Black Sabbath’s “God Is Dead?” Lyrics Meaning
The speaker of Black Sabbath’s “God Is Dead?” begins the track by admitting his doubt and state of separation from ideas about God. He observes that although faith in God may have been passed down to him by his father, he feels he has lost it along the way possibly due to the sinful life he has lived. He speaks about murder and making his body a shrine to explain how he is now ruled by his body. The use of these terms could also be metaphors to symbolize ‘killing’ the idea of God, and making his own pleasure his god.
In the first chorus, the singer references the blood of the crucified Christ which becomes wine. In the context of the song, wine represents pleasure, while bread stands for nutrition which gives life. He asks to only be given the wine and neglects the bread probably because he and the current generation only want to feel good and not necessarily live. The writer continues to explore concepts such as sinners going to hell, the lust and corruption that take place even in religious groups as well as the authenticity of the Bible.
The question of whether God is dead or alive runs through the song, capturing the writer’s confused state of mind. It is possible that the realities of the sufferings in the world, science and advancement in technology may be the voices enforcing the thought that God is dead, whereas his conscience, guilt and beliefs passed down by his father gives him hope that God may not be dead after all.
“Will someone tell me the answer?
Is God really dead?”
Facts about “God Is Dead?”
This holds the distinction of being the first single on Black Sabbath’s album titled “13“, which was released in 2013.
The cover art of this single as well as its title refer to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who was noted for quoting the phrase “God Is Dead.”
The song is described as one of the band’s longest songs, and is said to have taken the longest time to finish. Geezer Butler once revealed that the lyrics were written the night before the song was recorded. And this was even though they had been working on the song for close to a year.
Writing: G. Butler, O. Osbourne and T. Iommi
Production: Rick Rubin
Did “God Is Dead?” win a Grammy Award?
Yes. In January 2014, the song received a Grammy Award in the “Best Metal Performance” category. It was then the second Grammy the band ever won. Their first was for their iconic song “Iron Man” which occurred 14 years prior.
It was also one of the songs nominated for a 2014 Grammy in the “Best Rock Song” honors. The honors ultimately went to Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic’s “Cut Me Some Slack“.