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Devil, but No God

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Wait until you see the upcoming Redwall and Jurassic Park crossover...

Jonathan: There's good and bad everywhere, don't you think?
Jack: I'd say there's bad everywhere; good, I don't know about.

Works of fantasy frequently contain a powerful evil spiritual being who's behind most or all of the evil in the world, a Satan (or satanic figure) or chief God of Evil. This Devil is a very real being with followers, worshippers and real power, who takes an active hand in making trouble for the world. But in an odd twist, a lot of stories leave out the Devil's good counterpart; either there is no benevolent God, or he's only talked about and never actually does anything. This is particularly egregious if the series makes a big deal of the Balance Between Good and Evil.

It's worth noting that the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) tend to forbid visual depictions of God (the argument being that it's impossible for a human to accurately depict an all-powerful, incomprehensible being beyond all space-time, though most versions of the Bible explicitly say God created man in His image, meaning God would look like a human, if viewed literally, and Christians do traditionally believe he took the form of a man), so this trope may exist out of respect to such traditions.

C. S. Lewis wrote a novella called The Screwtape Letters, detailing the correspondence between a mortal human's literal "personal demon" and that demon's supervisor. In a commentary about the story, Professor Lewis wrote that he wanted to include similar letters between the demon's opposite number, but claimed that it was far too difficult to get into an angel's mindset to do so. The existence of this trope may well be partially explained by similar limits experienced by other authors.

Another alternate explanation is that in most cases He knows the heroes don't actually need His help, so He doesn't give it. Another reason is that God might easily become the ultimate Invincible Hero or Deus ex Machina (in fact, the very name Deus ex Machina came from the habit of Greek and Roman plays to have one of the gods come down from the heavens to fix up the mess the others had created), so the writers need to get rid of him. Possibly justified if people are significantly harder to make bad than good.

Compare Black-and-Gray Morality, where evil exists yet good does not, and the best you can hope for are flawed "heroes" who are (barely) better than their foes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk has the "God Hand", a group of five powerful demons as the closest thing to gods. The only other set of deities, the Four Elemental Kings, are said to be loving and protective of humanity, but only seem to help out if consciously summoned. The Idea of Evil, who the Godhand answer to, seems to be the closest thing to a God in the Berserk universe, but it's only (so far) been seen in a semi-canon chapter that was cut for spoilering the plot. However, it's both God AND the devil. It stated it basically existed because humans want a supernatural explanation for why they live in a Crapsack World, and obliges by making the world an even shittier place. While it's powerful enough to bend reality into knots and transform humans into lovecraftian monsters, it can't seem to directly influence human free will.
  • Although devils in Chainsaw Man are Anthropomorphic Personifications of human fear rather than outright Satanic beings, they are generally very malicious toward humanity, come from hell (albeit a "hell" that doesn't seem to be an afterlife for humans), and have no benevolent counterparts. The closest thing is an "angel devil" that is simply benign. Makima and her minions are thematically related to angels (including the aforementioned Angel Devil and others named for Celestial Paragons and Archangels), though not in a good way.
  • Chrono Crusade. Is there really anyone above the humans and the devils, except perhaps a Council of Angels? Aion's entire life can be seen as a quest to find an answer to that, (and his last words don't exactly help. That's the anime version. In the manga, the demons are actually aliens, and Aion is fully aware of this (and subsequently believes that God and religion are just another cog in an "oppressive system") and the Apostles are stated to be "chosen by the Astraline", while God...well, not mentioned much. Either he's carefully manipulating things in the background, or just simply doesn't exist.
  • In Death Note, the only supernatural beings are the Shinigami, who live by cutting the lives of humans short, and their world is a rather hellish place.
  • In Black Butler we have lawful evil devils, while shinigamis are either lawful neutral or chaotic evil, but there are no benevolent supernatural beings. In the anime version the Big Bad is a fallen angel and a mention of God, which implies there are good angels, but they never show up and a devil saves the day.
  • The main characters of Hell Girl are agents of Hell and their boss is a devil figure in the form of a spider. While Heaven exists in the setting, no divine forces are there to do anything about the constant deals with the devil damning sinner and innocent people alike to hell.

    Comic Books 
  • The voice of God has been heard in certain The DCU, usually talking to The Spectre, who works as its Agent of Vengeance. However it has never been actually seen, and only seems to interfere on VERY rare occasions, even when The DCU is threatened with destruction.
    • DC has a God-surrogate called The Presence, and there are several other beings which are pretty God-like. For continuity purposes, these are sometimes explained as being various aspects of The Presence.
      • The Voice (who talks to The Spectre)
      • The Logos (a group of godlike beings that make up a sort of harmonious pantheon, also usually involved with The Spectre)
      • The Source (the universal creative force, mostly appears in works related to Jack Kirby's Fourth World mythos)
      • The Entity (the "white light of creation" from the Blackest Night arc)
    • A JLA miniseries starring Zauriel the Angel climaxed with the rogue angel Asmodel storming the palace of God only to find it empty. Zauriel lectures Asmodel on the naivete of expecting God to be some mere corporeal form: God is everywhere and swiftly sends Asmodel to Hell.
    • By contrast to this, various devils often show up in the DC Universe, most notably Neron, whose shtick is making Deal With The Devil type bargains with unwitting mortals. Demons seem to pop up far more often in the series then their heavenly counterparts, even though some (like Etrigan) aren't all bad. Lucifer even had his own ongoing title under the Vertigo imprint.
    • In The Sandman (1989), we're introduced to Lucifer Morningstar and several other powerful demons preside over Hell. While there are also angels and we're offered a glimpse of Heaven, God is only briefly mentioned in passing. There are many deities and spirits from various mythologies represented in the series, but the Abrahamic God never makes an appearance.
    • The climax of Lucifer, a spinoff of The Sandman (1989) and therefore technically connected The DCU, ultimately did show God and what happened to him: he ditched his creation millennia ago because he was unimpressed with how humanity was turning out. Lucifer ultimately has to convince God not to scrap the whole thing altogether.
  • In Marvel Universe, Satan was a recurring character in the Son of Satan series. God, Jesus or the Angels never appeared or interfered. Later, it was retconned that Satan was being impersonated by demons such as Mephisto, and that the true Devil had NEVER appeared in a Marvel story.note  In Ghost Rider, angels and Heaven have shown up. Well, Blaze had a guy helping him against Satan who was at some points implied to be Jesus ... but was later retconned to be one of Mephisto's illusions (who semingly stood against Mephisto for some reason), because editorial got cold feet.
    • Journey into Mystery (The Mighty Thor comic)note  gave us a council of those various hell lords like Nightmare, Satannish, and the Son-of-Satan-father Satan.note  The evil demonic beings meet up and all have their own throne. There is one empty in the middle, for the true Satan ruler of all hells. It has never been used, but they're all terrified to sit on it and "claim" it, not only for the competition from the other Hell Lords vying for it, but of the possibility that he might be real and come back.
    • The Marvel Universe with this is actually an inversion of the trope. As in there is quite clearly a supreme God (The One-Above-All) but no supreme Devil. About the One-Above-All there are two hypotheses floating around with an accompanying Shrug of God as both have their own implications the company doesn't want to tackle: 1) They are the Judeo-Christian God (which would lead to uncomfortable questions about the other gods) 2) They are an Author Avatar (which would "demote" YHVH to just another godhead like Zeus or Odin). If you dig deep enough you can find canonical evidence for both, but generally option 2 seems to be more popular (and would actually explain 1) too, when the author happens to be monotheistic his/her god will be the supreme one).
      • That being said, The Immortal Hulk seems to have introduced a supreme Devil in the form of the One-Below-All, although its precise nature isn't entirely clear. It's revealed in the climax that it's practically the One-Above-All's own Hulk-like identity.
    • The Incredible Hulk:
      • A good example is when an old flame allows Bruce Banner to see all his inner personalities (each a different Hulk), one of whom takes the form of a monstrous reptilian devil. Devil Hulk tells Bruce "There's a little bit of God and the Devil in everyone", but the comics have yet to get around to that God part. We do get to see that an incarnation of the Beast lives in Bruce's head as well.
      • Another Hulk story offers a Double Subversion: Old Greenskin (who at the time had Bruce Banner's intellect) acted as best man at Rick Jones' wedding, and Mephisto crashed the party, claiming to have a lien on the bride's soul. He offered the Hulk a deal: His soul for hers. Banner thought it over, looked up at the sky, and sucker-punched the demon so completely that he flew right through the fire-circle wards he'd set up to keep the other superbeings in attendance from interfering. Sputtering, Mephisto screamed that what the Hulk had done was impossible (No mortal, however powerful, should be able to land a blow on a conceptual being without permission). Banner replied, (not an exact quote): "Weren't you listening to what the preacher said? We are gathered here in the sight of God! What, did you, of all beings, think that those were just words?" While Mephisto leaves the wedding seemingly defeated, his thoughts reveal that he took the beating on purpose to increase the Hulk's hubris. A few issues later, the Hulk's organisation, the Pantheon, went down in flames and Banner suffered a pretty bad nervous breakdown, ruining all of his work with Doc Samson.
  • Has thus far been the case in Hellboy, where demons seem quite active while God remains unseen. Mignola has commented on the absence of God/Heaven in the series as revealing too much about the divine order of the universe sort of takes away the mystery in a series. He has promised we'll see glimpses of Heaven and people who have gotten close to it, but that we would see a great deal more of Hell and its inner workings.
  • The character King Peacock in Alan Moore 's Top 10, at one point, is described as being a devil worshipper, as he is a member of the Yazidi sect. He describes it as God creating the universe and then taking off, leaving Melek Taus (the devil) in charge. Both God and Melek Taus are benevolent according to the Yazidi, though.
  • Bone sort of seems to have The Lord of the Locusts as an example of the trope because he is a formless being who appears to have a lot of powers and influence on the real world, and he actually killed the closest thing they had to a God. Sort of. Rose implies that the God figure was responsible for her own death, not the Satan figure. Either way, she's dead for the majority of the story. It is also briefly implied that the two beings are actually two aspects of the same being, who is both creator and destroyer, good and evil.
  • Lucifer is present in The Wicked + The Divine, but there's no mention of any Abrahamic God. Then again, we only see one representative from each mythology in every Recurrence, so they may exist and simply not have appeared in this time.
  • In Chaos! Comics, both Heaven and Hell are real and while Lucifer has long since being ousted by Lady Death and still plots to regain his throne, God has seemingly abandoned this universe to its fate and is nowhere to be seen, leaving the angels completely leaderless. With that said, the Norse Pantheon is also part of the setting but they play a peripheral role before they get defeated and enslaved by Purgatori.

    Comic Strips 
  • After the death of Jack Chick, author of the infamous Chick Tracts comic booklets, cartoonist George Pfromm posted a cartoon where Jack Chick went to Hell for publishing his fundamentalist comics and is mocked by the Devil, who tells him that God doesn't exist and never did.

    Film — Animated 
  • Anastasia: Grigori Rasputin makes a pact with the dark forces of hell, but there's never any appearance or mention of any light forces of heaven. For all anyone knows, a typical animated princess musical could be set in a really crappy, even darker fantasy world than it looks.
  • In the DC Animated Movie Universe, Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips are free to oppress and terrorize the universe. There is zero mention of Highfather, Orion, or the other benevolent New Gods from the comics. Either they don’t exist, are indifferent to the universe, or Darkseid already triumphed over them.
  • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is an odd example: the Big Bad is Eris, the goddess of discord, who is presumably one and the same with the Greek mythological Eris. But no other gods appear or are even mentioned, and Eris is alone (save for her monsters) in the scenes depicting her looking down on the world.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Even present in Ghostbusters and its related media; while there's plenty of evil gods and lesser deities (like Gozer) running around, there's no indication of any good gods opposing them, so the Busters have to make do with science.
    • Well, Marduk appeared in one episode of the cartoon, and was a depicted as a fairly benevolent "god of the city". He still needed the Ghostbusters' help to defeat his ancient enemy Tiamat, though.
    • Also, in the original film there are hints by some characters that Gozer is the harbinger of the Biblical Apocalypse, and not just its own brand of doom.
    • The ending of the second film implies the Busters might have something divine backing them up somehow; when Viggo's painting is destroyed, it's revealed that underneath it is a renaissance painting of the Ghostbusters portrayed as Saints.
  • Mike Nelson pointed this out in his book Mike Nelsons Movie Megacheese in the review of Event Horizon, in the form of a hypothetical conversation that somehow turns into him ordering a sandwich from the reader.
  • In The Devil's Advocate, the Devil is able to act with total impunity on Earth, while God's influence is nowhere to be seen (aside from a non-consequential scene where holy water reacts to the Devil's hand). The Devil even addresses this, saying that God doesn't care about the suffering of humans and even relishes in it, likening him to an absentee landlord.
  • In Hellborn Asylum Of The Damned, there is a Devil that plays an active part in damning the lives and souls of human beings, even the good ones. However, as stated by one of the characters in the film itself, "God doesn't take a look around here."
  • While the book of The Lord of the Rings averts this trope (see below), this is the impression of someone who only watched the movies and never read any of the books or especially the backstory (most of the facts are only filled for the appendices and The Silmarillion). It's possible to watch the movies without ever learning that Gandalf is a maia (or even what a maia is), or the existence of the Valar or Eru, or know about the downfall or Númenor. Something subtly influences everyone's fate and sends Gandalf back from the dead, but it is sufficiently abstract and distant when compared to Sauron as to qualify for this trope. note 
  • A MST3K film The Touch of Satan is pretty much this.
  • The Exorcist film series. The power of God/Christ does seem to be more powerful than the power of the Devil but God seems absent for the most part.
  • Oh, God!: The Almighty mentions the above film when testifying on Jerry's behalf:
    "What about all that hoo-hah with the Devil a while ago, in that movie? Nobody had any trouble believing that the Devil was real and existed inside that little girl. All she had to do was throw up some pea soup, wet the rug and everybody believed. The Devil you could believe, but not God?"
  • In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the Devil is the Doctor's Friendly Enemy, but God is nowhere to be found (unless the Wild Mass Guessing about Percy is accurate).
  • In Fallen, there is a demon essentially free to take over people's bodies and use them to commit murder. Apparently, the forces of Heaven are not concerned enough to show up and do something about it. There are some Catholic demonologists mentioned to fight the demons, but we never see this and the one who is shown in the film only gives the protagonist information on them.
  • Defied at the end of Devil. The Devil occasionally comes to Earth and torments people, and there is no divine intervention. However, one character manages a Redemption Earns Life, and the narrator comments that if the Devil exists, God must exist too.
  • Drag Me to Hell involves a horrendous curse where unless it's broken, the victim will be dragged to Hell by a demon after three days of torment. Yet though demons and Hell are frequently mentioned throughout the movie, neither God or Heaven are and the name of God isn't even invoked during the failed exorcism sequence towards the end of the movie.
  • In This Is the End, which takes place during the apocalypse, the Devil is shown in detail, but God is not shown. This is despite the fact that two of the main characters ascend to Fluffy Cloud Heaven at the end of the movie and become angels.
  • The Cabin in the Woods: The Ancient Ones are the only divine beings shown; there is apparently no good force capable of preventing them from causing The End of the World as We Know It if they choose to do so.
  • The Dark Side of the Moon (1990): Discussed at the end when the Devil (possessing one of the crew members) reveals himself to the only other survivor by pointing out how strange it is that he has no faith in God despite knowing that the Devil actually exists.
  • Inverted in Legion, in which people showing classic signs of demon possession (such as crawling on walls) are actually all possessed by angels, and not even fallen ones.
  • In The VVitch, the teachings of the Bible and prayers performed by the protagonists prove ineffective to repel the evil of the Witch haunting them. Meanwhile, Satan appears in various forms and successfully makes the Final Girl join his cult of witches.
  • Sort of an inversion in In China They Eat Dogs. After the climatic shoot-out at the end, God Himself shows up to collect the souls of the deceased and take them to Paradise. Satan, however, doesn't show up in flesh, but instead sends a lower-ranking devil as a representative to collect the souls headed for Hell.
  • Discussed but ultimately subverted in From Dusk Till Dawn. Jacob is a former preacher who lost his faith in God after his wife died, which is a bit of a problem when he, his kids, and everyone else around him is being attacked by vampires, who are extremely vulnerable to holy items that the survivors would have easy access to if they had a man of God with the strength of his convictions on their side. Seth fixes this problem by telling Jacob that, since the vampires are the spawn of Satan, then that must mean there's a Hell — which means that there must also be a Heaven and a God. This is all the convincing Jacob needs to go from a faithless preacher back to a "mean, motherfucking servant of God".
  • In Krampus, the titular demon freely terrorizes Max and his family, but Father Christmas is nowhere to be seen. This may be because this version of Krampus targets those who have lost their faith in Christmas. Hence, if nobody has faith, then Santa will not come, but Krampus will. Basically, "Krampus, but No Santa".
  • Spawn (1997): The movie centers around a character who's been to Hell and several demons, yet no angels or indicators of heaven appear in the movie apart from one character lamenting that God gets all the capable dead. During this Spawn never discusses or even considers the possibility of trying the other side. While Spawn was sent to Hell, keep in mind it was punishment for murdering innocents and being an abusive husband, so he brought it on himself.
  • Bedazzled (2000): Discussed and averted. The Devil gripes that any mortal who meets her always wants to ask if there's a God and what He's like. She wonders why meeting the actual Devil isn't interesting enough for them.
  • Noticeable in The Omen film series, where The Antichrist has an Ancient Conspiracy with unlimited resources at his beck and call, control over animals, seeming immortality, mind control powers, and hellhounds to kill whoever he wants, while the forces of good consist of a handful of priests who engage in You Have to Believe Me! before dying horribly, and nothing else.

  • Redwall, the indirect provider for the page image. The series has several bad guys mention "Hellgates", and one of them drops the name of Vulpuz, some sort of evil deity. The original book, Redwall, features a giant adder named Asmodeus; in-universe, one character identifies this as "the name of the devil himself", and in real world mythology it is the name for some kind of demon king or high-ranking lord of Hell. The same book also has chief villain Cluny the Scourge casually killing someone and saying "Tell the Devil Cluny sent you". Satan or the Devil is also mentioned a few other times, while God never is.
    • The good guys have an afterlife called the Dark Forest, and in earlier books at least the appearance of having actual religion, although it is never discussed — pretty odd for a series whose title location is an abbey, populated by what was clearly, in the beginning, a monastic order. As part of the series' general Earth Drift, the not-quite-religion fades as time goes on.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Dark One has hordes of evil creatures, Darkfriend spies infiltrating every level of society, and the Forsaken, and has been trying to destroy all of creation since the beginning of time. The Creator never makes any sort of appearance (except possibly as a mysterious voice in the first and last books); in a late book, Rand gives a mini-rant about how the Creator created their world and then went on to create countless more without care of whether individual worlds died out, though this is implied to have been influenced by his psychic link to Moridin. In His place are a variety of automatic error-correcting routines built into the Pattern, like creating/reincarnating ta'veren.
  • The Weirdness has the main character Billy who believes in the Devil (thanks to some low-key Mind Rape where the Devil forced him to believe), but still doesn't believe in God.
  • Subverted in The Dragonlance Chronicles. As Queen Takhisis's armies of darkness cover the land, conquering all before them, it seems as though Paladine, the god of good, is nowhere to be found, until it's revealed in the third book that he's been traveling with the heroes on and off since about halfway through the first book, under the name of Fizban, helping to guide events to the point where Takhisis can be defeated.
    • While it's finally outright stated in the last book, it was rather heavily hinted at since shortly after his first appearance.
    • Also, when the Heroes notice early in the story that the constellations representing the Queen of Darkness and the Valiant Warrior have vanished from the sky, Raistlin interprets this to mean that "The Dark Queen is here, on Krynn! And the Valiant Warrior has returned as well to fight her." So from the beginning, the heroes have some reason to hope that they are not alone.
  • Obviously referenced by the title of No Gods Only Daimons. This is how Luke Landon, the main character, views the world at the beginning, however, evidence is starting to appear that this is not the case.
  • The Runelords falls victim to this one as well. The heroes eventually learn that their ultimate opponent isn't Raj Ahten, the Darkling Glory that was summoned by Raj Ahten's flameweavers, or even the Reaver queen, but the One True Master of Evil, queen of the Loci. She's actually introduced as a character in the second series, and we begin to see why she's worthy of the title. Glories and Bright Ones are talked about, but scarcely ever actually seen on-stage, and there's no indication as of yet that they have a leader or that there's any good-guy counterpart to Shadoath, the One True Master.
    • Fallion is implied to be the reincarnation of Shadoath's good-guy counterpart: as the Torchbearer, he has the power to undo her breaking of the True World. Given Shadoath's Start of Darkness (when she, being more grasping and power-hungry than truly evil, broke the Runes that held the True World together, the other Bright Ones magically wrote their sorrows on her until it broke her completely, hollowing out everything happy and positive in her), and the stated nature of the True World, the Bright Ones are less God/Satan than heroic-scale exaggerations of human nature like you might see in ancient mythology. Because Shadoath is a Bright One and Fallion isn't (yet), her corrupt deeds are frequently much greater in scope and consequence than Fallion's heroic deeds.
  • In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, Satan and his minions are visibly active in the world while there's no sign of God. The widely-believed explanation at the beginning of the series is that God and the Devil made an agreement to avoid overt interference in the affairs of humanity, and only God kept his word. Later, a character speculates that God is just a lot more subtle than the Devil. The sixth book gives a definite answer: God has lost interest in the world, and spends all his time sitting around admiring how awesome he is. And in the seventh book, God is essentially fired and His position is filled by someone who'll actually do good.
  • While the Creator exists, is good, and wants to help in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, he exists outside of the universe of the Land and cannot interfere directly without causing the end of the world. Lord Foul, on the other hand is trapped inside the same universe which is not a good thing for anyone sharing the place with him. However, Covenant's initial appearance in The Land appears to have been the Creator's doing; a plan to circumvent the whole causing the end of the world thing, that hinged on using free will as a means to achieve something greater than could be achieved through either direct intervention or use of a tool of some sort. Just how well this has worked is somewhat up in the air, but the Gambit does appear to still be playing itself out.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's works and the resulting Cthulhu Mythos, there is neither a God or the Devil (although Nyarlatothep does fill the Devil's role in some ways), just ancient godlike beings who don't give a damn about humanity and will kill us all when they return. The closest thing to good deities, the Elder Gods, have no more love for humans than the others; they just want to keep the Great Old Ones imprisoned — and since that is a good thing for humanity, they can be considered "good" from our perspective.
    • Notably, the Elder Gods were an addition by August Derleth, who was an avid admirer of Lovecraft but a devout Christian, and couldn't or didn't want to understand Lovecraft's intentions to depict the universe as a hostile and uncaring place where humanity has absolutely no special position; instead Derleth made Earth the central battleground for cosmic incarnations of good and evil. Latter contributors to the Mythos often kept the Elder Gods, but made them less "good" than "uncaring but opposed to more dangerous things".
    • Also, while Nyarlathotep gets continuously interpreted as the Devil by various humans, the implications that aren't dependent on the Unreliable Narrator seem to portray him as a Shiva-like destructive but impartial deity.
      • Although he does often appear to enjoy himself immensely when in human form...
      • That's something of a case of Flanderization by later writers. In Lovecraft's own stories he has two appearances in human form, and one in near-human. In first of those he isn't yet really a deity, but simply a human scientist who has become essentially an Anthropomorphic Personification of the immutable cosmic laws (it's a Mind Screw), and is simply driven rather than malevolent or cruel, as far as the reader can tell. He receives human sacrifices in person as the Black Man, but he never speaks in that story and gives no impression of sadism for its own sake — it's just a function that he is performing. His depiction as a creatively cruel monster trickster is mostly based on his appearance in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, where he once again is performing a role as the protector of the Great Ones — though while clearly holding them in contempt. But even as he torments Carter with false hope, he seems to deem him a Worthy Opponent, facing him directly instead of just letting his masters squash him like a bug, as had happened to everyone else who tried to see Earth's gods.
      • The physical universe does have a divine creator, in a certain sense of the word. It was created by Azathoth, who's sometimes irreverently referred to as the "Blind Idiot God", because he is little more than a mindless formless mass of chaos residing in the center of reality. He is also the progenitor of all the Outer Gods.
  • While the Otherness in F. Paul Wilson's Adversary novels is a reasonable stand-in for the Devil (with a side order of Lovecraftian abomination), the opposing force that works against the Otherness is fundamentally indifferent to human welfare, and is definitely not God.
  • Played with in The First Law. There are no true gods in the setting; in fact, the local Crystal Dragon Muhammad being a powerful wizard running an elaborate ruse is a major part of the setting and its general tone. However, demons are very real. Oddly enough, the closest thing to a God figure is the mythic hero Euz, who was himself half-demonic. His four sons (well, Juvens, Kanedias, and Glustrod, anyway) went on to start the plot of the original trilogy in motion.
  • Good Omens creates a world where Heaven and Hell are not the final arbiters of the supernatural; while the Forces of Evil appear to get a lot more face-time in the book, Heaven is represented only by the distant Metatron — explicity not God himself but "the voice of God, like a Presidential spokesman".note . As the book develops, it is revealed that the ultimate truth is that a third force exists, the Ineffable, who stands behind Good and Evil and is very probably manipulating both agencies.
  • C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: This work is an inversion, due to the presence of Big Good deity Aslan, while every villain until the end of the last book is mortal. Tash is another supernatural creature, but is not directly depicted as Aslan's opposite. However, Aslan's "father", the Emperor-Beyond-The-Sea, never physically appears — this fits with New Testament depictions of Jesus appearing physically while God the Father works behind the scenes.
  • Lewis also discussed (and, obviously, Defied) this trope in The Screwtape Letters: the titular demon Screwtape advises his nephew Wormwood that the reason they no longer do overt things (for instance, offering a Deal with the Devil) is because if people start believing that the Devil is real again, Fridge Logic will kick in and they'll reason that God must exist too, and then their whole plan falls apart. As such, they're better served by silently and invisibly manipulating people into not believing in anything at all; an atheist will wind up in Hell as surely as any sinner, after all.
  • The Paradis books justify this — God lost to Satan, who turned everything into a Crapsack World and sends all the dead to Hell. Yes, this is a rather dark series, why did you ask?
  • K. J. Parker's The Scavenger Trilogy is set in a world where the god Poldarn may be very real and active. Poldarn is the very spirit of death, failure, destruction and folly. When Poldarn creates, you won't like what he makes. There is no sign of a more hopeful god.
  • Averted in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion (or possibly subverted). While Morgoth (whose backstory as essentially a fallen angel is a fairly direct Lucifer analogue) and later Sauron are generally the most powerful forces directly affecting Middle-earth at a given time, God (Eru Ilúvatar) does exist and will act directly if pushed far enough (see "The Downfall of Númenor"). Gandalf also implies that He is subtly influencing world events all the time.
    Gandalf: Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and you also were meant to have it — and that is an encouraging thought.
    • Gandalf also says in the book, as explanation for Bilbo's astonishing Contrived Coincidence in happening to come across the Ring in the way that he did: "There was more than one power at work. I can put it no more plainly than that Bilbo was meant to find that ring, and not by its maker."
    • Gandalf himself is proof of the creator, since he's more or less an Angel. And God gives him a new, stronger body when the Balrog kills the one he's wearing at the moment.
  • Possibly true in The Saga of the Noble Dead. So far, the only active divinities are il'Samar, which is evil, and the Fay, which are amoral, but the most recent book has introduced a group of dwarven priests who are good and have magical powers no one else does, clearly drawn from something. As the series goes on, presumably this will be elaborated on further.
  • The Cosmere (and other Brandon Sanderson works):
    • This is subverted in the setting as a whole. There are 16 Shards which are basically gods that came into existence after the one big God was broken apart. They are not technically good or evil, although some of them certainly come across that way. A planet with only one Shard in residence might still find this applies if it's one of the nastier ones like Ruin or Odium.
    • Played with in Mistborn. Ruin is the only active deity at the time of the trilogy. It is some what subverted when it becomes apparent that Ruin does have an opposite, Preservation, but it is either dead or dying. Of course it turns out that Preservation's plan was still playing out, eventually defeating Ruin (and reuniting the two Shards).
    • The Stormlight Archive: The Alethi both pray to the Almighty, and believe that after death they go to a Valhalla style battlefield to reclaim the Heavens from the voidbringers. However by the end of the first book, Dalinar's visions reveal that Honor, who was protecting Roshar is dead. In the Second book Odium, who killed Honor, comes back to destroy humanity, which seems to make this trope apply. A third Shard, Cultivation, is also mentioned at various times throughout the books, but isn't directly worshiped and seems to be relatively neutral compared to the other two, until the Third book, when her intervention helps thwart Odium's plans and save Dalinar.
    • The Reckoners Trilogy has an interesting variant: Humans have started spontaneously developing comic-book-esque superpowers, but every single "Epic" is utterly evil. It turns out being even more direct, as Calamity, the being responsible for giving Epics their powers absolutely hates humanity.
  • The Hollows series by Kim Harrison is downright painful in this regard. It contains A) demons (who are explained to be powerful beings from another world) and B) vampires who are often explicitly dead humans without souls. Neither of these creatures can enter hallowed ground. Some characters, particularly demons, practice black magic which leaves a mark of "imbalance" on their aura (unless they fob it off on someone else). Yet who the ground is holy to, with whom one would settle the imbalance, and what one does with a soul is never explained.
  • The Fall of Chronopolis by Barrington J. Bayley. The adversary Hulmu is real and threatening, but the religion of the nameless The Church, insofar as it makes any sense, seems to be a weird version of pantheism.
  • The Icemark Chronicles by Stuart Hill has a being called 'Cronus'.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane novels the protagonist is a Christian Puritan who comes across various kinds of supernatural phenomena in his travels, both benevolent and malevolent, but never anything that would confirm the existence of his God, and this causes him a great deal of internal turmoil. Solomon's Character Development centers around accepting that magic is not inherently evil, and he eventually becomes blood brothers with a shaman named N'Longa.
  • The Felix Castor novels have several demons lurking on the periphery ever since the recent return of the restless dead, but there's no mention made of angels or God's representatives. Exorcists are nondenominational (and sometimes atheists), and the local Church Militant branch relies mostly on their own exorcists and bunches of loup-garous. The vast amount of demons may make more sense with the revelation that human souls can metamorphosize into demons, and that this is likely how the succubus Juliet began her infernal existence.
  • Fred Saberhagen:
    • In the Empire of the East trilogy, The Empire has hordes of demons at its command, but Ardneh was not at that point powerful enough to face any but the weakest of them in direct combat. When Chup calls out to the "Powers of the West" to help him against the demon Zapranoth, all Ardneh can give him is guidance, not any actual power. Once Ardneh got the hydromagnetic core of the fusion power lamp, all bets were off.
    • In Book of Swords, set in the same world but centuries later, the situation is a little different. The gods we see the most of, Vulcan and Mars, are pretty malevolent, and none of the gods seems outright good, but, as Dame Yoldi points out, the creators of Townsaver cannot be all bad. The Emperor is genuinely good.
  • Parodied in Eoin Colfer's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sequel And Another Thing..., in which the same philosophers who use the existence of the Babel Fish to prove God doesn't exist also use the existence of the Silver-Tongued Devil to prove Satan does, even though this ruins their original argument.
  • In Shadow Police, this is what the Smiling Man would like the heroes to believe (or, more specifically, that there is a Hell but no Heaven). Whether this is actually true, or just a ploy to cause them to give in to despair remains to be seen.
  • Ambiguously the case in the Johannes Cabal books. In Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, Satan refers to himself as being a fallen angel (in line with Christian religion/mythology) and tortures the damned in Fire and Brimstone Hell, and Cabal seems to be believe that God exists, but doesn't like him either and believes that Heaven is also unpleasant, involving a loss of individuality. However, in a later book, Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute, Cabal meets Nyarlathotep, who claims during a Breaking Speech that there is no Satan/God/Hell/Heaven, and in reality, Satan is just one of his masks, and merely believes himself to be a separate entity, and for his amusement, Nyarlathotep likes to torture bad souls and give good ones the "gift" of a Cessation of Existence. This is seemingly born out by a scene where Cabal (admittedly while trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine created by Nyarlathotep) has a vision of Satan and Hell and thinks he looks a lot like Nyarlathotep's human form. Although it is possible that Nyarlathotep was just saying this to Mind Rape Cabal, and there are indications that demons and devils exist independently of him, there's nothing that challenges Nyarlathotep's claims about God and Heaven.
  • Subverted in Creator/Charles Williams's War In Heaven where the devil worshipping (and empowered wizards) trying to destroy the Holy Grail, but fail because Prestor John, the Grail's supernatural protector gives aid to the people trying to save the Cup. Also, in his Descent into Hell, Place of the Lion there is subtle supernatural help, which is appropriate as the supernatural danger is more subtle than most stories of this kind.
  • Commented in Patrick Graham's The Gospel of Evil, where Carzo speculated they (the heroes of the book) are God's way to intervene. Played otherwise quite straight.
  • The Crimson Shadow: God is mentioned and worshiped, but never appears, only the good mage Brind'Amour (he believes God is the source of his power) and a paladin. Meanwhile, evil sorcerers like the main villain King Greensparrow and his minions are in bed with actual demons, who do appear. Brind'Amour's speech to Luthien on the matter may indicate this isn't necessary-if like he says good mages' power is (ultimately) from God, He doesn't really need to intervene (nor even send angels or whatever) since they will win in the end inevitably, being on His side.
  • Roméo Dallaire defies this trope in his book Shake Hands with the Devil. He believes that the atrocities of the Rwandan Genocide prove that the Devil exists, and that means God also exists.
  • This is the leitmotif of 616, which reveals there are good reasons for this to happen: Satan actually won the War in Heaven and is only letting us think otherwise for fun.
  • Technomancer by MK Gibson: Because God left and abandoned the world, demonkind is now ruler of creation. God's angels were left behind as well and did not take kindly to this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The universe of American Horror Story seems to fall into this. Satan, The Antichrist, and other malevolent deities make frequent appearances throughout the series but God or other benevolent deities are nowhere to be found. The only forces that appear on the show that aren't explicitly evil are either morally gray or indifferent towards humanity.
  • In Ashes to Ashes (2008), the forces of evil are alive and well, and walking around in the form of Jim Keats, but even though Gene is the force behind Purgatory, he is never identified as "good", just the target of Keats's vengeance. There is a God. He just doesn't intervene much cos he's too busy being a barman.
  • Babylon 5: The Shadows are almost a Shout-Out to the devil, but they don't really have a good counterpart. The Vorlons are the good equivalent as Kosh appears as the epitome of each race's archangel when he left his suit at that one time. The thing is Vorlons and Shadows try to play the Good/Evil axis, but are really templers of the Order/Chaos axis. In Season Four, it's revealed that the Vorlons aren't the good guys, they're almost as bad as the Shadows, and they only appear to be angels because they genetically and telepathically manipulated the younger races. When their true form is finally revealed, they're clearly Starfish Aliens. Even Lorien, the oldest and most powerful being in the galaxy doesn't claim to have any authority over the younger races and describes his role as that of teacher and guide, as the Vorlons and Shadows were meant to be. He refers to the universe itself as the creator of life, possibly with an unfathomable will of its own.
  • The status of God in the Buffyverse is very suspect. The series has "The Powers That Be", supposedly forces that fight for good, but the show is vague on what exactly they are. They also seem to do little to help the heroes, sending visions that let them know when people are in trouble and have been implied to have directly helped them a few times, but they're often nowhere to be seen when the shit really hits the fan — and the few beings said to work for them are often uninterested and unsympathetic to the heroes' plights. They are even referred to by the heroes as "The Powers that Screw You" and "The Powers that Sit on Their Behinds". On the evil side, the series has the Senior Partners, ascended demons who work through the interdimensional law firm Wolfram & Hart, who are shown to be VERY active in spreading evil and contributing to humanity's eventual downfall. The show's background has the Earth previously ruled by demonic gods millennia ago and Buffy's last season saw the heroes fighting the personification of evil, neither of which seem to have a good equivalent. In addition, at one point in the series a vampire in the series asks Buffy if God exists, and she responds "Nothing solid".
    • This is all countered to an extent by the fact that Buffy was resurrected from a place of perfection and peace, that she is pretty sure was heaven. But whether the existence of an afterlife implies the existence of a god is another debate.
    • Also, for all the demons in the series, there's not one angel. At least until they start showing up in the Angel comics post-After The Fall, and most of them turn out to be Lawful Stupid.
      • Though not all the demons are bad — several characters make references to the existence of peaceful demon races, and Whistler, Clem, Lorne and Doyle are all demons or half-demons who allied with the heroes at one time or another.
    • Still, the current evidence suggests that the most powerful terrestrial force for good in the Buffyverse is the Slayer. This is almost certainly true after the events of the Buffy finale.
    • It's worth noticing that at least some Graeco-Roman and Egyptian deities exist in some form in the Buffyverse, with appeal to Hecate, Janus and Osiris resulting in, variously, transformation into a rat, everybody transforming into their costumes, and resurrection. These may just be sufficiently advanced demons. Glory is also referred to as a God, though one of the evil ones.
    • Crosses are symbolic of crucifixion and holy water is holy because it has been blessed by a priest; neither are magic or supernatural in and of themselves, yet they are harmful to vampires. This doesn't prove the existence of God, but suggests there has to be some kind of unquantifiable force that imbues these objects with their powers. Word of God though says that Christians were simply the religion most dedicated to hunting vampires/demons and therefore used things harmful to demons as their holy symbols.
  • In Charmed (1998), the Devil ("the Source", short for "Source of All Evil") appears in several successive versions, but the show is maddeningly vague about who or what is in charge of "up there". The "Whitelighters" answer to "the Elders", but who do THEY answer to? Blank-out. The Elders seem to be the highest authority for the side of good, considering they were the ones who released the power of the Gods onto the mortals. Even so, they never actually do anything, except make things even more difficult for the main characters.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit", the Doctor faces off against the Beast, an Eldritch Abomination which claims to be Satan. Although no counterpart good entities appear, the Beast makes references to God, and a group called the Disciples of the Light who were responsible for imprisoning him in the first place.
  • The Good Place: For most of the first three seasons, there's lots of demons in the afterlife, though no angels or other good counterpart outside of one appearance on a single TV; at best, some of the demons become good. Even when angels start appearing, they have far less of a presence than the demons and are less effective overall. The Judge is more neutral. Right from the beginning, though, it's clear that there is a Good Place to go along with the Bad. It's unclear if God exists in this setting, though a Devil isn't mentioned either. Everything seems to be run by less powerful beings. By the end of the series, the trope is inverted; the Bad Place has been retooled into a Getting-Better Place where humans learn to become good enough to reach the Good Place, no matter how long it takes. It's still run by demons, but they've taken a liking to the change in pace.
  • Legend of the Seeker: Unlike in the book series, the Creator does show up... maybe. The Keeper, however, is far more prominent overall, regularly intervening or giving minions' orders in the second season.
  • The Big Bad of Lexx's final two seasons is the immortal sadist Prince of Fire, who claims to have existed since the beginning of time, rules a planet where evil souls are reincarnated, tortured and reincarnated again in a never ending cycle and has limited control over whose souls appear where. While the planet Fire does have a heavenly counterpart called Water, Water has no counterpart to Prince. By season 4, Fire and Water are gone, but Prince has reincarnated on Earth, where once again there are no real forces of good to stand in his way.
  • Subverted in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Eru Iluvatar is acknowledged in all but name by the In-Universe Satan, Sauron himself. Adar, another Dark Messiah figure, also mentions His existence.
  • On Lost both Jacob and MIB have been said to be the Devil, but neither has been said to be a god, though Jacob is described by Mark Pellegrino as a Jesus analogue.
  • In Married... with Children, Al Bundy meets Lucifer, but cannot disturb God: He's watching Knots Landing. He does get an oblique mention (though no name-check) in their It's a Wonderful Plot episode. The angel (played by Sam Kinison) who visits Al intimates that God spends a lot of time playing Nintendo.
  • In the Power Rangers Universe, there seem to be an awful lot of monstrous evil elder beings that exist to cause pain and destruction. But the heroic elder beings tend to be light on the ground. This doesn't seem to worry the Rangers most years, who usually save the day without needing divine intervention, but during season 10, the Rangers would have died on multiple occasions had a god (Animus, the diety of the wild zords) not directly intervened to save them.
  • Reaper. The Devil is a main character and several demons have appeared, but neither God nor explicit angels have. Well, the demons are all fallen angels, one demon managed to get his old gig back, and God was mentioned as the ultimate winner by the Devil in the first episode. Still, a good deal less good than evil.
  • With all the false gods in Stargate SG-1, there is no Sufficiently Advanced Alien masquerading as the God of Abrahamic religions — whereas the Goa'uld Sokar is said to have been the inspiration for the Devil in various cultures.
    • The ascended beings are sorta stand-ins for angelic beings: clad in white, all-knowing and infuriatingly self-satisfied. Occasionally one of them will get around their own Obstructive Code of Conduct to pull off a genuine miracle, like when Oma Desala fights Anubis to a standstill, or when Morgan La Fey heals Teal'c and kicks Adria's butt in The Ark of Truth.
    • The series lampshades this at one point, with Teal'c commenting that he can't imagine a Goa'uld capable of the benevolence shown by Jesus Christ.
    • The question of the Abrahamic God's possible existence (or at least the existence of an all-powerful creator deity) is brought up in the Stargate Universe spin-off series in several episodes such as "Faith" were the crew find a star system with a paradise planet that should not exist there due to it's age not matching it's state and the fact that the Ancient Seed Ships didn't detect it when passing through the location. It was revealed to be created by an extraordinarily advanced race of beings (who may or may not be Ascended Beings) between the time Seed Ships passed through and Destiny arrived which is give or take 2000 years. Some characters believe the aliens are a higher power or God or both and choose to stay with no proof one way or the other.
    • Later, these same aliens seemingly save T.J.s baby from dying in the womb after a gunshot wound and sent it to the planet to live there via non-physical means however it may have been a dream induced by the Destiny's A.I. considering later on again the crew from the planet return without the baby having been resurrected after dying from the harsh winter there and sent back only to die again shortly after. One of them believes the aliens restored their bodies but not their souls and that T.J's baby is in a better place but these is neither confirmed nor denied.
    • Finally it's revealed during the series that the Ancients discovered a signal or pattern or some form of intelligence embedded deep within the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation of the universe which existed prior to the universe's creation indicating the either the existence of an far older and more advanced Precursor race than the Ancients (possibly the aliens who built the star system) or God or even both. However the series was cancelled before it had a chance to resolve these storylines.
  • Supernatural has an interesting history with this.
    • Throughout the first three seasons, demons and other forces of evil were running rampant across the world without any opposing force of good to stop them aside from human hunters. The Devil gets a mention, but as a religious deity which the demons believe in, not as an actual character. There are also a number of pagan gods and demigods, but they all seem to be either evil or purely self-interested.
    • In terms of the demons' good counterparts, in season 4 the writers decided to take a different direction and angels first appear, despite Dean's disbelief. They are technically on the side of good, but vary in how much they care about helping people versus pursuing their own goals and interests. There are plenty of good angels, but they are bound by a strict hierarchy where disobedience is the highest crime. In 4.02 it's explained that the Devil/Lucifer the archangel will once again roam the earth unless the Apocalypse can be averted (being an archangel, his "good" counterpart is Archangel Michael). His backstory is also fleshed out: After he was expelled from Heaven for refusing to bow down to man, he created the first demon and is responsible for most of the larger storyline across all 5 seasons. In the season 4 finale, the 66 seals keeping Lucifer trapped are broken, and he returns to Earth as the season 5 Big Bad.
    • As for God himself, he has only ever been seen by four archangels. In the season 4 finale, Zachariah claimed God had 'left the building', and that the angels were giving the orders. In season 5 however God has been implied to have intervened in the storyline, transporting Sam and Dean out of harms way and bringing the angel Castiel back to life. Subsequent attempts to find him reveal that he is completely apathetic about the war between Heaven and Hell. Either that or while he does want Sam and Dean to win, he needs to be subtle in his methods to allow free will to continue. Then in the season 5 finale it's very strongly implied that Chuck is God. Admittedly, all he does is dress in an uncharacteristically smart white suit as opposed to his usual scruffy state, act in a much more calm and knowing manner, and then vanish into thin air, but since all angels and demons thus far had thought he was just a prophet and otherwise ordinary human, there aren't many alternatives. After all, angels and demons can detect each other. Plus, with his monologue/narration...he's God.
    • Season 11 confirms Chuck is indeed God and that he has simply been off doing his own thing throughout the entire series. In this setting, God Is Flawed as all hell. He admits that he used to have a great part in helping humanity move forward but stopped after a certain point due to a combination of both humanity and the angels disappointing him time after time and realizing that his interference wasn't effective. Eventually he decided that humanity was better off left to their own devices and left, which is why he didn't personally step in to stop the Apocalypse. While he feels that things have improved since his departure, others like Dean and many of the angels feel differently. During his conversations with Metatron, Dean, and even Lucifer, he's clearly frustrated that nothing he does or doesn't do seems to help his creations.
    • As of Season 12, God has left Earth alongside his sister Amara for parts unknown. Unfortunately for everyone else, Lucifer is still loose and the other archangels are either dead or indisposed, meaning that the show has finally truly crossed into this territory.
    • Word of God is that there originally weren't going to be angels and an Abrahamic God on Supernatural at all, and that the decision to introduce them in season 4 was made after the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike wrecked the planned ending to season 3 and forced the creators to find a new way to get Dean out of his Deal with the Devil. Whether Lucifer was also a result of this change or was intended to be the Big Bad from the start is unclear (his existence was alluded to prior to the episodes affected by the strike, but only in extremely vague terms that could have just been intended as Worldbuilding before being welded into the main storyline).
  • In the Season 2 finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sarah Connor mentions that she doesn't know if there's a God or not, but she knows there is an evil omnipresent entity that wants the world to burn (referring to SKYNET). The episode also reveals that much of the show's Myth Arc involves an attempt to build a machine "God" to oppose SKYNET.

  • Tom Waits' Heartattack and Vine gives an inversion: "There ain't no Devil, there's just God when he's drunk." And Robin Williams follows up: "If God drinks, he could get stoned. Look at a duck-billed platypus— I think you think he might."
  • Deathspell Omega portrays Earth along these lines: God either has abandoned humanity due to its sinful nature, or is actively destroying it for that exact same reason. Their song "Diabolus absconditus" (Latin for "the devil is hiding" or "concealed devil") is also named after the concept of "Deus absconditus" (same as the above, but with God in place of the devil), which essentially postulates that God has made Himself inaccessible to humanity.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The seeming revelation that there was no God and only a devil led Matt Tremont to join the Forgotten Ones in CZW, him believing Drew Blood to be the devil.

  • Thoroughly averted in The Bible, where Satan gets far less screen time than God. This trope is actually inverted in most of the Old Testament. Satan appears only in the First Book of Chronicles, Job, and Psalm 109. The serpent in the Garden of Eden is never stated to be Satan, nor is Satan physically described until the Book of Revelation, from the New Testament. Revelation and some of Paul's writings indicate the serpent is Satan, though it may not have been the view of Genesis' writers.
  • Some branches of Buddhism believe in a being named Mara (who is roughly equivalent to Satan as he tries to tempt Buddha into not reaching enlightenment). However, Buddha himself is not considered a god.
  • Inverted with Unitarianism, which generally believes God exists but Hell and the Devil do not.
  • Some branches of Theistic Satanism (not to confuse with the more common and atheistic Symbolic Satanism like that of Lavey) believe there's a Devil but no God like the one of Abrahamic faiths. One example of this is the Temple of Set.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 takes this to an extreme. The Chaos Gods are the sentient manifestations of the negative emotions of the galaxy (as well as the positive ones warped into the most extreme and twisted manner possible), but there is a distinct lack of any positive alternatives. Even the surviving gods of the non-chaos factions tend to be genocidal jerkasses, and the worst gods are the C'Tan, who are trying to exterminate every living thing in the universe then eat their souls afterward (and one of them is possibly the god of an Imperial faction, though they don't know it). Based on information from The Other Wiki, there may be two surviving non-evil gods... one is implied to be a C'tan (and therefore is one of the omnicidal gods out to eat souls though in fairness, it may be due to their trickster natures, so it would be unsurprising that the two are separate entities that impersonate each other), and the other is being tortured by Nurgle (who is, incidentally, one of the more likeable deities).
    • It has been hinted that the Eldar are slowly bringing about the birth of a new god which may be able to destroy Chaos (although it has been suggested that the birth of this god would require the death of every last Eldar). As for humanity, every positive emotion which could lead to the creation of a benevolent Warp entity is focused squarely on the Emperor, whose dying physical body is hooked up to an enormous life support machine. It's implied that if the Emperor were ever allowed to die, he would ascend to true godhood and be able to fight Chaos directly. Unfortunately, the loss of the Emperor from the physical world would be an unsustainable disaster for the Imperium: his psychic strength controls the Astronomican, a massive navigational beacon made of psychic energy, without which Warp travel would be practically impossible.
    • The Living Saints may serve as angelic counterparts to daemons, being powered by faith and mental discipline where daemons are fueled by negative emotions and desires (daemons of Law, if you will- which would make the Emperor a Law God, but that's beside the point). But they've never gotten as much attention as the Chaos Gods and has little fluff, and unlike the forces of Chaos they don't seem to have any domain in the Warp.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the World Of Greyhawk has Tharizdun, ultimate dark god, Sealed Evil in a Can since he's an Omnicidal Maniac horror. There is no counterbalancing ultimate good god.
    • Tharizdun may be the most utterly evil of Greyhawk's god, but he is far from the strongest- in the first three editions of the game, he was ranked as an intermediate deity, and his imprisonment barred him from affecting the world more than a weak demigod.
      • In Gary Gygax's Gord novels, Tharizdun once freed is a nigh-omnipotent being who can easily force all the demon princes, archfiends, and other rulers of the Lower Planes to serve him.
    • The most powerful of the evil gods, Nerull the Reaper, does have a good counterpart in Pelor the Sun God. Also, the demons of the Abyss (Demogorgon, Orcus, etc...) are directly opposed by some guardinal dukes from Elysium.
    • Early in the company's history, TSR did publish statistics for God, Jesus and Archangels, but later removed them from publication after heavy criticism. They have tons of other gods though, both evil and good.
    • Most of the core D&D settings were actually extremely focused on the issue of balancing out the various alignments. Greyhawk, Dragonlance and the Forgotten Realms all played heavily around the idea of Good/Neutral/Evil deities and other-planar beings. However, it was Planescape that really took the cake, as it had the concept that real estate on the alignment-based Outer Planes could be moved around based on the nature of the residents. This served to explain why gods were often too busy to meddle more in affairs on the Prime Material Plane. It also explained cosmic conflicts like the Blood War, which was really all the fiends fighting each other to absorb each other's planes and thus create a single "Hell". More often than not, the powers of Good just egged them on because it kept the fiends occupied.
    • Interestingly enough, celestial "monsters" (such as Devas, Planetars and Solars) were often vastly more powerful than most of their fiendish counterparts (Demons, Daemons, Devils, etc.). A single Planetar or a Solar could flatten multiple Pit Fiends or Balors. However, they were also less numerous, so it was generally assumed to balance out.
    • Forgotten Realms seems to avert this by balancing extremely evil and powerful figures with equally powerful and good figures. Most any evil deity will have a good counter-part, as will most evil entities, such as aberrations, orcs, drow (Dark elves), and so on. The one all powerful being, Ao, is considered some form of neutral, or just above it all.
    • Eberron uses this in all sorts of weird ways. One of the main themes of the setting is that evil has an advantage, but mortal heroism can make up the difference. As a result, you get things like the fiendish Overlords, who were obscenely powerful forces of darkness and corruption, without counterbalancing forces of benevolence - but the Overlords are Sealed Evil in a Can because mortal dragons worked with the couatl to bind them.
    • Justified in one 3.5 setting called Midnight: when Izrador was banished to the material plane, he managed to cut it off from other worlds, leaving him as the only divinity able to access it (because he was now a physical being there).
    • Something similar also happened temporarily in Dragonlance when Takhisis managed to cut off all of the other gods including the other evil gods from the setting leaving herself as the only god with any influence until mortal heroes managed to bring the rest of the gods back.
    • Another example is Ravenloft and its spin-off Masque of the Red Death. The Ravenloft setting is ruled over by mysterious beings called the Dark Powers. While there are many religions in Ravenloft, the Dark Powers are possibly the only divine entities that both actually exist and have any influence. It is unclear if the Dark Powers actually are evil or are neutral beings with a twisted sense of justice but they are the creators of the setting and thus are directly or indirectly behind much of the suffering that happens there, as they reward and punish evil at the same time. Masque of the Red Death takes place on a twisted version of earth that is under the influence of a rogue Dark Power called the Red Death who is much more actively malicious.
  • The World of Darkness series did this twice over, as is to be expected:
  • Inverted in Rifts. The Sourcebook Pantheons of the Megaverse gives advice on how a GM could portray an omniscient, omnipotent God. However, there's nothing in any of the books about the Devil, despite there being an entire dimension populated by evil creatures called Devils.
  • In Exalted, this is Word of God's explanation stance on the morality of Infernal Exalted making a Deal with the Devil.
    [if they refuse the offer]
    And you die. And if you don't die, you get nothing. Creation does not reward morality.
    It may not be the truly moral thing to do, but I find it a bit harsh (and unrealistic) to castigate people as utter, unrepentant, through-and-through villains for not dying for convictions they may not even be particularly invested in and will not be rewarded for, in this life or any other.
  • Pathfinder: Asmodeus is the Lawful Evil Counterpart to Ihys, his Chaotic Good brother. Naturally, Asmodeus killed Ihys. Of course, given that Asmodeus isn't known for being a particularly honest deity, it's possible that he made the whole thing up. The point is that the closest equivalent to the Abrahamic God doesn't exist, but the closest equivalent to the devil does. Then again, as with Dungeons & Dragons, there are many other gods that are good, evil or in-between, so there still is an overall balance.
  • Chill is about the players belonging to a secret society that investigates and hunts down monsters, who it believes come from some singular evil source. There is no such thing as a good supernatural being in its setting, or any evidence of benevolent supernatural powers. The players are able to tap the same supernatural energies for more benign effects, but using it too much can lead to agents falling to The Dark Side.

  • Implied in Jasper in Deadland: Lucifer is a minor antagonist, and he mentions that he used to be an angel. However, he is the only character from Abrahamic religions, as the other characters are all from Egyptian, Roman and Norse myths.

    Video Games 
  • Doom:
    • The original Doom games play this straight. It seems the only force of Good in the verse is our hero Doomguy, the Berserker Packin' man-and-a-half who takes on the hordes of Hell with his trusty shotgun (and chainsaw). That turns out to be enough, but still. Interestingly enough, the novels' interpretation of the Doomguy is a devout Catholic regardless.
    • Doom³: The game has the main character face demonic forced without any help from divine forces (which aren't said to exist anyway), unless you count the Soul Cube used by the Martians as a holy weapon. It is stated multiple times in no uncertain terms that the demons are demons, while the previous games left some reasonable doubt that they might just be weird-looking aliens from our dimension (which is what the novels went with). The ending of Resurrection of Evil at least implies that Heaven exists, but the whole thing is still vague.
    • Zig-zagged in Doom (2016) and Doom Eternal. The Slayer Testaments of 2016 talk about how the Doom Slayer received his enhanced speed and strength from a "Seraphim", and there's a tablet depicting an angelic-looking hooded figure watching him beat up on some demons. However, Eternal reveals that the closest thing to angels in Doom, the Maykrs of the realm of Urdak, are actually in cahoots with Hell in order to sustain their own civilization, with the Seraphim himself being a rogue Maykr. That said, it's also revealed that the Maykrs do have a progenitor they call "The Father", who is said to be the creator of all life in the universe, including Hell itself, but his time outside of the physical realm left the Maykrs to manipulate humans and many other species throughout the multiverse and lead to them developing their conceptions of heaven based on their manipulations.
    • The Ancient Gods DLC for Doom Eternal reveals the truth: God and the Devil are one and the same... the Father BECAME the Dark Lord of Hell after the Maykrs betrayed him. The being calling itself the Father through the first DLC is a usurper and a fake, being just a particularly powerful Maykr himself.
  • Grandia II's big twist is that Granas, the God of Light, was killed at the hands of Valmar, the Devil of Darkness. And then subverted or possibly played double-straight when it's revealed that while Granas was alive, he ruled a totalitarian empire that forced all people to worship him constantly. The creators of the Devil entity were originally just your typical rebel alliance. Oh, and both gods are really just products of extremely (sufficiently) advanced technology.
  • This seems to be the case in the Devil May Cry series, featuring The Legions of Hell and their leader Mundus, but nothing supporting the existence of God. Similarly, angels have been mentioned in passing a few times, but Word of God later retconned their existence.
    • Berial makes a subtle implication of God existing, when he talks about Sanctus and the Savior in disgust.
      Berial: A human, posing as God? How ridiculous!
    • Most of the religion in the Devil May Cry series revolves around worshiping demons that are friendly to humans, with Dante's father being a good demon messiah. Also, there are demons that appear to be angels. It seems as if in this universe, that instead of demons being fallen angels - angels are demons who fell up. However in a speech near the end of 4, Nero makes an explicit reference to God, and in Devil May Cry 5 references are made to William Blake, confirming that Christianity does indeed exist in the universe. How valid it is is left in question however, as according to Word of God there is no Heaven.
    • DmC: Devil May Cry rebooted Dante into being a half-angel half-demon. The story tells us that at many points in Earth's history demons and angels went to war against each other, and Mundus has a pathological hatred for angels as a result of this rivalry. Sparda's decision to mate with Eva (who is an angel in this universe) made Mundus angry enough to exile Sparda to his eternal torment. Also, we're told that nephilim, a hybrid subspecies born of demons and angels, were so powerful that they endangered the supremacy of both sides — this being the one exception where demons and angels actually fought together against a common enemy. As for where God is in this picture is unclear, nor are we told why the angels seem okay with Mundus ruling over the Earth as an emperor in the shadows.
    • God is mentioned in Devil May Cry: The Animated Series offhand. Issac, a man who frequents Dante's favorite diner, discovers Dante is a demon after spying on him for weeks. After Dante shows Issac that he's not a bad guy by saving his life, Issac asks Dante what he is, before realizing that sounds rude and dehumanizing and asks Dante who he is. Dante snidely throws it up in the air, saying that Issac should ask God.
  • Castlevania: A rare Inverted example. God's presence is made obvious and He even directly intervenes a few times, but the Devil is nowhere to be seen and is almost never mentioned. The closest we have is Dracula, a powerful vampire-turned-Demon-Lord who is frequently seen commanding The Legions of Hell.
    • Oddly enough though, demons are commonplace and while several angels appear in the story, all have fallen to the side of evil. (Significantly, this includes the angel of death.)
    • His church is benevolent 9 times out of 10 and nearly every good character is religious to some degree with many of their powers can be attributed as being holy. Even the Vampire Killer, whilst not directly divine in origin, is born from alchemy which is stated as being a gift from God.
    • Justified in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, where most religious discussion is with the main character's Miko friend, who naturally discusses things in Shinto terms, not Christian. Though ironically God is still brought up in both this game and its sequel.
    • In the sequel Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Dracula (or rather, whoever holds Dracula's title as "Dark Lord") is outright said to be the opposite of God, which if true would make him the local equivalent of Satan. It's not entirely clear if this is true, however, as the only people who seem to be sure of it are a cult with dubious motivations and a benign but very grouchy immortal with a highly cynical view of the universe.
    • Averted in the Lords Of Shadow Trilogy, Satan is the Big Bad and while God is never seen His presence is confirmed and very important to the plot.
  • In the Castlevania-inspired Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Dominique Baldwin explains why she became the Big Bad of the game: the incident ten years ago unleashed demons upon the countryside and harmed the people, and God did nothing to stop it. Thus, she decided to stop devoting her life to such an irrelevant force and instead sought power from the supernatural beings that were actually around. Eventually subverted when Dominque affirms God's existence and her belief in Him, because she intends to try and dethrone Him.
  • Inverted in a way in Disgaea. There are lots and lots of Netherworlds, each with their own Overlords, but there's no Satan equivalent that acts as a central ruling figure for them. However, only one Celestia ever present, and although God is never seen or heard, it's implied he exists. In Disgaea 4, God decides to punish the increasingly unfaithful humans, and in one of the bad endings sends an aspect of himself to punish the protagonists.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics is very heavy on religious warfare and involves a Dark Messiah using Demonic Possession to come back from the dead. Um, isn't God a little worried about this? If you look at the extended backstory brought on by FFXII, the Ivalice gods are monstrous jerks of the highest caliber (really, the Greek gods would be proud) and the assuming the Espers are the Lucavi and don't just have the same names, they actually come across as sympathetic. It's more a case of bad God, good Devil here. Also, Altima/Ultima is not a Lucavi - she's a head Angel who used to be under the Gods' direct service, but more or less told them to go to hell after realizing just how badly they treated the Lucavi and took up their cause. Of course any sympathy the Espers have lose it all in FFT where they're perfectly willing to have humans murdered by the tens of thousands just to resurrect Ultima.
  • Inverted in The Simpsons Game, where we don't see the Devil but play DanceDance Revolution against God.
  • Diablo and Diablo II. Deckard Cain mentions Hell is always bent on destruction (with Diablo as the Big Bad) but Heaven seems unfathomable (although there are angels).
    • The High Heavens and Burning Hells wage an eternal battle of good vs evil, and while there are no perfectly symmetrical counterparts to the Prime Evils, the Angiris Council is good enough. The forces of good (very strong ones, at that) are definitely present in the Diablo universe, they're just not shown that much because they prefer not to directly meddle in human affairs, Tyrael being the obvious exception.
    • The cosmology of the Diablo series is a combination of this trope and God and Satan Are Both Jerks. During the time period of the games, demons are much more active and influential on the world, but according to the storyline, neither of them care about humans and their world, except as a pawn or stepping stone in the war between Heaven and Hell. Angels at one point considered wiping out humanity themselves, and it was only Tyrael's intervention that prevented it.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Played with in Dragon Quest VII. The final battle between God and the Demon Lord ended with both MIA, but most of the world was still sealed away by evil, so that only a single island remains intact when the game begins. As you progress, the question of whether or not the Demon Lord won is repeatedly raised. Oh, sure, it looks like God planned for this by setting up a ritual to reawaken him... But when the ritual's performed, the 'God' who's summoned ain't the nicest guy around. Then post game where you do find the real God who is considerably more benevolent, it also turns out he decided to let humanity sort out the Demon Lord and restore the sealed world themselves while he just watched, wanting to make sure humans could stand on their feet without his aid.
    • Dragon Quest IX: There was a God, but He was going to destroy the world due to its evil. His daughter intervened and turned herself into a tree until the humans showed enough benevolence to return her to her true form. Corvus, an angel who was betrayed by humans, went into Rage Against the Heavens mode when released by the hero and attacked Zenus, splitting Him into ten fragments that serve as Optional Bosses, some more self-aware than others.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • This is prevalent in the religious conflicts between the worshipers of the Nine Divines and those of the Daedric Princes. The Church of the Nine Divines is more or less a Saintly Church, which has been uniformly benevolent throughout the series. However, the "Divines" they worship (also known as the Aedra, which means "our ancestors" in old Aldmeris) sacrificed much of their power during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. As a result it has left them much weaker than the Daedra ("not our ancestors") who made no sacrifices during creation. Preferring a much lighter touch when intervening on mortal affairs, many mortals question whether the Divines even exist. The Daedric Princes, while not universally evil (some are, in fact, quite benevolent, and all tend to hold up their end of a bargain), tend to be amoral, unpredictable, sadistic and, on occasion, prone to attempting world conquest. They are universally reviled as 'evil', and their worshipers are considered misguided at best, and dangerous lunatics at worst. They are, however, very much present in the world. They speak directly to their worshipers, sometimes even appearing in a physical form, and are perfectly willing to offer immediate, tangible rewards for those that choose to do their work.
    • While the trope is played straight in the eyes of many denizens of Tamriel, the protagonist of each game tends to have the support the Divines in order to accomplish what they seek to do. Oblivion's Knights Of the Nine expansion and the main quest of Skyrim best exemplify this. During the Knights Of The Nine, when the Prophet of the Nine gives you a new ability, which he says comes from the god Talos, and will allow you to kill the Big Bad of the game's arc in the dimension he goes to get a new body. After the battle, you die too, only to come back after a few days. The only explanation anyone can offer is that the divines brought you back. You are the only one to directly benefit from divine interventions in game, apart from a major intervention in a spoiler below. In Skyrim, very early in the main quest, the PC is revealed to be a "Dragonborn", a rare mortal gifted with the soul of an immortal (Aedric) dragon by the draconic God of Time, Akatosh.
    • The Dunmer (Dark Elves) have an interesting take on this. In general, they acknowledge that the Daedric Princes that they do revere - Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala - are actually ruthless, vicious and brutal entities; even Azura, the most benevolent of those Princes, still cursed the whole species for the actions of the Tribunal. At the same time, the Dunmer view everyone else, Aedra and Daedra alike, as either lying tricksters, ineffectually weak, or uselessly malicious. (By comparison, Boethiah and Mephala are usefully malicious, as they taught the Dunmer how to survive in a harsh environment through their maliciousness.) It's not really surprising that the only gods the Dunmer truly revered as benevolent were ALMSIVI, or the Tribunal, a trio of Physical Gods who were a major part of Dunmer culture from the mid-1st Era to end of the 3rd Era 4000 years later. All of whom are depowered and two of whom die as a result of the events of Morrowind.
    • This is mentioned by the Oblivion NPC Else God Hater, a Daedra Lord worshiper. "The gods don't do a damn thing. Do they even exist? How could anyone tell? Daedra Lords, sure. They exist. They do things. Bad things, mostly, but things you can see. The gods? They don't do a damn thing. So why do we build big chapels and sit around and mumble, and ask them to save us from this and that? It's stupid. And chapels and priests and folks groveling on their knees, they're stupid, too."
    • The court mage in Oblivion's Cheydinhal castle asks if you worship the Nine Divines, asking rhetorically if they've ever helped or harmed the PC. She states that were the hero to worship a daedra lord, they would get results. Bad ones, but measurable results. She then states that she considers worshiping gods a waste of time, though the daedra cult of Azura are a nice, reasonable bunch.
    • Clouding these waters further is the presence of Lorkhan (aka Shor, Shezarr, etc,) the "dead" creator god of the mortal realm. According to virtually every creation myth (with a few variations,) he convinced/tricked the other divine pre-creation spirits into sacrificing part of their power to create the world. He was "killed" as a result, his "divine center" (heart) torn from his body and cast down in the world he helped to create. The moons are said to be his "rotting corpse" and his spirit is forced to wander Nirn, occasionally taking form as a "Shezarrine," great champions of mankind who usually show up to help in wars against the Elven races. So it's possible that rather than there being "Devils But No God," it could really be "Devils, weakened Angels, and a Dead God."
  • There was a God in Tears to Tiara. But not anymore, and the only people who ever met the guy have no idea where he's been for the rest of existence. It's actually a bit of an inversion, however. There is no God, but the Satanic figure is his former underlings the Twelve Angels. Satan himself is a pretty decent fellow here and refuses to be worshiped as a God, as that removes humanity's responsibility and will from its own hands. The angels though...
  • In Dwarf Fortress, civilizations worship various gods, with temples being built in their honor and, very rarely, holy wars in their name. For all that, the gods mostly curse people who profane themnote  - and then only if they're widely worshiped. Demons are actively involved in the world, taking over human and goblin civilizations by posing as the aforementioned gods and beating their way to the top, respectively. More show up if you've Dug Too Deep. Lots more. A strong Dwarven fortress is quite capable of demonstrating the mortality of these Demons. Gods they very clearly ain't.
  • While it's unsure if the Maker in Dragon Age: Origins exists, there is no Devil or god of evil, only personifications of character traits. A rage demon the PC fights with the help of a templar laughs at the templar's declarations of faith, taunting him that the god he worships and the heaven he hopes for simply don't exist, but that there are demons. He then attacks the party. (There is never any solid indication that the god the Templars worship really exists. Their church was started by a prophet who was said to have divine powers, but there is a competing theory that she was simply an incredibly powerful mage.)
    • It has likewise been speculated that the Maker could be an unusually powerful benign Fade spirit (they exist, but since they don't try to possess people by force, they are rarely seen, unlike demons) - or a Pride Demon.
    • Regardless of whether or not God (the Maker) exists, the religion's particular belief is that the Maker turned his back on humanity, first for daring to try to reach his city deep within the Fade (which turned the Golden City into the Black City, unleashed the Archdemons and the Darkspawn, and caused the collapse of the powerful Tevinter Empire), and then for subsequently murdering his bride (the prophet Andraste, who had just convinced the Maker that people were worth saving when she was burned at the stake). Suffice to say, if there is a God, humans really went out of their way to piss him off. The church believes that spreading the Chant and defeating the Archdemons will allow humans to redeem themselves in the Maker's eyes.
    • The dwarves and the elves don't necessarily believe in the Chantry's teachings, preferring to believe in ancestors (Paragons) and the old gods (mostly of nature), for dwarves and elves respectively. While Paragons really did exist, there's no evidence for the Elven Pantheon until Inquisition, where Flemeth reveals herself to have a fragment of Mythal within her, and Solas turns out to be Fan'Heral/the Dread Wolf. The Trespasser expansion pack reveals further information about them confirming that they were not really gods, but phenomenally powerful mages that became revered as god emperors by their subjects.
    • According to Justice in the Awakening expansion pack even the spirits don't know if the Maker exists. As for the Devil there are no clear analogues except maybe the four demons that, according to the in-game codex, taught Humanity Blood Magic. On the other hand you can fight several of them in the games as optional bosses, so it's unlikely that they are some kind of Devil.
    • This is a key plot point in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Corypheus (one of the 7 original Darkspawn) confirms the Chantry's version of the Darkspawn origin story, but states that the Golden City was already corrupted and empty when the 7 first entered it, and that there was no sign of the Maker inside. This fuels his plan to become God and give the world the Maker it deserves.
    • The creators themselves have said that it is intentionally ambiguous and they don't plan to give a clear answer.
  • Inverted in the Pokémon series games and anime where there is a counterpart for God called Arceus, but there is no counterpart for the Devil. Played straight in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers games however, where Arceus is nowhere to be seen, and that only one Pokémon, Darkrai is the true evil one. There is one who carries a striking resemblance to good'ol Lucifer in its backstory. Giratina was one of the first Pokémon Arceus created, along with Dialga and Palkia. While Dialga was given domain over time and Palkia over space, Giratina control matter and antimatter. However, while Dialga and Palkia were nice enough, Giratina had some bad behaviour, which led Arceus to exiling it to the Distortion Realm, the world opposite of ours. Giratina is the only living thing there, and has complete control over that realm.
  • In Mace: The Dark Age, its stated that God has pretty much abandoned Earth because of the Covenant of the Seven's actions who made a deal with the demon Asmodeus to engulf the world in a perpetual dark age. It doesn't help that neither Christianity or Islam exist in this world and both Europe and the Middle-East are highly fragmented between pagan warlords while the world is going to crap.
  • Fear Effect: The games make it clear that there is a Chinese version of hell and a Chinese version of the Devil called The King Of Hell. However, there seems to be no heaven or God - unless the island where the Eight Immortals (who don't seem to do much of anything) live at counts.
  • Averted in the Warcraft universe which does feature benevolent gods, including some who directly help the player at times. Interestingly, the game's most widespread "good" religion, The Light, is arguably more like Buddhism in that it has nothing to do with worship or deities and more to do with philosophy and introspection.
    • That said, we have recently became aware of the Void Lords who created the Old Gods and are currently implied to be the ultimate force for evil in the universe/franchise. They do not, as far as we know, have any "Light Lords" or equavalent Good Counterpart, so, Double Subversion?
  • BlazBlue: There is no 'benevolent God', the closest thing you can call 'God' is a supercomputer more interested in keeping the whole world inside a depressing time loop. And there's the Devil figure known as the spirit Terumi Yuuki who actually succeeded in destroying or disabling that supercomputer.
  • Explicitly pointed out in Fallen London. When London was dragged a mile belowground it came into proximity with Hell, which exports Nevercold Brass in exchange for souls. There's no word on Satan, but there are devils aplenty, charming their way amongst society. Parts of the Church want to go to war against Hell - they did it once before and were crushed, but the devils were amused. They might not be amused again, but some of the clergy wonder.
    "The thing is, we know the devils. But when did you ever see one of the Host? Their absence is nothing less than an embarrassment. Perhaps if devils go to war, then the Gate will open. Perhaps we can return to that blessed place. Perhaps we shall partake."
    • The truth is that Fallen London's world is fundamentally eldritch, just people try to make sense of it according to their cultural background. So for a Victorian era English person a charming and soul stealing being must be a Devil... the analogy breaks down when you learn that they are alien space bees from the land of dreams.
  • In the Thief series, the Trickster, the Pagan god, is very much real and plays an active part in the goings on of the physical world, while there is never any indication that his opposite number, the Builder (sort of a more technology-inclined version of the Christian idea of God), is anything more than a religious construct.
  • Not technically God and Satan, but almost every Persona game has the main characters fight a very proactive Anthropomorphic Personification of a negative aspect of humanity (humanity's greed, humanity's desire to self harm, humanity's grief, humanity's dissatisfaction, humanity's apathy). Meanwhile, no Anthropomorphic Personification of the positive aspects of humanity show up to help out. There is one guy who represents a vague "best of humanity", but he is infuriatingly hands-off, and has only shown up in two games.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in Touhou Project, which is mainly based on Shinto; Touhou has many God characters and a Lucifer-analogue in Shinki (though her canonicity, along with all other characters from before the 6th game, is highly questionable). Oddly, Shinki is generally seen as a rather nice person, if zealous and prone to violent outbursts when annoyed. On the other hand, while various God characters show up (many of which are almost pathetically weak), none of them are stated to be an "absolutely good" God. The one God stated to have this role, The Great Dragon, has never been seen and nobody knows what it looks like beyond "it's supposedly a dragon" and there is no confirmation that it even exists. Even main character Reimu Hakurei, who is supposed to be its High Priestess, has no connection to it and in fact for a long didn't even know what deity the Hakurei shrine is supposed to house and hence who she is supposed to serve.
  • In Darksiders, a figure known as the Creator has existed for untold millennia and made countless races, including angels and demons. However, he left the Charred Council to preserve the balance between these species and prevent them from threatening all of existence. With them as the mediator, the Creator doesn't intervene and is implied to have also abandoned its creation long ago.
  • Dishonored: The only divinity of any kind is the Outsider, an Enigmatic Empowering Entity who the Abbey teach is the root of all corruption and evil in the world. There is no mention of any Good Counterpart. The truth is that the Outsider is just an old, impartial observer who occasionally gifts downtrodden people with extraordinary power to see what they do with it. The vast majority of the villains in the games have no magical abilities whatsoever with the exception of Delilah whom the Outsider really regrets giving his gift to. In Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, it turns out that the Outsider was once just a random street rat who was murdered in a ritual that merged him with the Void and turned him into a god. The cult that did this wanted to put a face to the Void so that it could be controlled instead of being subject to its random fluctuations. The cult eventually evolved into the Abbey, scapegoating the Outsider despite knowing that he was never the ultimate evil.
  • Onimusha: With the Genma running rampart in the world and especially Japan, it might make you think just where the hell are the good deities like Amaterasu to protect mankind. The answer: She didn't exist in this verse. The world wasn't created due to Izanagi and Izanami shaping it and then forming the Shinto Pantheon, but Fortinbras, the creator of Genma just popped up out of the primordial chaos, sired the Genma race and then was in need of a Slave Race for his race to consume... so he made mankind for that purpose. So he's basically an example of God Is Evil that acts more like a Devil thanks to his legions of demons and making no pretenses of being angelic, with the exception of his title being God of Light.
  • Cuphead: The Devil serves as both the ruler of hell and owner of a Casino. After Cuphead and Mugman end up losing their souls to him in a Craps game, he agrees to spare them if he collects the soul contracts from the other residents of Inkwell Isle. At no point in the game is God ever mentioned.
  • Vampyr: God is established to exist (much to the main character's consternation since he was a skeptic) and has some kind of power against vampires such as crosses paralyzing them, but is otherwise a very passive figure while a vampire deity worshiped by the Celts as the Morrigan exists and periodically rises from her slumber to torment humanity, while the only one that opposes her back is her equally demonic son (implied to have been Merlin) who has an bizarre sense of morality and is also opposed to God. On the other hand, it's shown that is possible for even vampires to believe in God and bypass the effects crosses have on them.
  • Inverted in Rhythm Heaven. The titular place has been seen multiple times throughout the series, angels exist nearby, and one minigame (Donk-Donk) is specifically about going there. In Megamix, there's even a separate location known as Heaven World, whose inhabitants become castle-like "guardians" when they grow up. While ghosts and demons have been shown in several minigames, nothing resembling the underworld nor Hell is visited in the series.
  • In Evolve Idle most universes have Hell planets as well as a Hell dimension, both populated with demons but there is no heaven or angelic beings unless it is in an evil universe, where Hell planets are replaced with Eden worlds and the demons that would normally evolve on them are replaced with angelic beings like cherubs. The Hell dimension is the same everywhere, though.
  • Terraria has a definite Hell/Underworld at the bottom of the map, populated by demons, devils, voodoo magic, and the tormented soul that can eventually become the Tax Collector NPC. However, it has no angelic counterpart. The closest things are the Hallow, which is more fairy tale-esque than angelic and a dangerous force on its own right; and the Floating Islands, which are more sky-themed than heaven-themed and have harpies and wyverns instead of angels. Statues of various things can summon their likeness if hooked up; there are statues of angels, but they do not do anything, which is a Running Gag in the game. The only known deity is the Torch God, who is The Ghost and does not do anything at all unless too many torches are put underground.
  • Explicitly described in the League of Legends Alternate Universe "High Noon Gothic". In the backstory, mankind invaded Heaven in a "land rush" and in the process accidentally destroyed it, allowing the demons from Hell to ravage the earth. There are some displaced angels who remain to fight the good fight, but demons outnumber them substantially, and while some of them are identified with Satanic undertones (especially Thresh), the jury's out on the higher power that the angels once answered to.

  • Demons obviously exist in the world of Zebra Girl, but there is noticeably no sign of God or any sort of angelic power. As is evidenced when Sandra (herself transformed into a demon) has a nervous breakdown and begins screaming into the sky, begging God for answers, before coming to the cold realization, "I'm just talking to myself here, aren't I?"
  • Satan has appeared a few times in Sluggy Freelance, but God has never been seen outside of a dream Kiki had (where he peed on her head). Averted during the "That Which Redeems" arc, however, where there is a Goddess of Good to balance out the Demon King. She's just been stuck in a freezer for a millenia or two.
  • In College Roomies from Hell!!!, Satan certainly exists, being a major recurring antagonist. However, the only clear evidence that God exists is a few "miraculous" events and Satan's own word; at least at one point, Margaret, the character Satan's most antagonized, was openly skeptical.
  • In the present timeline of Holy Bibble, Satan is very real and involved in the lives of mortals and angels alike, while God has only shown up once, and under dubious circumstances.
  • Dominic Deegan plays with it a bit. Hell and demons do play a big part in the comic's early years, but there is no central devil in charge of it all with the closest being Karnak taking over and deciding to serve as punishing the damned. The result is he stops being an antagonist and spends his days with hunting and tormenting, causing demons to have a greatly reduced role in the overall plot. Heaven does exist and there are several different religions each with their own take on a God, but no divine force of good moves to interfere even when there's a literal war going on in Hell. So it's a "no" on the Devil and a "maybe" on God.

    Web Original 
  • Mortasheen, as it usually does, does this in a weird way. There are no gods (unless you count The Ultimates), mainly because the creator, who said it himself is an "agnostic science nut". However, there are the equivalents to demons The Devilbirds, birds charged in the egg with negative psychic energy to cause and feed off of negative emotions. But, there are no angel equivalents. There were once when Mortasheen was still called Necromon, but the creator couldn't come up with any re-designs for them that he liked, so he scrapped them.
    • Possibly inverted with the existence of Abathrael, a vaguely angelic entity that's treated as an Unknown type, follows Blue-and-Orange Morality, holds a decapitated human body inside itself, and seems to speak and behave like a computer program. It's not a traditional angel by any means, but the mystery surrounding it leaves it possible that it may be a genuine divine entity, by contrast, the Devilbirds are just psychic bioweapons named and themed after various sins.
  • Inverted and played with in the creepypasta "The Heaven Project". According to the "angels", Hell is not a real thing, and there is a "God" seen, but no mention of the other guy, which is rather unfortunate as Heaven is... not exactly all it's cracked up to be.
  • Inverted in Angel Hare. At least two of the major characters are angelic beings who specifically reference Scripture, but while 'demon hares' are occasionally mentioned, they never physically appear- and it's implied their existence might be more metaphorical than anything else.
  • Freshy Kanal: Satan has appeared in the series, battling against Santa Claus. God gets several name-drops in the battle, but has yet to actually show up as a character.

    Western Animation 
  • A very odd example in Legend of the Three Caballeros. Donald Satan rules the Underworld, and while there are many benevolent or neutral deities around (such as the Roman gods, Xandra the goddess of adventure, Charon, the Sun and the Aztec incarnations of Life and Death) there is no judaeo-christian counterpart opposing him nor is there an alternate afterlife. Then again, the Underworld is actually pretty livable (murderous youkai aside), so this "Satan" is ironically more like Hades, making it a reverse Everybody Hates Hades.
  • Futurama has a robot version of this. The robots make many references to Robot Hell (the Robot Devil is even a recurring character), whereas Robot Heaven only gets one sentence, and afterward is never mentioned again.
    • Robot Jesus is also mentioned. Jewish Robots believe that he existed and that he was a very well-made robot, but he wasn't their Messiah.
      • However, Bender interacted with a semi-corporeal space entity, which is strongly implied to be God - or, as Bender guesses and God seems to confirm, the result of God colliding with a space probe to become a kind of cyborg God. Its cameo in Bender's Big Score seems to suggest that some of its powers can be accessed without its awareness or consent by technological means, perhaps through its "space probe" half. This very entity directly TOLD Bender that it thinks that the best way to help people is to help them in a way that ensures they don't notice it. And given the strange prevalence of Contrived Coincidences working out in the heroes' favor…
    • The Second Coming of Christ apparently happened in 2443, although its only lasting effect seem to have been the destruction of most of the world's video tapes and that people now prefix the name Jesus with the word "Zombie".
    • Bender did eventually visit Robot Heaven in a sixth-season episode and met Robot God (and told him to shut up). He only visits briefly as a Robot Ghost, so it's not clear if It's a physical or metaphysical place. Robot Hell, on the other hand, is in New Jersey.
  • In Hazbin Hotel, there's no mention of God as it's shown that the seraphim control Heaven and created the universe. Lucifer also never tried to usurp His throne, but was damned for daring to give mankind free will. It's also shown that without a God to keep them in line, the angels are massive jerks little better than the demons. In the Spin-Off Helluva Boss, His absence is lampshaded when Villain Protagonist Blitzo sarcastically comments "I guess there is a God" in the pilot.
  • Trigon in Teen Titans (2003) is built up as the series' parallel to Satan in almost every way, but there doesn't seem to be a contrasting "God" figure at all.
  • Transformers: Generation 1, cartoon continuity. While both the cartoon and the comics had devil-figure Unicron, God-figure Primus was a comics-only figure until Beast Wars ten years later.
    • Transformers: Animated as well. Character designer (and fellow fan) Derrick Wyatt has stated many times that Primus is not in the Animated universe, but Unicron might exist, albeit simply as a mechanical Eldritch Abomination rather than an actual god. In the end, we saw neither.
    • In Transformers: Prime, we met Unicron in a three-parter. Primus gets the odd name-drop, and "By the Allspark" remains a popular Oh, My Gods! statement (no word on whether they mean a big box or where sparks end up.) but both concepts stay far offscreen.
      • The Grand Finale movie Predacons Rising finally clarifies the status of the Allspark in this series by blending everything ever meant by the word Allspark into one. Primus exists but we also don't meet him. Vector Sigma exists, and was used to restore the Matrix of Leadership in season two. Still, the Allspark is mostly something Optimus has to get back to the core of Cybertron, while Unicron is alive, active, and trying to destroy all life and bring about a reign of chaos. (But as stated before, God showing up to save everyone is sort of a drama killer, so it's best if Primus keeps his hands out of things.)
  • God makes only a few appearances in South Park while Satan certainly has far more. In fact, everyone who isn't Mormon goes to hell. This was changed in "Best Friends Forever" where the angels admitted that they needed to have non-mormons in heaven due to a general shortage of people to fight the devil. God and Satan are on rather good speaking terms, and, despite all the fire and brimstone, hell is actually a pretty civil place. God and heaven aren't at all absent, they're just not as interesting.
  • Rick and Morty: The Devil appears in one episode but God is never seen in person. Rick C-137 (the smartest man in the multiverse) thinks he doesn't exist. It is certainly possible that God may indeed exist as well and Rick is aware of the fact, but chooses to deny its existence or defy its authority for whatever reason. It is also possible that "The Devil" is not actually the biblical/literal devil, but rather yet another interdimensional being who is just a mere annoyance to Rick.
    • On at least one instance Rick actually did make a pretty desperate plea to Jesus and God for survival, after he had sacrificed himself to save Morty and resigned to death but seen a glimmer of hope to not die. Naturally Rick, being Rick, immediately 180's to yelling at God to fuck off the second he actually does manage to survive.
    • Christianity gets a nod as something Rick and Morty would never appeal to given their characters, and they use that fact to defeat Story Lord.
    • Subverted with Reggie, a Zeus with god-like power who had thousands of kids with a living planet. Rick casually dismisses him as "just a Zeus" and points out, after Reggie's death, that if he were the God then things would have ended very differently for Rick. Considering how badly "just a Zeus" was able to kick the man-shit out of Rick (who only survived, let alone won, thanks to a sheer stroke of luck), the real God of the Rick and Morty universe must be a real force to be reckoned with.
    • One of the Decoy Ricks makes mention that God was asleep for thousands of years, and Rick plans to kill him, but given how the episode played out, the veracity of this claim is yet to be verified.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: Satan and demons canonically exist, as do just about every supernatural creature imaginable, yet throughout the series God only ever appeared in a story Nick made up.
  • In Samurai Jack, there is a very powerful (and god-like) demon named Aku, who has conquered not just the world, but the whole galaxy as well. While there are some good gods (such as Odin, Ra, and Rama) who are implied to be quite capable of destroying Aku, for some unknown reasons they won't intervene directly, and just leave the responsibility of killing Aku to Jack; a mortal man who despite all his superb fighting skills, was still not even close to defeating Aku at the time. Well, at least until Jack does successfully destroy Aku in the final episode.
  • In The Real Ghostbusters, the heroes have visited quite a few hellish dimensions and fought demons from them, but if a heavenly version of the afterlife exists, it has never been seen.
  • Subverted in Castlevania (2017): God exists and grants his followers the power to burn unholy beings. He has no other presence in the face of Dracula's army of demons invading Wallachia because He doesn't believe the people deserve any better. Blue Fangs spells it out when he enters the cathedral of Gresit to kill the corrupt Bishop who incited Dracula's wrath in the first place.
    Blue Fangs: God is not here. This is an empty box. Your life's work makes Him puke. Your God's love is not unconditional. He does not love us. And He does not love you.
  • Invoked in The Simpsons episode "How I Wet Your Mother", as the family are falling to their deaths, Professor Frink tells them that he's managed to prove that there's no Heaven, but Hell exists and everybody goes there. Though Heaven and God have appeared in other episodes.


Video Example(s):


Hazbin Hotel

The Amazon Prime series Hazbin Hotel, opens with a storybook tale of this version of Genesis, revealing Lucifer's origins, how he met Lilith, the creation of Hell, the start of the Extermination and finally the reveal of Charlie and her desire to make her mother proud.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / StorybookOpening

Media sources: