Follow TV Tropes


Being God Is Hard

Go To

Bender: I was God once.
God Entity: I saw. You were doing very well, until everyone died.

Godhood ain't all it's cracked up to be. It's a huge responsibility being in charge of all creation; it's a 24/7 job with no holidays, you never get a break for all of eternity, then there's having to deal with the petty behavior of lesser mortals, some of whom outright refuse to acknowledge everything you do for them, while others commit horrible acts in your name and give you a bad reputation. And the prayers, oh my, the prayers! Will they ever stop?!?


You want the job? Here, you can have it. But don't say we didn't warn you.

Being omnipotent may be an appealing fantasy at first glance but a Required Secondary Power of being a god is having the right kind of mindset. That is, you can't be bored or exhausted, you can't be sad (or at least sad enough to hamper your job), and you have to be omnibenevolent. That's partly why a god's mind is often perceived as "alien" to mortals. Therefore a Deity of Human Origin or someone who becomes a God for a Day is even more likely to experience this. In extreme cases you may even end up as a Loser Deity.

May be the reason why God Is Flawed. In more extreme cases this could lead to With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.

Compare The Chains of Commanding and Comes Great Responsibility. See also To Hell with This Infernal Job, where the Devil wants to call it quits.



    open/close all folders 

    Comic Book 
  • Wonder Woman Volume 2: Diana is granted a position in Olympus as the goddess of truth after she falls in battle. As she refuses to become detached from humanity and stop helping her family, friends and the general public even when stuck in Olympus the Olympians decide she's incapable of having the right mindset to be a goddess since she's just too human and return her to her "mortal" life.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Film — Animated 

  • This is the topic of Hard to Be a God. Even though the Sufficiently Advanced Earthlings are not literally gods by any measure, to the native Human Alien population of Arkanar, they are, with all the expectations and responsibilities that come with it.
  • Deth, the High One, in The Riddle Master Trilogy, who spends hundreds of years masquerading as a servant to the one who has tried to usurp his throne for his own nefarious purposes. He is also forced to betray Morgon, whom he has come to love and care for, to pain and torture at the hands of Ghisteslwchlohm in order to eventually allow for the world to be saved.
  • Harmony ( Sazed from the original Mistborn trilogy, fused with the essences of Preservation and Ruin and ascended to godhood) from The Alloy of Law points this out to Wax, pointing to moral dilemmas in particular.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural:
    • In the Season 6 episode "Appointment in Samarra" Death gives Dean his ring and has him walk a mile in his shoes. After Dean has to kill a Littlest Cancer Patient, Death remarks to him that some days he wishes he didn't have the job.
    • Subverted with God himself. He is absent for most of the series, a Disappeared Dad to the Angels who tried to start the Apocalypse in his name, but when he returns in Season 11 to help with the fight against his destructive Sister, he impresses the leads on how difficult it actually is to be God, is deeply remorseful for how Lucifer ended up, and that he left because he was disappointed with his creations. Which turns out to be a bold-faced lie. God did all of that for his own amusement.
    • In Season 13, the remaining Angels allow Lucifer to take over the throne of God (who's AWOL) because they need his help to prevent Heaven from collapsing, and he promised to make more Angels. Lucifer attempts to respond to prayers, but he ignores most of them to intervene in an exorcism. While the priests are thankful that he banished the demon, they're not so happy when he tells them his name. He just disintegrates them after failing to calm them down. Annael outright calls him a loser who doesn't hold a candle to his Father.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the ancient times of the Forgotten Realms setting Jergal was a much more powerful deity than he is now. Then the Dead Three, a trio of evil epic-level adventurers consisting of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul, challenged him. To their surprise, Jergal had actually grown tired of his role and divvied up his portfolio voluntarily: Bane got tyranny, Bhaal got murder and deceit, and Myrkul got death, while Jergal was content to remain as archivist of the dead.

    Video Games 
  • In Asura's Wrath, Asura has this opinion, as he calls shit on his fellow demigods slaying their own followers for powering up themselves. Considering that Asura managed to become more powerful than even them by sheer wrath alone, he might have a point.
  • The eternal vampire Mayong Mistmoore managed to obtain Godhood in the backstory of EverQuest II, just as he intended. However, after a few hundred years, he got bored with it and voluntarily changed himself back into a vampire. At least then he could be more of an impact on the mortals of Norrath.
  • Explored and pointed out by Issun to the people of Nippon in the final battle of Ōkami, when Amaterasu is on her last legs against Yami, and needs prayer badly.
    "Let's show Ammy that we truly believe! Put your hands together and pray. Let's make our gratitude obvious! I mean, we shouldn't pray only when we want something. We should consider how the gods must feel once in a while. We should even take on some of their burden. If you pray with all your heart, maybe the sun will cheer up and show itself once again, lighting our world with its heavenly glow! After all, the best thing about the great god Amaterasu is that happy-go-lucky spirit! Right, Ammy? Answer if you can hear me, ya big furball!"
  • Mortal Kombat 11: After defeating Kronika, the titan that controls time, Fire God Liu Kang is tasked with being the new watcher and keeper of time and, unable to handle the job alone, brings his beloved Kitana to do this duty together. Further, in his Tower ending, Liu Kang appoints his most trusted friends and allies to be the new Elder Gods that govern the MK multiverse. However, he is haunted about many of the decisions he needs to make to protect the realms, as well as mournful that he and Kitana will never enjoy being able to marry and make one-another happy.
  • Not so much of a god as he is more of a deity, but Mr. Grimm from Twisted Metal: Head On accidentally devoured a soul he was supposed to deliver, and has been addicted to devouring souls since then. He then entered the tournament so that he can wish for someone else to take his job. Bottom line, he entered the tournament to quit being the grim reaper.
  • In RuneScape, Guthix has this attitude due to being a Nay-Theist whose godhood was the opposite of his intentions. He doesn't want to be worshipped, hates the burden of responsibility for impossible decisions, hates being compared to the warrior gods, and misses his dead mortal family. His greatest wishes? To create a world free from the enslavement of gods and religion (himself included), and to die and be with his family in the afterlife. He achieves neither; banishing all gods proves a temporary fix and is undone by Guthix's death in "The World Wakes", and in "Missing Presumed Death" we learn that gods don't get an afterlife, only Cessation of Existence.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: Bender becomes a god to a bunch of micro sized aliens that landed on him. His seemingly simple request for beer led to them having many hardships. And then they waged religious war against the other micro alien colony on Bender that couldn't see him and didn't believe he existed. And then everyone died. Later in the episode Bender met an entity that may or may not be the real God, and shared notes. Conclusion reached: being god is hard.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: