This week I have a question for the hive mind. What is the most powerful description of death that you have read in literature from a Christian perspective? I would love for you to post the quote or the reference in the comment section. Here’s a few to get the discussion started.

C.S. Lewis wrote about death for his character Reepicheep in the Chronicles of Narnia:

This,” said Reepicheep, “is where I go on alone.” They did not even try to stop him, for everything now felt as if it had been fated or had happened before. They helped him to lower his little coracle. Then he took off his sword (“I shall need it no more,” he said) and flung it far away across the lilied sea. (Voyage of the Dawn Treader, p. 185)

C.S. Lewis in The Last Battle:

But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before. (The Last Battle, p. 172)

John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress:

The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate. To which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world, nor shall until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in their mind, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said, No; yet they could not help them in that case; for, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place. Then they addressed themselves to the water, and entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head; all his waves go over me. Selah. Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother: I feel the bottom, and it is good. (Pilgrim’s Progress, Tenth Stage)

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About Jeremy Kwok

Jeremy grew up in Sydney before moving to the United States for tertiary studies. Jeremy completed the BA, MA (History), and M.Div degrees before returning to Australia with his wife Debbie. He currently works for Christian Education Ministries, a company that owns and operates private schools.


  1. PJ 6 March, 2012 at 6:29 am - Reply

    Thanks for this Jeremy, I wish I’d read enough Christian literature to make a contribution!

  2. Steve 6 March, 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Probably not what you are after, although Tolkien was a Christian, but the Lord of the Rings has some memorable scenes of death that are both stirring and thought provoking.
    My favourites are Theoden’s death where he says, “I go to my fathers, in whose mighty company, I shall now not be ashamed.”
    Shadows of Hebrews 12:1 in there perhaps, “Wherefore seeing we surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”

  3. Steve 6 March, 2012 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    My second favourite from Tolkien is when Boromir is dying and Aragorn finds him against the tree. He has a death bed conversion and his final words are words of loyalty and love to Aragorn, “I would have followed you, my brother, my captain, my king.”

    The book has slightly different words but I think these words from the movie capture the essence of Boromir’s conversion.

    I have a few more if you would indulge me Jeremy. Thanks for this post by the way.

  4. Jeremy Kwok 6 March, 2012 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much! Would love to hear some more!

  5. Steve 6 March, 2012 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    In literature, it’s pretty hard to argue that there is a better ending than Dicken’s “Tale of two cities”. The hero, Sydney Carton, redeemed from a life of alcoholism and debauchery by taking the place of a man Charles Darnay that looks exactly like him, his enemy in life but they become friends. Charles is about to be guillotined but Sydney switches places and before he dies he says “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I ever have done; it is a far, far better rest that I go, than I ever have known.”


  6. Steve 6 March, 2012 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I think “Tale of two cities” is the most overtly Christian of Dicken’s novels, with the theme of redemption, especially of the main characters, the substitutionary aspect of the salvation of Charles Darnay, yet with the very clever twist of the alcoholic lawyer Carton taking the place of the almost sinless Darnay. Only a Christian would pick up on that.

    Another of my favourite authors is Victor Hugo, who was also a Christian, of sorts.
    I love his Bishop of Digne in Les Miserables, a memorable character as well as a good example for the aspiring pastor. Anyway, in Les Miserables, Jean Valjean’s death in that novel is excellent, the first time I read it I wept unashamedly. Everyone should read that book, it is good for the soul.

  7. Jason Harris 26 March, 2012 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    I absolutely love J. R. R. Tolkien’s description of death… the description is from a dream Frodo has in the books, but in the movie, it is described by Gandalf:

    Pippin: “I didn’t think it would end this way…”

    Gandalf: “End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it…”

    Pippin: “What? Gandalf? See what?”

    Gandalf: “White shores… and beyond a far green country under a swift sunrise…”

    Pippin: “That isn’t so bad.”

    Gandalf: “No. No it isn’t.”

    YouTube link.

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