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Divine Intervention

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Jules: This was Divine Intervention! You know what "divine intervention" is?
Vincent: Yeah, I think so. That means God came down from Heaven and stopped the bullets?

Sometimes, one or more of the characters get caught in a tight spot. They might be heavily outnumbered, hanging on to ledge by one hand, or falling into a volcano. For them to survive, someone will have to help them, and this time, one (or more) of the gods interfere in person. The function is that of a Deus ex Machina, but in this trope we are left with little to no doubt about the nature of the helping hand.

See also God Is Good. If whether there was an intervention is debatable, see Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.

Contrast with God's Hands Are Tied.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens occasionally in Transformers Cybertron, with Primus lending power or providing Mid Season Upgrades. In fact, the Autobots' main goal is to reconnect Primus' spark with his body so that he can intervene in the crisis they face (the all-consuming black hole created by his brother Unicron's death throes).
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: To divinely intervene is ascended Madoka's job after she make a wish to save all the magical girls. She must do this for all eternity while being removed from physical existence.
  • In One Piece, Luffy is about to have his head chopped off by Buggy in Logue Town, on the very same platform that Gold Roger was executed on. Just before the blade Buggy's using can connect, the entire platform gets struck by lightning. Sanji wonders aloud if there was anything divine about what happened. It's heavily implied that it was either this trope, considering how afterwards everything was in favor for the crew's escape, or pure coincidence. It is also implied that it wasn't natural lightning that saved Luffy in the first place. What occurred at Logue Town is still very vague, even though it was over 700 chapters ago.
  • Horribly inverted in Berserk through the Behelits, which allow someone crossing the Despair Event Horizon to summon the God-hand to give them the chance to become Apostles, or with the Crimson Behelit, to become a member of the God-hand. Seeing as God in the Berserkverse is essentially the human perception of evil and injustice it kinda makes sense that the heroes aren't saved on their bleakest day but instead the less savoury characters are given the power to ruin everyone else's day too.
  • At the end of Scrapped Princess, Pacifica is stabbed in the back and bleeds out to death. In that moment, however, she is summoned before Lord Mauser, who asks her whether she, Lord Mauser, was wrong to collaborate with the invading aliens and to corral the remaining humans in fake reality that Pacifica's continued survival would destroy. When Pacifica is successful at Reasoning with God, Lord Mauser heals her wound (something even her sister Raquel, the mightiest magician in the land, couldn't do) and lets her complete her quest.

    Fan Works 
  • A literal case happens in Shadowchasers: Ascension, when Odin, Thor, and Loki give Dante a deck with copies of their cards in order for him to defeat Big Bad Jalie Squarefoot. (Jalie's goal in the fic is to become a god himself by slaying the bound God of Evil Tharizdun, something that the other gods cannot allow, as Tharizdun is exists to prevent far greater evils from regaining power.) The lesson to be learned from the ensuing battle (which Jalie clearly refuses to learn) is one that is repeated several times over the course of the fic: Jalie is not even close to being in the same league as the beings he is trying to challenge, and he is a fool for trying to do so.
  • A Future of Friendship, a History of Hate: At the climax of Episode 2, it appears as though Ruinate has won, due to destroying Twilight's soul, rendering her an Empty Shell and thus rendering the Elements of Harmony inert. Fortunately, his sister Amity remotely steps in, using the bonds between the Mane Six to restore Twilight's soul and not only restoring the Elements, but unlocking their full power.
  • The Pony POV Series:
    • The Deities do intercede in things, but prefer to do so behind the scenes most of the time.
    • The Fires of Friendships were actually the founder trio's friendship calling down the Mother of All Alicorns, Fauna Luster's power to finish off the Windigos.
    • Pandora helps Shining Armor a few times against General-Admiral Makarov because Makarov is her rogue son. This includes causing the Plot Hole ridden story Makarov's Reality Warper powers has created to conflict and weaken him.
    • The Interviewers interventions are generally this as they're actually the children of Amicitia, the Goddess of Happy Endings.
    • During the Rumors Arc, the pantheon has to do this in mass to combat Discord's endgame.
  • Ghosts of the Past: During the climax of the Forever Red arc, a variety of factors caused by the Red Room's actions — including damaging the NeverNever in the process of having a base there, and more importantly kidnapping and brainwashing Harry — cause both of the Faerie Courts as well as several of the Endless to retaliate by providing aid to the heroes, as best as they're allowed to.
  • In part three A Bridge Once Broken Xelor, the god of time observes the proceedings from the very start, before ultimately helping the heroes.
  • Unlike in the books, the Old Gods and the Seven in Robb Returns are making an obvious mark upon Westeros. The Seven transformed their statues in Baelor's Sept to warn the people about the incoming danger (not that they paid much attention, as many of them thought it was a demand to start a religious war against the followers of the Old Gods). The Old Gods have been more forthcoming, in addition to kicking off the plot by sending Robb back in time they have given various people explicit messages via talking in their dreams, visions, and briefly possessing people to speak through them, they even go so far as blinding Blackfoot/the High Sparrow so he will stop trying to to burn everything associated with their religion. They also heal Shireen of the greyscale, and restore Maester Aemon's eyesight.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The whole point of End of Days is getting the protagonist to realize that in the end, nothing he can do can beat the bad guy, and asking for divine intervention is the only way to save the world.
  • In Pulp Fiction, hitmen Jules and Vincent are caught off guard by a man with a Hand Cannon, who empties all six shots at them. At point blank range. Without hitting them once. Jules is convinced that this is Divine Intervention, and it inspires him to give up his life as a hitman and walk the earth. Vincent is less than convinced, though his best counter-argument is that of a Flat-Earth Atheist.
    • A careful viewing of the event in question reveals that there are several bullet holes in the wall directly behind Jules after the shots are fired, but none directly behind Vincent, which may indicate that for Jules it really was this trope and for Vincent it really was just luck. The fact that shortly thereafter, Vincent is blown away by Butch implies that maybe he should have considered that a final warning.
  • In The Blues Brothers, their mission for God to save the orphanage is helped along by this trope. Of particular is the car which survives an impossible amount of damage only to last just long enough to get the brothers to where they need to go, where it promptly falls apart. Once their mission is over, the luck runs out and they're arrested.
  • Purgatory: Shockingly, God isn't too pleased with Blackjack & Co. messing around with His town.

  • The end of Stephen King's The Stand.
  • Obviously occurs in The Bible numerous times.
  • In the One Rose Trilogy, the plot centers around the naitan Kallista Varyl who gains new powers and abilities after calling on God to save a besieged city. Throughout the trilogy, she gains 8 "Godmarked" mates who are essentially the magical batteries for her powers.
  • Entirely inverted in The Atomic Blood-Stained Bus. The gods don't really care all that much for humanity, have no interest in being worshipped and certainly don't want to be discovered.
  • In The Fires of Affliction, faith healers are able to work miracles, but the gifted ones are rare, and they seem to have more and more trouble convincing God to answer their prayers. After Finding The Cure fails, the heroes are forced go this route to try and cure the heroine's poisoning. It works, but only because the heroes' non-magical doctor keeps her alive long enough for the priests to convince God to heal her.
  • Happens several times in Marie Brennan's Doppelgänger books. Given how much the characters talk about and rely on their faith, it's not really a cop-out.
  • The Valar of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings only occasionally intervened in goings on in Arda (most notably sending an army out to defeat Morgoth after being begged by a representative of Elves and Men, and sending the Istari (Wizards) to aid the Free Peoples in the Third Age). The end of the First Age made them significantly more reluctant to intervene directly, due to the damage they had the potential to cause (as well as their growing belief that they'd never been meant to intervene in the affairs of the Children of Ilúvatar).
    • Another, lesser example is when they send the eagles to help Aragorn's army at the gate of Mordor, though their main contribution is to rescue Sam and Frodo from the exploding Mount Doom.
    • Ilúvatar himself only directly intervened in Eä three times in its history; once to call out Aulë for creating the Dwarves (and then giving them true life and independence when he repented), once to change the shape of the world when Númenor attacked Aman, and (implied) once to send Gandalf Back from the Dead. It's implied that He may have had more subtle interventions (such as Bilbo finding the One Ring).
  • Very prominent in Greek epics such as The Iliad. In fact, divine intervention heavily influences the outcome of the war.
  • The Dresden Files: The Knights of the Cross have this function (or act on His behalf) by always appearing precisely when they are needed. In fact, Harry Dresden relies on this at one key point, successfully, when Molly is in danger. The Knights themselves rely on events falling their way in order to accomplish their missions; when Michael needs to help Dresden but there's no one to watch his kids, his friend in the priesthood just happens to have his car break down outside Michael's house.
  • In The Journey to Atlantis, a god and goddess, Sol and Luna, respectively, frequently assist the characters on the island when they are in dangerous situations. They stop a snowstorm from becoming deadly, cause rain to get them to focus, and even use a thunderbolt to kill a pack of wolves that would have otherwise killed some of them.
  • The Alloy of Law has the god Harmony, who normally maintains a policy of non-intervention in mortal matters. However, in the climax, when Wax seriously pleads for help, Harmony responds by sending him the trunk full of his guns and ammo.
    Harmony: You're welcome.
  • In the book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins discusses that, after being shot, the Pope attributed his survival to intervention by Our Lady of Fatima, claiming that "a maternal hand guided the bullet." Dawkins cannot help wondering why she didn't guide it to miss him altogether.
    • Catholic beliefs about the redemptive power of suffering figure in here, and they're especially appropriate in anything pertaining to Our Lady of Fatima.
  • As gods are characters in Coiling Dragon, there are potentially many instances of this trope. However, Lord Beirut, the seemingly all-powerful god that watches over Yulan continent, is an unexpected instance. After it is revealed that Bebe, Linley's companion, is actually Beruit's descendant, it makes sense that Beruit would intervene to help Linley out or that other gods would step in on their own. Examples include gods saving the life of Linley or one of his friends, or intervening to simply make them happy. After the above reason is revealed to all, Beruit becomes more of regular cast member in the story.
  • Played completely straight in John Ringo's Queen of Wands. Barbara literally channels the Christian God to warn the leaders of the USA that they explicitly need to ask for His assistance in fighting the monsters. When they do so, God's power is channeled through Barbara and her familiar Lazarus, a Freyan priestess and a Wiccan to simply wipe out the big bad quickly and easily.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Amends," Angel's life is saved when a snowstorm comes out of nowhere (in southern California, bear in mind) and blocks out the sun. Although it's left ambiguous whether this was truly divine intervention or the exact opposite; the First Evil had spent most of the episode trying to get Angel to pull a Face–Heel Turn, and it may not have been ready to give up on him just yet.
    • 4 seasons later the possibility that Jasmine saved him is raised. Which basically is divine intervention, though not exactly a friendly god.
  • At the start of season 5 of Supernatural, Sam and Dean are teleported away from the area where Lucifer is about to rise, Sam is cleansed of his demonic addiction, and Castiel is resurrected. They conclude that God had acted, though another angel suggests that Castiel, as a fallen angel, was actually raised by Lucifer to provide more opposition.
    • About halfway through the season, the angel Joshua confirms God did all the above, when Dean complains about God not doing anything to help them.
  • An episode of The Twilight Zone (2002) featured a man on death row being saved from his executions by increasingly improbable circumstances. Each time, the man hears a woman's voice say "Not yet," and he eventually sees a heavenly woman he believes to be an angel. He is granted a new trial and found innocent. At that point, he reveals to his lawyer that he is, in fact, guilty, but no one can do anything since the Powers That Be don't want him to die. He steps out of the courtroom to greet the press... and the voice says "Now," and a statue falls on him, killing him. The statue? The "angel" he saw: Nemesis, the Goddess of Vengeance.
  • Parodied on Bottom, in the episode "Hole". Richie and Eddit end up trapped on a condemned ferris wheel and end up hanging by their fingers as their car slowly disintegrates. They pray for a miracle; God's hand appears miraculously. However, once safely on the divine hand, then they both start commenting how they don't actually want to cause offence or anything, but they don't believe in God. Accordingly, the hand disappears....
  • The Legend Of William Tell: Kalem intervenes several times to save Will and his friends. Generally, she follows this with a lecture about how she can't spend all her time saving him.
  • At the climax of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Sacrifice of Angels", the Prophets, Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who are gods to the Bajorans, are talked into intervening directly to block Dominion reinforcements from using the wormhole, thereby saving the Alpha Quadrant's bacon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine has Divine Interventions as a game mechanic; if a 111 is rolled (on 3d6), something happens which is good for the cause of Heaven and/or bad for the cause of Hell. This could be anything from an NPC showing up to help or hinder the PCs (PCs can be on either side of the War) to the servants of Hell exploding into fireballs, depending on the situation and what the GM comes up with. Interestingly, a 666 results in an Infernal Intervention which is basically the opposite, good for Hell and/or bad for Heaven.
  • All members of a cult in RuneQuest can pray for divine intervention. The chance of it working is small, though (unless you're a high-ranking member), and always has a high price when it does - you lose part of your permanent Power attribute, and if you lose all your Power you die.
  • Should you ever find yourself in a very tight spot in Eon, and happen to have some qadosh to spare (qadosh basically shows how in-tune you are with your god), you can roll to have your deity take you out of the sticky situation. There are just 3 things you should consider: 1; Unless the roll ends with a perfect, you're going to lose qadosh, 2; Regaining qadosh is unbelievably difficult (except for those believing in Maktha, but the rules state that that deity doesn't HAVE divine intervention), and it will likely take you several in-game years to regain the amount you lost, and 3; Should you fail the roll... let's just say the gods don't like to be disturbed...
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Dragonlance, both in "recent" development and background includes a lot of this, including several all-out wars between gods. The Cataclysm happened when "good" guys won, but became so proud and self-righteous that even their own gods gave up and agreed it's best to drop a huge meteor on their arch-priest's capitol and let mortals blunder on their own for a while, maybe they'll learn to appreciate divine guidance (and divine magic) after that.
    • Forgotten Realms as a divine battleground, got a lot of such events, some more spectacular than others.
      • The Drow, especially as Always Chaotic Evil as in the books by R.A. Salvatore should, by all accounts, have backstabbed themselves into extinction long ago. Their deity Lolth is the only reason they are still alive, since she keeps her theocracies in the state of perpetual Enforced Cold War. Drow that have turned away from Lolth can be less vicious, but if there are more than one strong faction, they eventually start a civil war and completely destroy the community, so the only city which escaped being subjugated by one of priesthoods without becoming a smoking ruin is The Magocracy where wizards de-facto took most of the power even before wiping out their matriarchs in one swift coup.
      • The Imaskari empire had a planar seal, which among other things prevented their Mulan slaves from being helped by their gods (Egyptean Pantheon). This still didn't help. When those gods were really fed up with this situation, they simply smuggled a chunk of divine essence in — a bunch of powerful avatars were carried into Realmspace on Ptah's barge (he got spelljamming in his sphere of influence). They disembarked in a range that became known as Godswatch Mountains, spread their power to lesser avatars, who recruited priests and divine minions, then rolled over Imaskari with a rebel army growing as they walked on.
  • The Dark Eye has the second Demon Battle, in which The Horas Empire fought the outnumbered Rebels. When the battle, through the use of smart tactics and reinforcements from the tulamids (basicly arabs), changed in favour of the rebels, The Emporer, Fran-Horas, conjured a whole army of demons. When this happend, the Gods Praios (Sun, Law, just rulership), Rondra (honorable fighting, Lightining), Efferd (Sea, Weather) and Ingerimm (Fire, Craftsmenship)appeared directly on the battlefield and excorcised the demons, thus causing Fran-Horas to loose the battle, let the Horas Empire be dissolved and the New Empire be announced. This should be noted es remarkable, as usually any direct intervention of the Gods beyond prophecies is already straining the rules of the universe which are limiting them. They do usually work through their priests and other people.
  • In the "grimsical world of fantasy" of War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, a fair few things can draw the gods' attention, including any use of ritual magic (which invokes their power), spectacular success or failure at some task, or even the sheer whim of the dice (an all-'-' or all-'+' result on the four Fate dice rolled to resolve basically any action in the game that needs rolling at all will do it). Most inhabitants of the world actually try to avoid this, however, since the gods can be fickle and tend to cause their share of inadvertant collateral damage even when actually trying to grant a boon.

    Video Games 
  • In the debug mode in the RPG maker Unlimited Adventures, the designer can instantly win every battle by pressing a button called "WIN". This destroys all enemies, with the announcement "The gods intervene!"
  • The only way to actually influence your hero in Godville is to write commands for him to carry out (which have a sizeable chance of being ignored) or intervene more directly by encouraging or punishing (which make things happen more reliably, but waste more Godpower).
  • In NetHack the player can pray for divine intervention if he is in trouble. If you don't annoy your god (by praying too often), have a good alignment record (Karma Meter) and are not in Hell your god can heal you, feed you, cure delayed instadeaths like foodpoisoning or stoning, lift curses, etc.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, many of the universe's various divine beings have done this at one point or another. Though most would prefer to do so subtly, or indirectly through mortal agents, a few have intervened directly in the affairs of mortals. A few prominent examples of intervention include:
    • The various "Shezarrines" throughout history. They are theorized to be the soul of the dead creator god Shezarr/Lorkhan/Shor/many others manifesting in mortal form as one of the races of Men when they are threatened, and then advancing their cause, usually by killing lots and lots of Mer (Elves). Tiber Septim was rumored to be one such manifestation, before he himself ascended to godhood as the Ninth Divine, Talos, possibly by "mantling" Shezarr and/or as part of a Merger of Souls situation.
    • Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, has acted much more subtly in her instances of intervention, but not without leaving a major impact on the mortal world. She, along with Boethia and Mephala, convinced the prophet Veloth to lead the Chimer people to Morrowind from the Summerset Isles. When their leaders, the Tribunal, later betrayed her by being involved in the death of her faithful servant Nerevar and then using the power of the Heart of Lorkhan to ascend to godhood, she cursed them and left a prophecy foretelling their downfall. Thousands of years later, in Morrowind, she aided the Nerevarine in fulfilling that prophecy and bringing down the Tribunal once and for all.
    • Mehrunes Dagon is a villainous version of the trope whenever he manifests. His doing so led to the destruction of Old Mournhold and the Imperial Battlespire, and very nearly the destruction of Mundus entirely in Oblivion had he not been stopped by Akatosh, the chief deity God of Time of the Nine Divines pantheon, pulling a direct intervention of his own to end the Oblivion Crisis.
    • Akatosh pulled another during the Planemeld. He intervened when one of the Vestige's companions gave their life, allowing the Vestige to gain Akatosh's Blessings and challenge Molag Bal in single combat.
    • Kynareth, the Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens, pulled a few to help early mankind in their battles against the dragons and elves. When the ancient Nords prayed for aid against the dragons and their Dragon Cults, she sent Paarthurnax to teach them the Thu'um so they could use the dragons' own weapon against them. She was also perhaps the most active Divine in supporting the Alessian Revolt, sending her "son" Morihaus to join the conflict on Alessia's side. She sent rain to cleanse the blood from Ayleid forts and villages after Pelinal Whitestrake came through, so that they could be used by Alessia's forces.
    • The Daedric Prince Meridia granted a form of Resurrective Immortality to the Ayleid sorcerer-king, Umaril the Unfeathered. Umaril was initially defeated by Pelinal Whitestrike, himself a form of divine intervention as one of the aforementioned Shezarrines, but his spirit simply "went adrift" in Oblivion until reforming, not unlike an actual Daedric being. (He would be defeated for good by the Champion of Cyrodiil in Oblivion's Knights of the Nine expansion.)
    • St. Jiub the Eradicator, Morrowind's Ascended Extra Ensemble Dark Horse, was attempting to eradicate the much reviled Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell in atonement for his past "sordid" lifestyle. After being led into a trap by the smarter-than-he-thought Cliff Racers, the swarmed him with numbers in the hundreds. Jiub, according to his opus, was certain that this was going to be his Last Stand. After two days of fighting, all of the Cliff Racers lay dead and Jiub collapsed, exhausted and wounded. He was sure that he was going to die, when the Dunmeri Physical God, Vivec, saved him and declared him to be a saint for his actions.
  • The story of Tears to Tiara 2 begins with Ashtarte joining Hispania's rebellion against The Empire. Throughout it Tanit her Super-Powered Alter Ego offers guidance and once saves Hamil's life. At the end, Ishtar, her mother, leads all the Ba'al gods in saving her life.
  • At the end of the penultimate level of Journey, you and your companion are caught in a fierce storm and freeze to death after losing track of the mountaintop that has been your guiding beacon throughout the game. Then, after a Fade to White, you are greeted not with a Game Over, but with six giant white-robed figures, who have appeared to you in visions earlier, and who now raise you Back from the Dead and even max out your scarf, so you can fly all the way to the mountaintop in one go and finally complete your journey.

    Web Comics 
  • Occurs in College Roomies from Hell!!! right here (not actually as much of a spoiler as you might think).
  • Happens to the Paladin in True Villains after getting into a fight with Elia and Cecile.
  • Dumbing of Age: The Fundamentalist Carol Brown says that Becky doesn't have to take Communion if she's worried she's not right with God (due to being gay). After a beat, Becky points out that when her life was in danger, her girlfriend and a superhero showed up to save her, so she's pretty sure He still likes her. Then she takes Communion. Loudly.

    Web Original 
  • Pretty much any time the Tal'Vornian Gods turn up can come under this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens during at least one Celebrity Deathmatch.
  • Zig-zagged in King of the Hill. Hank decides to watch the Super Bowl instead of helping Luanne with her puppet show, which is being broadcast at the same time. However, the TV starts spontaneously changing from the game to Luanne. The first subversion comes when we see it's just Peggy, hiding around a corner, using a universal remote. Then at the end of the episode, Bobby comes up and says he borrowed its batteries before the Super Bowl, shocking Peggy. And then at the very end, he shrugs and says "Or maybe after, I don't remember."
  • Happens literally in the multipart episode of Samurai Jack, "Birth of Evil" (the origin of Aku). The gods Odin, Ra, and Rama use part of the Emperor's soul to forge a sword that he can use to defeat Aku. (This would later become Jack's sword.) These three gods were the ones who had defeated the evil cosmic entity that Aku was once a part of, which is likely why they intervened.
    • Also happened in "Jack and the Assassins" where, after Jack used a power gauntlet to defeat all but the sword wielder of said Elite Mooks only for it to lose power just then, Jack prayed for the aid to finish him off.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is stated to be the reason why the Avatar needs to be the one to defeat Firelord Ozai. The only other people powerful enough to defeat him would be viewed as political usurpers and perpetuate the war. Anything that Aang does would be viewed as divine judgment, and above reproach.