My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of the better Ted Dekker book I’ve read. It held my interest throughout, which rarely happens with a novel (or any book for that matter). The storytelling was intriguing–especially the depiction of the delightful childhood friendship. Very heart-warming.

The message of the book is fascinating. The idea is that man has three natures, as revealed in Romans 7. The bad nature, that “keeps one sinning,” a good nature that wants to follow God’s law (but fails), and the “I” who is choosing between the two.

Dekker’s understanding of man’s nature seems to be that unregenerate man has within him both a good and bad nature, and, with God’s help, can choose the good. This falls well short of the traditional Protestant understanding of human depravity. However I still find it an interesting lens through which to consider Romans 7. Whether we want to call them three natures or not, we can’t deny that in that chapter, part of Paul only sins and another part of him longs to follow God’s law. And it may be argued a third part is the “I” who is distressed over the part that keeps sinning (though I’m not sure it’s possible to distinguish between that part and the part that wants to keep God’s law).

The traditional Protestant view (which I believe to be correct) is that it is our fallen nature that keeps sinning, and it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that ones desires to keep God’s law. Nevertheless, the text is clear that the part of Paul that wanted to keep God’s law was indeed Paul, in a very real sense.

At any rate, an enjoyable read, and a fantastic discussion started on the nature of man.