A Cosmic Entity
that is roughly as powerful as the setting's monotheistic God
— or, in non-monotheistic settings, the God of Gods
equivalent — and is His antithesis
. i.e. If God Is Good
then the Anti-God will be evil, destructive, corrupting, etc and if God Is Evil
, the Anti-God would be good, creative, nurturing etc
. The relationship between the two may be one of harmony or of rivalry. A Balance Between Good and Evil
may also be involved.
If only two gods exist, and both are antithetical opposites of each other, the the Anti-God is likely to be the God of Evil
but this is not always the case. It's possible that the Anti-God is a God of Good
and they not be equal. Rough equality of power (or, alternatively, importance in the greater scheme of cosmic order) between the two opposite entities is mandatory at the minimum, thus why e.g. Morgoth
is not The Anti-God to Eru Ilúvatar
despite being the God of Evil
Several modern depictions of Satan elevate him
from being merely the most powerful and/or influential of all demons/devils or Fallen Angels
to this trope. Characters based on Satan are also portrayed this way.
This is called bitheism/ditheism/duotheism
in Real Life
, with bitheism being the "harmonious duality" type, ditheism denoting "eternal rivals" type, and "duotheism" denoting the situation where the two deities are of opposite genders.
Compare Satanic Archetype
Not to be confused with A God I Am Not
Anime & Manga
- Decreator from Doom Patrol, also known as Anti-God, the first shadow cast by God's light. Once awakened, it will unmake all existence. It awakens, but the Doom Patrol alongside a John Constantine expy manages to halt the unmaking of the universe to such a crawl that it becomes indistinguishable from entropy, essentially cancelling it out
- The Dark One of The Wheel of Time, equal and opposite of the Creator, embodiment of evil, destruction, chaos, and paradox, who takes the form of an infinite void and a voice that speaks in ALL CAPS.
- Subverted in Mistborn. Ruin is initially presented as this to Preservation, two gods who are complementary opposites and together created the world; when the balance is thrown off between them, bad things happen (in the books, the balance gets thrown too far Ruin's way, nearly leading to The End of the World as We Know It). However, later works set in The Cosmere show that Ruin and Preservation themselves were only two fragments of a much more powerful god called Adonalsium- sixteen such fragments (called Shards) exist in total, and none of them can properly be called God or Anti-God.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- One of the major religions features two gods, constantly at war: the fire god R'hllor, Lord of Light and Shadows, who likes having people burned as a sacrifice to him, but is a pretty good god (for a Crapsack World). Then you have the Great Other, his enemy, lord of cold and darkness, who represents all evil in the world. This religion also denounces all other gods as either not existing or being servants of the Great Other.
- A more minor ditheistic religion in the same world is the religion of the Ironborn. They worship the aquatic "Drowned God", who they believe first breathed life into humanity and whose constant enemy is the destructive, chaotic Storm God. Again, this being a Crapsack World, one of the ways they worship the Drowned God is by drowning people, although they have the decency to revive most of them afterward. As the Ironborn are descendants of the First Men just like the polytheistic Northmen, they likely believe that the Northmen's Old Gods exist, they just don't particularly care.
- The Elenium: in the second series, it turns out Bhelliom is an essentially benevolent and intelligent divine force, even referring to the world as its daughter and outmatching most of the other gods in raw power (although it does have to submit to the will of a god wielding it - it's complicated), which makes its malevolent opposite Klael the Anti-God. They're so evenly matched they need to resort to Combat by Champion towards the end, because to do otherwise would risk destroying the world.
- The Riftwar Cycle: This is the ultimate nature of the Dread, as revealed in Magician's End.
- In the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Lord Foul the Despiser is explicitly defined as the Evil Counterpart of the Creator, varyingly described as the Creator's son or twin brother (owing to being, according to the mythology, the Creator's Enemy Without, it's kind of difficult to accurately sum up their relationship in human terms). note
- The Second Apocalypse: While it's exact nature is still unknown, the very name the No-God suggests this.
- Death is portrayed as God's equal and antithesis in Supernatural, with God as the creator, and Death as the ender. As the Anthropomorphic Personification of all death in the cosmos, he is far more significant than most of the Pagan gods in the series, who are more regular monsters with fancy titles. The Grim Reaper and God have both existed for so long that they can't even remember anymore which of the two came first, but Death thinks he will have to reap even God when creation ends. However unlike other examples of this trope he is neither evil, particularly destructive (aside from his "reaping") and is in fact one of the more benign entities in the show and possesses a dislike of the natural order being thrown into chaos.
- In Kamen Rider Agito, we find out the Big Bad's nature later in the series: he is the Overlord of Darkness, the creator of humanity, and wants to destroy all those with powers, as they could eventually reach the level of our hero (one of the rare examples of someone whose "seed of Agito" has fully matured) and win humanity's freedom from him. That pretty much makes God the villain of the series and the Overlord of Light, who proves to have been the one who granted these powers by placing a small part of himself inside every human, the anti-God. The Overlord of Light, being the one who leads humans to rebel against their creator, becomes a bit of the Satanic Archetype even while being the good guy.
- Zoroastrianism is an example, with its two primary deities Ahura Mazda (the equivalent of the monotheistic God of Abrahamic religions, also known as Ohrmazd), and his antithesis Angra Mainyu (aka Ahriman); here, Ahura Mazda is a God of Gods-type Top God, with the lesser gods under him being akin to the Abrahamic religions' angels. According to Mani and Zoroaster, God has gained the advantage over his antithesis and his final victory is a foregone conclusion. We unfortunately have to endure the Anti God's final acts of spite and then its death throes.
- When it's specifically the Abrahamic God and Devil who are opposed, that is the "Manichaean heresy" (see above). It's heretical because the orthodox Abrahamic position is that God has no equal, opposite or otherwise. God is singularly responsible for creating the totality of existence, including the Devil, so the Devil cannot possibly oppose Him on an equal footing like he wants.
- Directly challenging God is not conceivable in most Hindu cosmologies but challenging the forces functioning in the universe closest to God (as we know it) is and an ambitious Asura is often up for the task. Linguistically, Asura may have once been a neutral term meaning "might" and individually Asuras have many origins but the actions of the clan Asura and its associates caused the word to mean "anti god". Bali, Tripura and Ravana are three examples who temporarily disrupted how the universe functioned, though the latter is more sympathetic than most examples. This anti god position periodically changes as they are always killed or pacified eventually.
- Palo religion has Nzambi and Lungombe, though they are technically different aspects of the supreme creator deity. Lungombe is all of the negatives, Nzambi is the positives.
- In the Castlevania series, Dracula is eventually revealed to be the antithetical opposite to God as part of the Balance Between Good and Evil. While God's actual degree of power has not been demonstrated or elaborated upon, Dracula himself is the most powerful being to be ever shown in the series, going as far as to have the Grim Reaper himself as his own right-hand man.
- Chaos fits the bill, as well. It's literally the very source of Dracula's immense power, and can choose other Dark Lords if necessary. Helps that it's a full-blown Eldritch Abomination, too.
- Oracle Of Tao has the Ancient One, a hooded ghoul who rules the void. God isn't really good or evil, but rather has Blue and Orange Morality of some sort. The Ancient One, on the other hand seems to be merely territorial, destroying whatever is nearby. God is ruler of all existence, the Ancient One is ruler of nonexistence. Supposedly the two are equally powerful, but this may be an Informed Attribute, because God's power is never tested in battle, and there are stronger enemies out there.
- Cosmos and Chaos in Dissidia: Final Fantasy are such a pair. No points for guessing which is good and which is bad. Also played with as Chaos wasn't evil before the cycle began and he's mostly bored with the conflict, while Cosmos became good after she stopped following Cid's will to sacrifice her warriors to empower Chaos.
- Sithis, the deity the Dark Brotherhood worships in The Elder Scrolls series, is what's left of Padomay, who was the original Anti-God, dark twin of the progenitor God of Gods Anu and the progenitor of the Daedra.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Demon King Demise is the opposite of the God of Good Hylia. Hylia wishes to protect humans and make the land a rich place, while Demise wants to Kill All Humans and turn the land into a wasteland of monsters. And eventually, Demise incarnates himself (or more accurately, his hatred) into a mortal form much like Hylia did incarnating into Zelda.
- Most of the gods in Sacrifice count, except for James who is the least war like of the rest. Charnel is the god of slaughter and revels anyone killing anyone. Pyro is warmongering god who thinks himself as superior to the rest.
- Nyarlathotep of the Persona series. Philemon is the Anthropomorphic Personification of humanity's creative urges and upward-striving nature, while Nyarlathotep embodies humanity's self-destructive and hateful tendencies. They maintain a Balance Between Good and Evil because they're roughly equally powered and if one was to act directly, the other would immediately work to undo it.
- In Dragon Age, the Forgotten Ones serve as these to the Creators in the Elven pantheon, who fought an endless war against each other. However Elven legends tell that Fen'Harel, the Dread Wolf is a even better example of this, having used his perceived kinship by both sides to trick them into sealing themselves away, while he supposedly arranged to defeat the other.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- The dimension that came to be the Dimension of Pain was once ruled by the Goddess of Goodness, until it was taken over by the Demon King and his demonic minions. That makes him the anti-god of that dimension (as well as its ruling god).
- In the main dimension of the stories, according to legend that has a good chance of being correct, something called The One created two opposing "Pillars of Reality" called the Creator and the Destroyer, with the Creator going on to create the first non-capital-G gods to help it stop the Destroyer undoing its work every time. This leaves the two below God but above the gods of the world, with the Creator being a God of Gods, so the Destroyer qualifies as the Anti-God in a polytheistic but not monotheistic sense.