“Reaches to the Lowest Hell”? (a critique of a beloved hymn)

29 Aug

I love old hymns, and I especially love the hymn entitled “The Love of God” by F.M. Lehman.  Here are the lyrics to this song:

  1. The love of God is greater farScreen Shot 2015-08-26 at 10.40.06 AM
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
    It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.

    • Refrain:
      Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.
  2. When hoary time shall pass away,
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
    When men who here refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call,
    God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.
  3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 10.45.41 AM
    Though stretched from sky to sky.

Posted by on August 29, 2015 in hymns


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5 responses to ““Reaches to the Lowest Hell”? (a critique of a beloved hymn)

  1. The Seeking Disciple

    August 30, 2015 at 9:37 am

    I take it as you state, that God’s love can reach the most wicked of sinners. Thank God His love does!

  2. The Seeking Disciple

    August 30, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I do reject universalism just to be clear.

  3. David Croteau

    August 31, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I think he’s probably trying to refer to Psalm 139:8: If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! (ESV). If so, no problem. If he means more than that …

  4. Scott Pousche

    October 20, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    So weird. I was just lightly researching this hymn – and found this old thread. Dr. Croteau was my Greek 1&2 teacher! I’m serving as a worship pastor right now in Washington State – and have been debating if this song would be helpful to our people or if that line would be confusing for people.

    I agree with Dr. C about Psalm 139 – And I wonder if the author had Romans 8:39 in his mind as well since there not only seems to be a personal experience – but awe of love of God, awe of reconciliation, pardon, and redemption too. This song bring out a ‘hopeful anticipation’ of the soul!

    There is a newer rendition (definitely some artistic liberties taken) that came out early this year: (copy / paste)

    It’s a bit repetitive, but a great guitar part in the middle and overall really accessible for congregational singing!

    • Dr. Larry Dixon

      October 21, 2020 at 6:26 am

      Thanks so much for your comment, Scott! I listened to the song you suggested. Blessings on you in your ministry in Washington state! Dr. D.


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