bad motives. His motives are to be highly commended. His passion and desire to help men are very admirable and needed among counselors. What I take exception to, at least in these posts, is his use of scripture to support his psychological ideas. These posts are not meant to be thorough and complete, just short, simple, and hopefully, clear.
On page 3 (which is actually page 2 of the actual content) Eldredge begins to make the point that man's heart is "undomesticated, and that is good." (Italics his) The first use of scripture in the book, and in supposed support of this point in taken right out of Genesis. First here is what Eldredge says:
"Eve was created within the lush beauty of Eden's garden. But Adam, if you'll remember, was created outside the garden, in the wilderness. In the record of our beginnings, the second chapter of Genesis makes it clear: Man was born in the outback, from the untamed part of creation. Only afterward is he brought to Eden. And ever since then boys have never been at home indoors, and men have had an insatiable desire to explore." (Italics his, Eldredge, p.3-4)
When I read this the first time my mind said, actually, I don't remember. So naturally I got out my Bible to see what it said: "then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed... The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it" (Gen. 2:7-8, 15 ESV).
Observation #1: Genesis does not make it clear that Adam was made outside the garden, as Eldredge says, it makes very clear that Adam was made before the garden. You cannot be born/made outside of something that doesn't yet exist.
Observation #2: Genesis 2:15 says that God put Adam in the garden to work it and keep it. God's original and primary intention for man was to live in the garden and work to maintain it.
Observation #3: If, as indicated above, God's intention was for man to live and work in the garden, then man's desire to find fulfillment by exploring and leaving the garden/home/work is an attempt to find fulfillment outside of the Father's plan. Furthermore, Adam leaving (or rather, being kicked out) the garden was nothing less than a curse and punishment for his and Eve's sin. It was in the garden that Adam had fellowship with God, not in the mountains (preview for tomorrow's post).
The Bible gives no indication that Adam had any such desire to leave the pristine confines of the garden. Neither should anyone suspect that he did. For such a desire would be akin to that of seeing, walking, and talking with God, yet somehow being unsatisfying and wanting more. Wait... it's that what happened to the Deceiver? Isn't that why Adam and Eve ate the fruit? Wouldn't that be sin in its most hideous form: rejecting Almighty God after experiencing His presence, glory, and goodness?
Please comment one way or the other. I am truly open if I have missed something or misinterpreted something myself (I am fully aware that it is very possible).