Alice Cooper: It’s Much Too Late

DragontownI once used the Alice Cooper song It’s Much Too Late for a high school chapel service. Each student was passed out a sheet of paper with the name of the song and the lyrics printed on it. I asked anyone if they knew who Alice Cooper was. Most of the teachers put up their hands. And one student. Just one. I was pretty sure he was just trying to get some attention. So I told him if he could tell me, I’d give him a couple of minties. His reply? “She’s a poet.” Me and the teachers laughed because he got it wrong on both counts. He is a popular rocker from the 70s and 80s. But some of my favourite work of Alice’s comes from this century. Like It’s Much Too Late.

It’s Much Too Late is off the 2001 album Dragontown. There’s no film clip for this one, so here’s the lyrics for you.

I never kicked a dog,
A child or my wife
I never looked at pornography
I swear it on my holy saint mother’s life
But somehow she’s down here with me

The road to hell is littered
with nice guys with good intentions
But once you’re there, you’re there
It’s much too late
I can cry and scream it’s just not fair
To leave me here like you don’t care
There must be some mistake up there in heaven

Now it’s much too late
My time has passed away
All my plans and dreams have all ended
Now it’s much too late
To try and plead my case
And I don’t know the God I’ve offended
It’s too late

I never stole a thing
A toy or a kiss
My conscience is as clear as can be
And when I was a teen
All the sex that I missed
Was an abstinence blessing to me

The road to hell is littered
with nice guys with good intentions
But once you’re there, you’re there
It’s much too late
I can cry and scream it’s just not fair
To leave me here like you don’t care
There must be some mistake up there in heaven

Now it’s much too late
My time has passed away
All my plans and dreams have all ended
Now it’s much too late
To try and plead my case
And I don’t know the God I’ve offended
It’s too late

Now it’s much too late
My time has passed away
All my plans and dreams have all ended
Now it’s much too late
To try and plead my case
And I don’t know the God I’ve offended
It’s too late
It’s much too late

The guy in the song is a nice guy. If you saw him walking down the street, you’d probably think he was an okay, moral, law abiding citizen. He would never hurt a fly, he doesn’t look at porn, he doesn’t steal, he respects women. He even stayed away from sex until he was married. A pretty nice guy, wouldn’t you think? This is the guy that can tick the boxes for everything society says a good person is.

Yet there’s a problem. This guy is in Hell. He wasn’t supposed to end up in Hell. He’s a good guy. He’s done all the right things. He wasn’t selfish, he didn’t hurt anyone, he’s a good guy. But he’s in Hell. There must be a mistake. Someone, somewhere has got it wrong. Good people don’t go to Hell. They go to Heaven. That’s where he belongs! Isn’t it?

The guy puts his finger on the problem in the chorus. And I don’t know the God I’ve offended. He doesn’t know God. He’s ignored and offended the creator of the universe. He may be a good guy, but he’s also a sinner. Romans 3:10-11 tells us “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” Society’s standards for a good person and God’s standards for a good person are two different things. In God’s eyes, the guy in the song is an unrighteous sinner. He may do “good things” but they don’t count if you are in rebellion with the God who made you. He has ignored God and not sought God’s will for his life. And according to the Bible, no matter how controversial and unpopular this message is to our society, if you reject God then you are going to Hell.

If it was possible to get to Heaven by being a good person, then Jesus would not have come to Earth. The night before his death, Jesus is praying in the garden of Gethsemane. He says to God “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) He is saying to God that if there is any other way, if there is any way to save mankind from sin that does not involve going to the cross, then do it. But Jesus goes to the cross. The only way we can be right with God, the only way we can be free from the punishment that sin deserves is through the blood of Jesus.

Do you think you’re going to Heaven because you are a good person or because you are a follower of Jesus? Because if you think you’re getting in by what you have done and not because of what Jesus has done, you may find yourself somewhere else trying to work out how you got there. And when that time comes? It’s much too late.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.

4 responses to “Alice Cooper: It’s Much Too Late”

  1. questionentertainment says :

    I did the same lesson with my high school youth group. The reaction to “Who Is Alice Cooper” was even similar. (though they knew the song Schools Out)

  2. Craig Truglia says :

    This is an extremely theologically correct song. Good for anyone, though sadly, Alice Cooper has not been relevant since Wayne’s World.

    • Joel A Moroney says :

      Hi Craig. Not sure what you mean by relevant. Some of my favourite Cooper albums are post Wayne’s World – Last Temptation, Brutal Planet, Along Came a Spider…

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