Tuesday 11 July 2006

And yes, there is a hell...

At Connexions, Kim Fabricius has posted one of his own hymns about life beyond death. The hymn concludes with these provocative verses on the emptiness of hell and the triumph of Christ over death and hell:

And, yes, there is a hell,
a state of black despair,
but Christ assumes what we deserve,
so not a soul is there.

Our hope is Christ alone,
divine humanity,
who lived and died and lives again
for all eternity.


David W. Congdon said...

Beautiful. Thanks, Kim.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, DW. I thought you might like it. Your words are very kind - even kinder at your blog! - and mean a lot to me.

I started writing hymns only a few years ago. I was looking for a final hymn to draw together a service and couldn't find one that sang what I wanted to say - so I wrote my own! My wife - my most astute and uncompromising critic - said, "This is good. You should show it to someone - and write some more." I did - and I have (starting on a long over-due sabbatical) - nearly fifty now, most of which have been published either in journal or worship anthology. Hey, if Methodists can sing their theology, why not us Reformed too (after all, Watts was even greater than Charles Wesley!). And there is so much crap theology in our hymn books. I have also tried to fill some theological gaps in hymnody. And what a way of reaching people beyond my local congregation. Like you! Thanks again.


David W. Congdon said...

You never cease to amaze. I might recommend - here it goes again - starting a blog where you could post these hymns. I, for one, would like to have them all in one place, kind of like a resource for those of us who would like to instill some freshness in our worship. Or you could just let us know where to find them. Thanks again for sharing this.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, Kim. Personally, I would have to change the line "so not a soul is there" to "so we hope that none is there" -- which isn't quite the same thing.

Then again, after reading Hans Urs von Balthasar on Christ's descent into hell, one might even be tempted to sing: "so Christ alone is there!"

Katerina Ivanovna said...


Balthsar came immediately to mind as well, though I was thinking of his late gem, Dare We Hope, where he claims that a Christian who loses hope in an "empty" hell is a Christian who has lost his/her claim in charity.

Anonymous said...

Of course instead of claiming that a Christian has lost his charity we could assume that a person has a bit of intelligence to read the text and hear the words of Jesus. I don't believe that some people are going to hell because I have lost my charity or that I am judgemental or even malicious, but because Jesus makes it clear that some people are going to be there.

"but Christ assumes what we deserve,
so not a soul is there" is Universalism and not recognized by many as good theology

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