Philippians 3:20-21


 The Life of the World to Come




the Mountain Goats




"Genesis 3:23"

Next Track

"Hebrews 11:40"

Philippians 3:20-21 is the fourth song on the album The Life of the World to Come.

Bible VerseEdit

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. NIV Translation


The path to the awful room that one will sleep in again
Was lit for one man only gone where none can follow him
Try to look down the way he'd gone
Back of a closet whose depths go and on and on

And nice people said he was with God now
Safe in his arms
But the voices of the angels that he heard on his last days with us
Smoke alarms

Well the path to the palace of wisdom that the mystics walk
Is lined with neuroleptics and electric shocks
Hope daily for healing
Try not to go insane
Dance in a circle with bells on
Try to make it rain

And nice people say he had gone home to God now
Safe in his arms, safe in his arms
But the voices of the angels singing to him on his last hours with us
Smoke alarms, smoke alarms

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "'Philippians 3:20-21' isn't about anybody I knew personally - it's for David Foster Wallace, whose work I don't even know that well but who had such a profound and positive effect on so many people, who was one of those guys about whom, when you get exposed to how he thinks about people and their essential eventual goodness, you think, man, if there were a God, God would have to like this dude, because this dude is so full of goodness and love of life and love for other people, compassion for their struggles, insight into both the good and the bad about people, into the raw humanity that makes the whole world hum. So then he goes and hangs himself, and you think, you know, how could a kind God not give a guy like that the basic equipment needed - the right brain chemistry, I mean - to be able to even bear being alive? You know what I mean? Suicide, the fact that people get to that point of total despair and hopelessness at all, that's like the harshest interrogation of the concept of the Christian God there is. Born-again types have a very simplistic explanation of the whole thing that involves cartoonish concepts like tempting demons and so on, but of course that shit is just infantile. How could a merciful and benevolent and loving God create a good, talented, giving person with a time bomb in his head? How can a good God unleash Hell inside a good man's head? This has troubled me since I worked in mental health. Naturally, if you're an atheist, this one's easy, unless you're a more creative atheist who's able to say 'OK, let's posit 'God': how do things work if we do that?' Unfortunately we kind of don't live in a time when people are really able to do a lot of "if x then y' thinking, which in my opinion is what punk rock was all about in the first place, but that's another subject." -- interview
  • "The song is about the conflict between what people say happens after we die and the sort of lives we live. It's kind of an angry-at-God sort of song. Because you hear of people who suffered their entire life that, once they die, now their won't have bad days, because they're with God. People say that and you think, well, maybe God could have been more merciful and let them off the hook earlier. Brought them into this place of no suffering and eternal bliss and presence of the most high a lot earlier and saved this person a lot of unnecessary pain, instead of having them suffer their entire lives. And in the case of people who are so damaged they wind up taking their own lives, well, you'd think an all-powerful God could have prevented that. It's in the nature of being all-powerful, right? I had a specific person in mind. The song is about the sorts of hard questions that come up when somebody kills himself." --2009 interview with Pitchfork Magazine
  • "You can only watch the rock roll back over Sisyphus's broken body so many times before you become angry with the God who made both Sisyphus and the rock: Who established the grade of the incline up which Sisyphus would have to push his burden, and Who saw the terms of His arrangement and called them good. You want to ask God: why not just stop making rocks? Or stop them making them so heavy? Or make Sisyphus stronger? And what about people who, unlike Sisyphus, aren't really guilty of anything at all? Why do they have to push boulders until they can't stand it any more? Sisyphus was an arrogant king: he can be expected to bear unsual weights. Put most people under that kind of weight and they're lucky if they get anything done at all before it crushes them. It makes me mad sometimes." -- 7/29/2009 - The Life of the World to Come: a film by Rian Johnson, liner notes

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

Narnia is referenced in the line about the “back of a closet whose depths go and on and on”

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit