“God is out there” said a wise man once. Out where? And why out there? Can’t he be here? To a lot of people that’s how they think of God. If you were to ask them directly, they might say, “He is out there somewhere. I can’t tell you where, I just know he exists and he’s out there.” Perhaps in explanation of the evil in the world one might say, “He has abandoned us. He’s out there, but he’s not here anymore. If he was here, there wouldn’t be this much evil.”
I came across someone who I think struggled with the same questions. Where is God? In Jack London’s fascinatingly experienced childhood, he most likely starting asking his first God questions, if not then later, when he wrote “White Fang”, about which is the subject of this writing. His childhood brought him into oyster piracy, a purchase of his first sailboat, work as a sailor, homelessness, and gang membership in California, not to mention a self-taught education, which in the later years were supported and funded by a local pub. A rare childhood to say the least, and one can only imagine the kinds of experiences and conversations with people he met.
Jack London never grew to know Christ as his savior that we know of. From the way he wrote, he seemed to think poorly of those who believed in God, maybe even futile. One thing surprised me though about this passage of literature. It shows an unbelieving mans heart-cry for Christ. Before I say anymore, I’ll give the passage. The context is, according to these dogs, humans are as gods to them. Now he’ll compare and contrast the difference between humans’ gods, and the dog’s gods.
To man has been given the grief, often, of seeing his gods overthrown and his altars crumbling; but to the wolf and the wild dog that have come in to crouch at man’s feet, this grief has never come. Unlike man, whose gods are of the unseen and the overguessed, vapours and mists of fancy eluding the garmenture of reality, wandering wraiths of desired goodness and power, intangible out-croppings of self into the realm of spirit – unlike man, the wolf and the wild dog that have come in to the fire find their gods in the living flesh, solid to the touch, occupying earth-space and requiring time for the accomplishment of their ends and their existence. No effort of faith is necessary to believe in such a god; no effort of will can possibly induce disbelief in such a god. There is no getting away from it. There it stands, on its two hind-legs, club in hand, immensely potential, passionate and wrathful and loving, god and mystery and power all wrapped up and around by flesh that bleeds when it is torn and that is good to eat like any flesh.
– Part III, Ch. 2, “The Bondage”, White Fang.
Without knowing it, Jack London has painted for us, the purpose Christ came. Before Christ came, God was this personally unknown, unmet, untouchable deity, that existed, and revealed His will by way of prophets. But to show just how much He really loved us, God came down, clothed himself in the flesh of man, humbling himself from divine stature, to meet with us. Flesh to flesh. Face to face. Communicate with us in person. What Jack London might have been really asking was, “Give me a god I can touch, who I can talk with, who I can reason with. I don’t want ‘vapors and mists’, I want a real-life relatable being.”
I hope someone had the chance to share with him, that Christ, God, came to earth once upon a time, to come out of the vapor and mist so to speak, to say, “I am God, in the flesh. I’ve come to tell you, I love you, and that through me, you can have life to the fullest, even eternal life.” (not to say originally, he was merely vapor and mist)
Love is often understood by explanation, but Love is felt by demonstration. So Christ came to demonstrate His love for us, by being one of us, so he could show how much He loved us by dying on the cross.