How does "The Law of Life" by Jack London convey a naturalistic worldview contrasting with a Biblical one?

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“The Law of Life” tells the story of Old Kokoosh, a grandfather and Eskimo chief that has reached the end of his life. His tribe is packing up their belongings to move on to find fresh food. Kokoosh, who is mostly blind, listens to the sounds of the tribe as they dismantle their moose-skin lodges and load their belongings on dog sleds.

As the story goes on, it becomes obvious to the reader that the tribe is planning to leave Kokoosh behind. Kokoosh is not at all upset by this – in fact he reminisces that he did the same to his own father. Kokoosh’s son, the current chief, lingers behind the tribe to say goodbye and ensure his father is okay. Kokoosh reassures his son, stating, "It is well. I am as a last year's leaf, clinging lightly to the stem. The first breath that blows, and I fall. My voice is become like an old woman's. My eyes no longer show me the way of my feet, and my feet are heavy, and I am tired. It is well."

The narrator goes on to explain that he believes this is the course of life, and Kokoosh is very aware of that. “He did not complain. It was the way of life, and it was just. He had been born close to the earth, close to the earth had he lived, and the law thereof was not new to him.” Regardless of how one lives one’s life, they die. It is simply the course of nature. “It was the same everywhere, with all things. The mosquitoes vanished with the first frost. The little tree-squirrel crawled away to die. When age settled upon the rabbit it became slow and heavy, and could no longer outfoot its enemies.”

The author gives the feeling of the end being certain and inevitable; that having lived means having served one’s purpose.

In contrast, a Biblical view of life would argue that it most certainly matters how one’s life is lived. The Bible emphasizes that faith without works is not enough (see James 2:14-26). One must not only live, but must make positive impact in the world.

At the end of “The Law of Life”, Kokoosh is circled by wolves intending to eat him, and he reflects on if he could have changed the course of his fate, but ultimately, “Koskoosh drops his head onto his knees, submitting to nature’s order with one final meditation: ‘What did it matter after all? Was it not the law of life?’”

This view is in direct contrast to the Bible, which clearly indicates that a person has control over their own fate and how their lives turn out. One can impact the trajectory of their life, and their ultimate end, by making good choices and being faithful. This can be best illustrated by the crucifixion of Christ as atonement for sins – that people need this sacrifice to bring the gap between justice and mercy (see the Book of Leviticus).

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