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H. G. Wells Novel Illustrates the Ineffectiveness of the Law

The Island of Dr. Moreau is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, but in this story the main character does not travel through time or fight aliens as in Well's The Time Machine or The War of the Worlds. Rather, the protagonist finds himself shipwrecked on a mysterious tropical island under the iron control of Dr. Moreau. The brilliant scientist has created monstrous human-animals, giving wolves, pigs, bulls, and other creatures the rudiments of human appearance, personality, and abilities; yet, at heart they are still animals. Moreau keeps them in line through constant repetition of "the Law," a long series of commands chanted daily:

Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?
Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?'

Does the Law work? Can it curb animal instinct? Yes and no. It restrains them during the day, but at night the animal nature rises. The narrator observes that "the Law … battled in their minds with the deep seated, ever-rebellious cravings of their animal natures. This Law they were ever repeating, I found, and ever breaking."

Possible Preaching Angles: Wells was not a theologian, but he could have been commenting on Romans 7, "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual … . When I want to do good, evil is right there with me … . . I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against" God's law.

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