In Hell there is No Music


Psalm 6:4-5 - Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?

As far I can see in the Bible, in Hell there is no music. Throughout scriptures, we read of music in heaven. Job said the morning stars sang together in worship of God. We read of musical instruments in heaven. The 24 elders in Revelation didn’t just have crowns, but harps. And they sang to the Lord. (Rev 5:8-9)

Music is one of the greatest gifts to humankind. It is not pragmatic; it is not practical.

But if we are to believe some in modern science who feel that man is a mere organic machine, not created for any purpose, but simply a biological mistake, no more special than a worm, then music makes no sense.

Let me explain. If we are merely the result of happenstance chemical reactions billions of years ago in a primordial stew that was struck by lightning and formed amino acids that eventually formed into primitive biological life that evolved into who we are today, then music, and appreciation of beauty in general, is meaningless.

If we are merely the result of time and chance and aimless ordering based on random mutations, music serves no purpose. If all that we are is a result of biology’s desire to pass on dominant genetic information, and if everything is merely the result of billions of years of survival of the fittest spiraling up into intelligent life, why does all of mankind throughout their history make art, appreciate beauty, and worship?

Music by its very nature, though a sublime art form, is also the least concrete, the most abstract. It is pitch in time. Manipulated frequencies, formed into logical patterns.

But it touches us all. I remember doing an experiment with my firstborn (all firstborns are, by nature, experiments!). Before he could speak, I saw him get frightened as I listened to the foreboding Brahms Symphony 1. ‘Interesting,’ I thought. He is not yet old enough to put together a sentence, yet this music makes him fear.

We’ve all felt it. Think about music in movies--the tension of dah-dum, dah-dum as the shark approaches, or the frightening high tremolo violins as the woman opens the dark door. Or the triumphant music as the team wins the big game, or the touching music as the wife sees her husband, the soldier she thought was dead, riding up over the horizon.

But the big question is--why? Why has every society that has existed made some form of music? And why does music have emotional impact? It does not help us hunt or make fire. It does not give us shelter or an upper hand against our enemies. It is not pragmatic.

But most everyone is touched by its beauty. Why?

Simply put, it is because of God. Music stands in the face of the theology that says life is meaningless.  That we are the result of mere random chance, that our consciousness is simply chemical and biological reactions, and when we die, the light bulb simply goes out. Music cries out, “There is true beauty, there is true meaning, and there is, behind the veil of our short existence, an eternal Loving God Who designed all things and gave us this precious gift.”

It is, as all things are, designed to be a magnet that pulls our attention to God, to see Him in His creation, to understand that beauty is a gift from Him, and ultimately to be used to glorify Him. Music will be part of our eternal existence in heaven. It will, like us, be purified for its ultimate purpose. It will be used to glorify the One Who created it. And that is precisely why there will be no music in hell.

Questions for Thought:

  1. Where have you felt the emotional power of music?

  2. If there is no God, what is the purpose of music?

  3. If God is the creator of music, what is its meaning?

Dan began as part of the Music Team in 1995 and in 1998 became a full time member of staff.

He is known for his skills on lead guitar. Dan leads the band by recruiting musicians and creating the musical excellence that is a cornerstone for Orchard Hill. He has a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA from Duquesne University in Music Performance-Jazz.

Dan and his wife, Lidija, and their three children live in Wexford.