Ted Dekker’s 'Adam' Sheds Light On Spiritual Realities
By Ann Vande Zande
CBN.com I vividly remember a sleepover in the ‘70’s. Six vulnerable 11-year-olds huddled together to view the creepy “soap opera” Dark Shadows, a show that included ghosts, vampires, warlocks, and werewolves. The story stuck, and I spent the night with my sleeping bag pulled over my head, praying. The power of evil practically suffocated me because the show didn’t truthfully tell the whole story – the power of light over darkness.
Supreme storyteller Ted Dekker, however, does paint the true picture by exposing darkness to demonstrate the essentialness of the One True Light – Jesus Christ. With his recent release, Adam, Dekker stretches the imagination while challenging some of the simple ways that we’re blind to the bigger picture of spiritual warfare.
In Adam, protagonist Daniel Clark, an analytical, FBI Special Agent is forced into the realities of the spirit world while stalking a serial killer known as Eve. Before the case, Clark reasoned away evil as something residing within the disturbed psyche of individuals. With his own death experience, Clark fights to not only end the killing spree but to silence his personal torment.
Adam proves to be vintage Dekker with complex characters, plot twists, and a love story that runs throughout the story. I found myself thinking deeper, loving harder, and challenged into questions of genuine faith and comfort Christianity. No doubt Ted Dekker fans won’t be disappointed, and if you’re new to his work, Adam will have you hooked.
The gifted author took time from his writing schedule to discuss Adam, his persistent spiritual themes, and message for the Christian community.
I thoroughly enjoy your work, but sometimes your books spook me. Obsession comes to mind as do others, and I think the most intense so far would be your recent release, Adam. You take readers to some seriously dark, tormenting places. What’s your reason?
It is critical that writers who embrace the light of Christ’s redemptive love characterize the darkness arrayed against us in a way that is consistent with its true nature. Darkness and evil are no less comforting than a wolf is a sheep. So when I write about the wolf, I give him fangs and a thirst for blood, not a lap dog who we feel nice about cuddling. In the church’s need to be socially accepted, leaders tend to use far too much gray in their pallets, but this only plays into the wolf’s hand. He already lives amongst us without hardly being recognized – if in illuminating such an enemy disturbs the reader, we should all be grateful.
How would believers’ lives change if they grasped the significance of living in duo-realities?
Most believers struggle to really believe in the supernatural as a meaningful, deterministic reality except during moments when they are drawn to it, perhaps during a worship service or while reading a novel like Adam. Being drawn to this truth is the first step to living a life in accordance to this truth.
It’s clear that you researched both FBI procedures and cases of demon possession for Adam. Were you personally affected by what you learned?
My research for Adam affected me profoundly, particularly the research into evil’s underbelly. We tend not to think about evil until it pokes its head out of the air about us and then it tends to scare us silly. As well it should. This is what the Word means when it urges us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
You read cases like the case in Adam, and you whisper prayers of protection, but that only protects us from evil, it’s doesn’t change the fact that evil stalks and kills through the night. Evil was enough to make Christ sweat blood in the garden, and it should be enough to make us at least think twice in our very comfortable world, two thousand years after his death.
The good news is that even though we walk through this valley of death, we don’t have to fear, at least not for ourselves! Unfortunately, there is no way to skip over the valley altogether, we must face death and the evidence of evil all around us. But there will come a day… And what a day that will be!
You consistently call the Christian community to wake up, as demonstrated in your books (Slumber of Christianity, Heaven’s Wager, and Adam, etc.) what do we need to wake up to? What’s got us pacified or in a state of sleeping.
Wow, now that’s a can of worms. The sleeping hate to be woken, you know. I would say read Slumber of Christianity for my thoughts on this, but if I were forced to say something now I would simply say that most Christians are like mice who are obsessed with finding more grain to munch on without much thought of their impending death. Christians use faith to better their lives; agnostics use other devices – both are asleep to the greater context of life after life.
Ecclesiastes says that it’s better to be at a house of mourning than one of feasting (7:2). That reminds me of Heather Clark’s (Adam) spiritual awakening while reading a book on demon possession. She’s in an airplane and realizes that life continues as usual, seemingly denying the truth that’s blowing open her mind. Isn’t that what facing death or a house of mourning does for us, by forcing us to grapple with the challenges of heaven and hell?
Solomon’s point is that it’s dangerous to feast away as if all is okay when in truth there are wolves at the door, so to speak. When the darkness, be it death or evil, comes like a thief in the night, we’d best not be caught ignoring it or it will rob us blind.
But Adam isn’t all about the darkness. It’s about the light! It’s about hope, something Daniel finally comes to embrace when all hope is dashed. Hope comes only in a time of need, and the more acute the need, the more urgent the hope. How does one characterize the true value of hope in Christ without first understanding and portraying the terrible pit from which we all need hope of rescue?
Some say my novels are dark. I would say they are bright with hope! It’s just that the contrast between the dark and the light is so black and white compared to many other grayer novels.
I’ve noticed that in two of your novels there’s a similar scene. In Showdown, evil personified Marsuvees Black gouges out the eyes of an elderly, mute man, killing him. In Adam, it’s a demented demon digging the eyes out of a baby doll. Since I doubt the similarity is coincidence, what’s the point you’re making?
The thief comes to steal and to destroy, and he does it best when he has blinded us first. In fact, deception is the primary objective of evil. Blind them to the truth and they will eat out of your hand. Both Marsuvees and Eve understand this all too well.
I’d make the argument that God has called some prophet-like authors who, through story, sound an alarm to modern day saints. You definitely fall into that category of writer. Care to comment?
Well, my writing tends to lay things bare and as such some might call me a prophet of sorts. Really I’m just a man who’s interested in exploring the nature of life within the context of villains and heroes. The greatest villain is most certainly Lucifer and to a more pervasive degree, the evil nature which resides in all of us, the old man, as Paul put it. Us.
And the greatest hero is undoubtedly Christ, who offers to rescue us from both ourselves and Lucifer. Anyone who trumpets this message is by definition a prophet.
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