Basically, this is when a character decides to compare him/herself favorably to a deity. This can either be joking or serious (although either one can still be blasphemous).
The exact form can vary. One of the most common forms is a variant of saying one has "more X than God" (usually something that the deity in question wouldn't even bother to possess according to the theology). Also, the most common thing to top is money (especially someone in the Fiction 500). A more serious forms is actually claiming to be greater than God.
This usually involves the Abrahamic God, but not always. Regardless of which God, in a setting where Gods do exist, the character often ends up Tempting Fate. Bonus points for doing it right in front of an actual god.
A Super Trope to A God Am I, Bigger Than Jesus.
A Sister Trope to Blasphemous Praise (giving this boast in the third person), Answers to the Name of God, Pride.
Contrast Like a God to Me.
When That Man is disposing of Pedro in Excel♥Saga, he remarks that "This is what happens to anyone who crosses me, even God."
In Jormungand, with plan Jormungand nearing initiating, Koko compares herself to all the people that have spoke of and sought out world peace, when in the end, it was an arms dealer that achieved it. When talking of God's "work" (letting countless wars pass through the years), she calls herself more than a god as she plans to...
Koko Hekmatyar: ...separate humans from war!
Zoro of One Piece has been described as being "more arrogant than God", due to the swordsman making several of these. Fitting that this comes up in an arc where the Big Bad is a guy who actually thinks he IS God. (who then kicked Zoro's ass with ease.)
Also If Jesus Then Aliens. He says that there is definitely no magic, and a bit later she says "An atheist like you?", and he doesn't mind.
Someone in the part of the verse not (yet) adapted to anime remarks that yes, Touma really might be higher than God. Even his family name can be translated as "The person superior to God".
The title of Fiamma of the Right translates to "The One Above God."
The Chouginga Gurren Lagann is described as "One who matches the gods." Considering that its power is supposedly tantamount to a sub-Universe, this makes some sense.
Naturally, it is succeeded by the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and in the movies the Super Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, which are several thousand orders of magnitude stronger than that, the latter one being a full-sized universe shaped like a mecha.
At the climax of the anime of Devilman Lady, the final villain claims to be the new incarnation of God. Our heroine's response? "If you're God, then I'm the Devil, and I will continue to rise from Hell to battle you!"
I tell you, Cap. All this made you think there might not be a God. You know what all this makes me wonder? I'm wondering that when I get up to them pearly gates...
...Is God gonna put up a fight, or just move over and let me sit down?
Which was something of a recycled line from one of Warren Ellis's earlier works, when Spider is concussed and in a coma, he perceives it as being in a dark, empty room. He briefly wonders if he's dead and this is the afterlife, but decides there can't be anything beyond death because "If there was a God, he'd be here right now, surrendering his throne to me."
In the first few issues of Young Justice (the comic obviously) Agents Fite and Maad are introduced and claim to 'have more clearance than God'.
In an issue of The Simpsons, Homer becomes the owner of a new boat and proclaims that it is so powerful that God himself could not sink it. (Averted after a large ice cube is backed into the boat causing it to sink; following the repairs, Homer claims that he wishes to retract his earlier comments about God's ship-sinking abilities, also offering praises to Allah, Buddah, and Ra.)
In Sonic Universe, Shadow delivers a particularly epic one right to a god.
Deny me all you want, but with [a Chaos Emerald], even a god must bow before the Ultimate Life Form.
In Time Braid, Sakura once makes reference to Naruto having 'more chakra than God' after being exposed to the various side effects (namely, he can't have sex with normal women without knocking them unconscious by overwhelming them with his aura, and there's a similar problem with his using the Yamanaka mindwalk jutsu).
Technically, she herself is a Kami-descended, ergo Goddess material, and therefore is right.
According to a Loose CanonRecursive Fanfiction story, Havoc actually keeps track of how many times He's heard certain blasphemous boasts from people condemned to His domain. He even tells the Valeyard exactly how many times He'd heard each of his.
Havoc: I Heard Your Rant About Villains Not Playing By The Rules 325,285,347 Times, Your Claim About Perfection 186,032 times, Your Speech About Life 432,874,222 times, Your Declaration Of Controlling The Universe 987,873,365,321 Times But Your Final Speech Was Something New For Once.
Nightmare Eclipse's claim that she chose her name for eclipsing Celestia and Luna and exceeding them is considered this by the Dark World!Mane Cast. She also claims to be above all the other Gods and outright states she's going to destroy the Goddess of Fate.
Carver: Soon I'll have reached out to and influenced more people than anybody in the history of this planet, save God Himself. And the best He ever managed was the Sermon on the Mount!
MGM Studios used a less divine form, with the old slogan, "More stars than there are in the heavens."
In the Godfrey Ho film Honor and Glory, the bodyguard Jake Armstrong's business card is said to read "You couldn't be safer in the hands of God." He seems to actually believe it, too.
The Fantastic Four movie has Johnny Storm saying that Victor Von Doom has more money than God. In comparison Reed Richards is worth "less than a postage stamp." (He may have a point, considering Reed Richards Is Useless ...)
In Speed Zone! (a.k.a. Cannonball Fever), the Strothers Brothers characters are described as "having more money than God's accountant".
Consider this beauty from Kill Bill Volume 1: Hattori Hanzo on his latest sword, "I can say with no ego that this is the finest sword I have ever built. Should you encounter God on your quest, God will be cut". It's a callback to a similar line in a voiceover near the beginning, which in turn references a Zen Buddhist saying: "If you meet a buddha, cut him down. If you meet a demon, cut him down."note It's supposed to mean that one doesn't care about good or bad and has attained release from the world, but now means that one has extreme resolve in his mission and doesn't care who needs to be sacrificed to attain it; the exact opposite of the original meaning. The exact wording used in the movie is probably an intentional change, meant to invoke this trope for American audiences.
In both the play and the film versions of Steel Magnolias Ouiser—pronounced 'Wheezer'—tells Shelby that "The only reason people are nice to me is because I have more money than God."
In Tropic Thunder, the director Damian Cockburn calls the helicopter that brought the actors to the remote part of the jungle as God, and himself as Jesus Christ, making this the ultimate Blasphemous Boast. Given the nature of the movie, it was probably inevitable. And 10 seconds later he gets blown up by a landmine.
In Creepshow, Aunt Bedelia is said to be "older than God."
In Bride Of Re Animator, Herbert West has a pretty high opinion of his work. "'Blasphemy'? Before what, 'God'? A God repulsed by the miserable humanity he created in his own image? I will not be shackled by the failures of your God. The only 'blasphemy' is to wallow in insignificance! I have taken the refuse of your God's failures, and I have triumphed!"
Dune (the 1984 film): "Usul, we have wormsign the likes of which even God has never seen."
Fearless: Max Klein, after surviving a plane crash and what amounts to a suicide attempt screams at God, "You can't do it! You want to kill me, but you CAN'T!"
In Keeping The Faith, Anna says, "I work harder than God. If He had hired me, He would have made the world by Thursday."
Used in a slightly tragic sense in Hobo With a Shotgun: Drake, following the death of his son Slick, proclaims that he knows more pain than God does - God's son came back in three days. The hobo, who's noticed Drake's complete lack of compassion for his other son, dismisses this with, "You're a fool, and a shitty father."
In Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence is confident that he can safely cross the Sinai desert and inform his superiors about the siege of Aqaba. He compares himself to Moses, which offends Auda.
Interestingly invoked by Jesus Himself in The Bible.
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
Played straight with Herod Agrippa, who was killed for his blasphemy:
...Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
This, by the way, is confirmed in the writings of Josephus, according to whom it took Herod five daysto die.
In Orson Scott Card's horror novel The Lost Boys (no vampires appear) a young software engineer will tell anyone who listens that he makes more money than God. If only he had actually told people the dollar amount, he might have found out sooner that his boss was cheating him royally.
Used indirectly in C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, where the Fox claims that Istra is "prettier than Aphrodite herself". Orual is Genre Savvy enough to be concerned about this, but the Fox dismisses her concern as foolish superstition. Turns out the gods are not amused.
In the Warrior Cats series, Tigerstar claims that he is more powerful than StarClan because he changed the number of Clans in the forest from four to two.
More poetically, Alexander Pope once wrote, "Yes, I am proud; I must be proud, to see/Men not afraid of God afraid of me."
Toyed with at a few points in the Circle of Magic series. A character will compare another character to a god - Briar thinking that with Rosethorn near it's as if her Mila of the Green is standing there - and immediately dissemble, thinking to themselves that they meant no disrespect.
In the Discworld series, the Gods are mostly the petty vindictive sort found in Greek and Roman mythology, so many characters hold the not unjustified belief in their superiority. Not so much a boast as a criticism of lackluster Gods. On the other hand, it is noted that declaring such sentiments aloud is unwise unless you're lightning proof.
Unseen Academicals Lord Vetinari doesn't outright claim to be better than God, but does declare this to be a goal worth pursuing:
"One day I was a young boy... when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. Even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued... As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and the pink roes spilled out much to the delight of the baby otters. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."
A god-on-god variant occurs with Kyprioth the Trickster in the Tortall Universe. He likes to boast that he is the greatest of all the trickster gods, of which there are many. Unsurprisingly, they take issue with this, and one of them gleefully gets one over on him in Trickster's Queenby helping his Chosen One elope and leave the country she's supposed to end up ruling.
Gene Wolfe in "The Last Thrilling Wonder Story": Wolfe as author destroys a church and only just stops short of declaring himself the hero's god. By the end of the story, it appears that God himself may be intervening to teach Wolfe a lesson.
Nicolae Carpathia in the Dramatic Audio version of the Left Behind book Armageddon, right after confessing that he is the Antichrist.
"I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will be like the Most High...for I AM THE MOST HIGH!"
Live Action TV
The Daily Show used the money version to highlight different Middle East countries. There were the conservative, "death to America" countries, and then there were those with more money than God.
There's a season two episode of House actually called'' "House Vs. God". Chase keeps a running tally on a whiteboard with House's successes on one side and God's on the other. It ends in a tie.
Done accidentally, in the show High Tide. One guy makes loads of friends, so much that they keep asking him to be godfather to their daughters. So one of the protagonists quips that, "You have more goddaughters than... God."
Done in the Yes Minister episode "Doing the Honours" while discussing the Order of St Michael and St George. The Order has three grades: Companion (CMG), Knight Commander (KCMG) and Knight Grand Cross (GCMG). Jim Hacker's Principle Private Secretary Bernard Woolley explains what the abbreviations mean in the Civil Service:
Woolley: ...Of course, in the Service, CMG stands for "Call Me God". And KCMG stands for "Kindly Call Me God".
Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?
Woolley: "God Calls Me God".
One episode of Law & Order: SVU had a cult leader get shot by his pregnant twelve year-old wife for pulling one of these during a three-person Mexican Standoff. He had, idiotically, told the girl to shoot the liar in the room. As Olivia tries to talk the girl down, he keeps yelling more and more fire and brimstone scare tactics at the girl until he claims that he was greater than God. She immediately shoots him because "He told a lie. No one is greater than God."
In the 1990s The Outer Limits episode "The New Breed", the protagonist, the inventor of Nano Machines that can heal any damaged or diseased cells in the body, is accused of playing god. His response: "Let's just say God created a flawed man. I think I can do better."
Let's just say his attempt to do better doesn't quite go according to plan.
In The Sopranos, Jackie Aprile Jr. to his getaway driver before robbing Tony's gang:
Jackie Jr.: I don't care if God passess by, you do not move this car.
But averted in that Jackie Aprile Jr. is in fact a Too Dumb to Live Darwin Award contender that has little claim to such authority.
Wilhelmina in Ugly Betty episode "Betty's Baby Bump", regarding her latest scheme to regain control of MODE:
Wilhelmina: As I march up the steps of the Meade building, it will be the greatest comeback since... Jesus.
Several episodes of Monk, such as "Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger" and "Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect", include characters being described as having more money than God. In "Mr. Monk Goes to Jail", one character wrote a book entitled "Richer Than God: The Lambert Lawson Story".
"Ivanova is always right. I will listen to Ivanova. I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God. And if this ever happens again Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out!"
She then takes a moment to apologize to God for the boast.
And it a later episode:
"Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander. Daughter of Andre and Sophie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am death incarnate, and the last living thing that you will ever see. God sent me."
There is an arc in Twin Peaks where Benjamin Horne reenacts the American Civil War with models as a way of solving the personal problems that caused his nervous breakdown. However as he gets better the side he chose (the South) starts to win. As his troops are about to enter Washington D.C. he says (in an affected Southern Drawl) "Only God can stop us now; and I believe in my heart that the Almighty is a Southerner!"
I guess you could call it inverted in an episode of Frasier. Frasier's producer Roz is considering hiring Frasier's less-than-noble agent Bebe Glazer. When Roz is trying to justify it be saying "Come on, it's not like she worships the Devil or anything," Frasier retorts with "She doesn't have to; he worships her."
Frasier: By God? Do you believe this man's grandiosity? I'm God, and he knows it.
Pierce at one point claims to have written a song that will "make the Devil poop God's pants". That might be some kind of blasphemy record.
In an episode of Sleepy Hollow Abbie discovers that an uncooperative witness in the search for her sister Jenny (who has escaped from a mental institution) is violating state law by not providing proper food and accomodations for her current foster child. She delivers the following threat:
'Abbie: You have one chance right now! You tell me something, anything that will help me find her or so help me I will rain legal brimstone down on you so hard it'll make God jealous!
House of Pain's song "Jump Around" has a non-blasphemous version: "I've got more rhymes than The Bible's got psalms." Since it's accepted that the Bible has a finite number of psalms (150, to be exact), nobody gets offended (and the claim is still pretty impressive).
I spit in the ocean and created microscopic animals
Which evolved into two species: the righteous and the cannibals
But until then, I had alien women suck me off
When God said, "Let there be light", I turned it the fuck off
And the stinger at the end of that verse:
Cause I allow God to let you motherfuckers exist
The song "Disasters" by the Non-Prophets
How do you expect someone to take you seriously
When it's obvious the god you trust is hateful and inferior to me
"I'm kidding"; Really folks, who asked us to be modest?
Thinking when you hear these jokes you laugh just to feel smarter
An interesting variant occurs in Larry Gallagher’s "I Am Better Than Your God", in which, as the title implies, the singer claims to be better than God. This isn’t because the singer considers himself to be great or powerful but because the version of God he is singing about is an extremely reprehensible being.
Hollywood Undeads We are has this nice line: "You can see God when I take my mask of"
In Greek Mythology, the gods are quick to take offense and retaliate when they catch anybody doing this.
A certain Arachne claims she's a better weaver than Athena? Let's just say there's a reason we call spiders 'arachnids' today... This myth is referenced in Cryptonomicon, where the teller of the tale points out that Athena plays fair during the challenge and actually admits Arachne is as good as she thinks she is. It's not Arachne's blasphemy, but rather her hubris, that results in her being cursed. Another version has Athena get angry when Arachne matches her, and blowing her off so rudely that Arachne tried hanging herself. That's when Athena came to her senses and saved her by turning her into a spider. Yet another version says that Athena didn't punish Arachne for claiming to be better, but because during the contest Arachne's masterpiece entry was a giant tapestry mocking Zeus and his extensive history of infidelity (which besides being disrespectful in general terms was also hubris—a mere mortal making a magnificent tapestry to mock the gods?). No way was Athena going to let Arachne make fun of her father like that.
The reason Perseus had to save Andromeda from the sea monster was because her mother, Cassiopeia, claimed Andromeda was more beautiful than Aphrodite. Aphrodite got pissy and asked Poseidon to lay waste to the kingdom; then she told Cassiopeia her wrath could be forestayed if she let Andromeda get eaten.
In one version of the story, Medusa got turned into a monster after having an affair with Hephaestus, and then claiming that she was more beautiful than his wife Aphrodite, goddess of beauty.note In the other, more commonly-told—thanks to Ovid's Metamorphoses—story she is a priestess of Athena raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple.
Aphrodite had to deal with this a lot, apparently, since suitors were saying that Psyche (who ended up being the one to catch flack for their boasting) was more beautiful than her. Ultimately it worked out much better for Pysche than its typical with such boasting in Greek mythology, since Aphrodite's son Cupid agreed with the suitors' assessment.
Journey to the West: The Monkey King Sun Wukong proclaims himself "the Great Sage, Equal of Heaven." Granted, he eventually did kick Heaven's collective asses. Heaven eventually needed to call upon the Deus ex Machina that is Buddha.
Some versions of the Flying Dutchman myth says that the Captain of the ship swore such an oath to round the Cape of Good Hope if he had to sail until the Last Day. When God appeared and asked him to give up his foolhardy quest, he cursed God and repeated the oath. His punishment was to sail, with a crew of ghosts and cowards, until the Last Day.
God made the Devil just for fun When He wanted the real thing, he made Aja Kong!
Kane once declared himself "the Devil's favorite demon." Later on, his (in-character) brother, The Undertaker, simply stated "You may be the devil's favorite demon, but in this ring? God calls me sir."
Warhammer uses this a lot with the chaos gods. A random Chaos worshiper deems himself greater than the gods and usually finds himself cursed.
"Your foe is well equipped, well-trained, battle-hardened. He believes his gods are on his side. Let him believe what he will. We have the tanks on ours."
From the flavor text of the Netrunner card 'Fortress Architects':
"You want us to build that? Not even God has the money to afford that!"
"If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer: his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods."
A variant in Super Robot Wars, Sanger's Catchphrase and Badass Boast is that "I am the sword that cleaves evil! There is nothing I cannot cut!" (Which becomes "smites evil" in the English localization.) When fighting more powerful opponents, he sometimes replaces "evil" with something more dramatic and context-appropriate, including at one point "God".
Near the start of the life of the PlayStation, Sony released an ad campaign in the US that explicitly stated that the Playstation was "More powerful than God", attempting to prove that it wasn't for kids. Unsurprisingly, shortly afterwords, the campaign was taken down.
At the end of Policenauts, Gates Becker goes on a Motive Rant, claiming that God made a mistake in designing humanity as naturally unfit for life in space, and justifying the extensive organ harvesting syndicate which he oversees as merely "picking up [His] slack".
"That's right! I am going to judge God!"note He was comparing Heston's The Ten Commandments against The Prince of Egypt and their different portrayals of God. Prince's God won and NC was informed by God Himself He was the other type before smiting the NC.
Homer got a perfect 300 bowling, and compared himself to God. He didn't actually say he was better than God, just equal in bowling ability. Which, if Homer always bowls 300, is simply mathematically accurate. Even God can't score more points than the maximum number possible.
In another episode, Bart declares that the revivalist preacher/faith healer Brother Faith "dances better than Jesus himself."
In yet another episode, Bart describes the gravy Marge and Becky made as "better than God's sweat."
Being a parody/homage of The Beatles, "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" references John Lennon's real life boast (see under Real Life below). The Be Sharps took Lennon's quote to extreme by naming their second album "Bigger Than Jesus", complete with a cover that showed the quartet walking on water (itself a takeoff on the Abbey Road cover).
And yet another example has Lisa convince Bart and Homer they have leprosy. Bart claims that in the Bible 'Some holy guy' cured the lepers. After remembering it was Jesus Homer quickly asserts "Wait, I know someone even Holier than Jesus! Flanders!"
When Homer goes on a Hunger Strike to protest the local baseball team's plan to move, he sings a little song which includes the line "I'm kinda like Jesus, but not in a sacreligous way."
When Homer buys a gun, he describes the feeling of power it gives him as "how God must feel when he's holding a gun."
Also towards the end of "Mr. Plow", Homer after saving Barney's life goes into partnership with him in the snow-plow business, shouting out that if two friends stick together, not even God Himself can stop them. Cue a voice from the clouds: "Oh, really?" and the weather immediately becomes warmer, melting all the snow.
Angry Beavers did a similar spoof as The Simpsons did at one point, with Daggett claiming that they were "Bigger than sliced bread", with people acting in an identical manner to John Lennon's "Bigger than Jesus" boast. Subverted, however, when Daggett clarifies that he meant that they were physically bigger than a loaf of sliced bread, placating the fans.
Both inverted and played straight: During the 1970s a church in Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia put up a sign saying, "What would you do if God came to Hawthorn today?", under which an Australian Rules Football fan graffiti'd, "Move Peter Hudsonnote Hawthorn Football Club's star full forward at the time to centre half forward!". Upon hearing of this, Hudson jokingly complained that God had never attended a single training session.
The surnames Quirós (from northern Spain) and Garrido (from southern Spain) are rather old. So old, several lineages using either surname have the following as their family motto: «Antes de que Dios fuera Dios / Y el sol diera en estos riscos / Los Quirós eran Quirós / Y los Garrido, Garrido.» ("Before God was God / And before the sun shone in these cliffs / The Quirós were Quirós / And the Garridos were Garridos."). There has to be some truth to it, as not even the Inquisition took issue.
Many academics think the "Before God was God" bit refers to the time before Christianity arrived to the Iberian Peninsula, so it's just a fancy way to say something like "Before we followed a single god.". Still, whether taken at face value or not, it's a rather strong statement about one's family.
An old joke: In an English village, the vicar visits a beautiful garden and congratulates the owner:
Vicar: Isn't it amazing what a good gardener can achieve with God's help?
Villager: You should have seen it when it was tended by just God on His own.
The Titanic's builders boasted that their ship was so sturdy, "God Himself couldn't sink it." Regardless of how you interpret what happened next, this certainly proved to be a very unwise boast. To make their catastrophic failure a regular Humiliation Conga, the Titanic probably would have survived hitting that iceberg with only minor damage had the watchmen failed to spot it and the ship hit it head on. Instead, the ship's last-minute swerve to avoid it caused the iceberg to scrape a huge gash all along the hull ripping open all the spare compartments like a tin of nuts.