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God Is Dead

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Let's hope we never find out who or what did him in.

"Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him."
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Aphorism 125 ("The Madman")

In the beginning, God created Heaven and Earth. Whether it took six days or six billion years for Him to complete the Creation, there's nobody to give the award plaque to. Why not, you ask? Because, somewhere along the way, God kicked the bucket. Answered the last prayer. Played the last game of skee-ball. Named the last prophet. He is an Ex-Deity!!

This is going a step beyond Have You Seen My God?; they've called off the search and alerted the next of kin. The Council of Angels is now running around trying to figure out who's in charge.

Note that this trope does not directly refer to Nietzsche's pronouncement, which, in one of the most serious debates in the academic world, implies that God and all God represents didn't exist to begin with.note 

Thankfully, we don't need to dwell on grim philosophical intangibles to enjoy a story about the literal implications of the mortality of the divine. This trope can occur in either a monotheistic or a polytheistic setting; of course, the ramifications of a God dying vary in severity, depending on if there are many Gods or just one, whether gods are truly necessary for their respective domains of influence to keep functioning, and whether the position can be filled in some way or another.

Some people may be interested in trying to find the corpse or Pieces of God. Compare Götterdämmerung and Death of the Old Gods, which is the general end of the age of Gods, and Kill the God, wherein a (usually mortal) character destroys a God. Expect a certain amount of surprise should they succeed. Also compare Evil Stole My Faith, which is about a character's belief that there was no God to begin with; they don't necessarily have to be correct.

Not to be confused with Shinigami or The Grim Reaper, which are divine manifestations of the death principle (God Is Death), or Fallen Creator.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Soul Eater, there were eight "powerful warriors" eight hundred years ago, only one of which is widely worshiped by sensible people: The Grim Reaper. In chapter 110, he dies, giving temporary control of his kingdom to Excalibur until his second son returns. Also, another one of these eight was Asura, who, being the Big Bad, will probably also die. Those who worship him will probably also have this feeling.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In Dragon Ball Z, the universe is ruled in a hierarchy; Kais each rule over a quarter of the living world, and the Supreme Kais each rule over a quarter of the entire universe (including the afterlife), with the Grand Supreme Kai ruling over them. Sounds impressive, until you realize that King Kai (the ruler of the north quadrant of the universe) is not even as strong as the first set of villains, and even the Shin the Supreme Kai is surpassed in strength by all three of the main heroes at the point where we first see him. As such, there are no fewer than six 'gods' killed in the course of the series; Kami, the God of Earth indirectly by Nappa, King Kai by Cell's self-destruction, and the Supreme Kais of North, South, West and Grand Supreme Kai by Majin Buu. Although given that the Kais live in the afterlife to begin with, for some of them dying just means a halo appears over their head. On the other hand, being absorbed into Buu results in them permanently being fused with his being.
    • In Dragon Ball Super all of the gods of the entire multiverse in Future Trunks's timeline are dead. Most of them were killed by Goku Black and Zamasu, but the Supreme Kai of Universe 7 (that is, the main universe of the setting) was shown in the manga to have been killed by Dabura when he and Trunks stopped Buu from being released.
  • Angel Sanctuary: The very first sentence: God is dead. He's not actually dead until the very end. He's just been absent from Heaven for so long that a lot of the angels think he's dead. He turns out to be kind of an evil dick, so it's not a big loss when he gets killed.
  • Sensei no Susume has God being dead as the reason for the plot. God died quite some time ago and now the higher layer of angels has decided to look for a suitable angel to promote to the position of God.
  • Yukko in Nichijou uses this exact phrase, in English, after Mai hits her on the head with a book. This is followed by a dramatic camera angle change to focus on the (possibly reincarnated) wooden Buddha statue on the desk in front of her, and the narrator exclaims "Kami ga shinda" accompanied by a lightning strike in the background.
  • In High School D×D, Kokabiel reveals to the protagonists during their fight that God died long ago along with the Four Great Satans, and Archangel Michael is the one running heaven in his place. But don't feel too disappointed; he went out like a total badass using the last of his strength to seal away a being of such power that it could destroy the entire universe if left unchecked.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion: Homura's familiars cheerfully announce at one point that Gott ist Tot. Interestingly, they hedge closer to what Nietzsche actually intended to say, in that there is no such thing as moral absolutism and thus one should live as an Übermensch. While Homura doesn't kill the Goddess, she does usurp the Law of the Cycle out of necessity, and no, she doesn't feel good about it.
  • In Future Diary, this trope is played not only for the events leading up to it but its effects. God attempts to choose a successor through a survival game, resulting in the story's plot line.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: MAJOR SPOILERS: Prince Dios's fate is revealed to be a figurative and literal example. From the beginning, Dios plays the role of Greater-Scope Paragon and Physical God, occasionally manifesting as a Utena's ghostly Guardian Entity during her duels. At the conclusion, he is confirmed to indeed be dead. Akio, who is himself a now-fallen, depowered Dios. Yes, it does make sense (kinda), as Akio is lamenting the loss of his godhood and purity. More symbolically, this revelation leads Utena to reject her "Prince" as her idol, mirroring Neitzche's rejection of moral absolutism.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: True Dragon Veldanava died over 2,000 years before the start of the story. Normally, this wouldn't be cause for alarm since True Dragons have Resurrective Immortality, but Veldanava for some reason has never revived since then. The consequences of this have been far-reaching, from his daughter Milim Nava growing up without her parents and becoming a Demon Lord, his younger sibling True Dragons being alone and having to find their own ways, the fall of some of his finest angels, the rest of the angels taking their grudge out on the mortal races of the world for his death, and one of his bequeathed Ultimate Skills gaining sentience and deciding it's going to bring him back to life no matter the cost...even if that means killing everyone in the world. And it would actually prefer that to come to pass, since with Veldanava back they could just Restart the World.

    Comic Books 
  • Lobo: A Contract on Gawd has him graphically murdering "Gawd" and his brother Dave (the Devil Expy).
  • Ruins, a Marvel Comics graphic novel, shows a newspaper headline with a photo of Galactus' corpse and the headline reading: "God Found Dead In Space".
  • The Millennium story for The Authority was about a creature who created the Earth and is explicitly described as the closest thing there is to God. This creature was the being that had physically collected the matter that the Earth is formed of and placed it into orbit around the sun, but its plan was to return someday and use the Earth as a home; the evolution of life was a completely unplanned event that stemmed from a freak asteroid collision billions of years ago. The creature, as large as the moon and of comparable power, planned to de-terraform the planet back to its original state before taking up residence, unconcerned with the extinction of humanity since we are less than microorganisms compared to it. It was killed by Jenny Sparks in a Heroic Sacrifice (as the Spirit Of The 20th Century, her time was up anyway — until she was resurrected as Jenny Quantum). The creature qualifies for this trope. Jenny does not.
  • At the end of Preacher, God meets his end at the hands of the Saint of Killers.
  • A reveal in the Oni Press comic Black Metal. Bonus points as a major factor in the story is the protagonists (twin tween boys) killing and replacing Satan.
  • In Hellboy In Hell, Hellboy's arrival in Hell sparks an upheaval in the demonic hierarchy, with many former slaves turning on and killing their masters. Eventually it is revealed that Satan himself is dead, murdered by Hellboy during a gap in his memory, in apparent fulfillment of his destiny.
  • Both exaggerated and downplayed in The Mighty Thor with The Gods Butcher issues. Gods aren't really the true creators of the universe, but they are cosmically powerful entities, devoted to good, evil, or their own interest. Gorr the Gods Butcher dedicates himself to tracking and torturing every one of them to death. At the end of the first book, he has nearly achieved his goal: only an old, tired Thor is left alive. Because Gorr wants to keep him alive for the end.
  • In the aptly named God Is Dead, the Abrahamic God is found dead with a hole in His head on His throne in Heaven.
  • Spoofed in Sky Doll, where a character is named God just to be able to start the series by declaring that "God is a jerk" and then to say that "God is dead" once he gets murdered.

  • Only temporary, but Dogma makes killing God (or at least, Her current mortal guise, an old man on life support) crucial to the plot.
  • When Bower confronts Payton/Gallo in Pandorum, he asserts that God died along with the rest of humanity, and that there is nobody left to judge their actions as the concepts of right and wrong and good and evil have ceased to exist.

  • In Craft Sequence, the world went through the God Wars...guess where most of the gods are.
    • In Three Parts Dead, the moon goddess and later her husband. Neither of them are dead, as it turns out..
    • Let's see, in the second book, one of the characters killed the moon goddess of the first book (who isn't even one of his gods), the sun god, the sea god, and whole bunch of smaller gods.
    • In Full Fathom Five: all the island gods are dead. But as it turns out, one of them survived.
  • In Towing Jehovah by James Morrow, God's corpse is found in the Atlantic Ocean. The Vatican is ordered to bury it in an Arctic iceberg, while pissed-off atheists want to destroy it, as even a dead God is proof that they were wrong all along. In the next book of the trilogy, God gets posthumously put on trial for crimes against humanity. Well, Not Quite Posthumous, as it turns out. At the end of the second, though, He gets Killed Off for Real. The third novel is about how a visible reminder of God's death — a giant skull in geosynchronous orbit — affects Western civilization.
  • God (aka "The Authority") died in The Amber Spyglass. In the His Dark Materials verse, God was simply the first and most powerful angel. By the time Lyra and Will show up, he is senile and tortured by his eternal life. They simply let him out of his protective enclosure and he is freed, but he's too fragile to live in the world from sheer age, so he disintegrates from a slight breeze. Oh, the vicious irony.
  • Discworld:
  • Our Friends From Frolix 8, by Phillip K. Dick:
    "God is dead," Nick said. "They found his carcass in 2019. Floating out in space near Alpha."
    "They found the remains of an organism advanced several thousand times over what we are," Charley said. "And it evidently could create habitable worlds and populate them with living organisms, derived from itself. But that doesn't prove it was God."
  • In God's Debris, God killed Himself, resulting in the Big Bang.
  • Robert Rankin's Waiting for Godalming: God is shot dead in an alleyway. Later subverted, when it is revealed that God's death was faked as part of a massive insurance scam.
  • In the book IT, by Stephen King, the Turtle created the universe (because of a stomach ache). Later, it's revealed that the Turtle died in the thirty-year time gap of the novel.
  • In a Woody Allen short story, existential detective Kaiser Lupowitz is hired to find God; and becomes chief suspect when His body is found.
  • In Clay by David Almond, upon going insane, Stephen Rose claims that God is dead, and died sometime in the 60s.
  • In The Egyptian, the Cretan God (really a kind of sea monster) is dead. The priest keeps killing the human sacrifices to keep people from noticing this.
  • Karl Edward Wagner's Kane Series is based on Cain from The Bible. Kane was one of the first humans, created by a mad god. In the story At First Just Ghostly, Kane claims to have later killed this god.
  • In Arthur Miller's The Crucible, Proctor invokes this trope when accused of witchcraft. "I say... I say... God is dead! A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud - God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!"
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • At the end of The Way of Kings (2010), Dalinar receives a "prerecorded" vision from the Almighty, the setting's god, in which He reveals that He is actually dead, having been killed by a God of Evil named Odium at some point prior to the beginning of the book. This also has some crossover with God Is Evil, since Odium is now the world's de facto God.
    • Except Cultivation, the third of Roshar's shard gods, is still around (although we haven't met her yet), and since the setting is actually part of the Cosmere, all the other shard gods are still running around on other worlds (apart from the ones Odium has Splintered, like Aona and Skai). Plus, it would be more accurate to say Tanavast, the man who became Honor, is dead, as Honor's power is still out there and it is possible another person may take up his shard. Got all that?
    • As far as Vorinism, Roshar's dominant religion, is concerned, the trope is in full force, since Honor/The Almighty is/was their only recognized god. Of course, rather than dealing with the massive implications of all that, they insist that Dalinar is simply wrong. They eventually declare him a heretic.
  • Similar to The Way of Kings, in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, the benevolent god Preservation is actually, by it's own account, already effectively dead at the start of the series. This happened as a result of his own decision to give up his mind to betray and trap the dark god Ruin after they created the world. He fully dies halfway through the third book in the series. The main goal of that series is to finish off Ruin in turn. On the other hand, as of The Alloy of Law, Harmony, once known as Sazed, is alive and active.
  • In Clive Barker's Imajica, God is killed by his own fire when the restoration of the eponymous circle causes it to boomerang through the dominions.
  • The Ballad of the White Horse has the Norse king Guthrum sing:
    "There comes no noise but weeping
    Out of the ancient sky,
    And a tear is in the tiniest flower
    Because the gods must die."
  • An unspoken premise in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (the novel on which Apocalypse Now was based). Kurtz has convinced the Africans he has enslaved that he is a god, and by extension that the white race in general is divine. But when the protagonist finally finds him, Kurtz is already dying...
  • Part of the plot of the Heaven's Gate Trilogy by Guy Adams is the killing of God so that Lucifer had to step in when he didn't want to do so.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen war god Fener is first pulled from godhood in Deadhouse Gates and as such becomes effectively dead for his followers, but remains alive somewhere on the planet, in semi-human form. Then his death comes true at the very end of the series, when Karsa Orlong kills Fener for good, which has repercussions for the series' end battle halfway across the world.
  • In The Divine Cities, the Continent's gods — who created not only most of the Continent's infrastructure, but much of its parallel realities as well — were killed in a rebellion 75 years prior to the first book, City Of Stairs, and the Continent still hasn't recovered since. The fact that they're no longer even allowed to discuss or reference their old gods doesn't help with the discontent.
  • Discussed in volume 5 of Reign of the Seven Spellblades. Ancient mages in alliance with demihumans killed the planet's god fifty thousand years ago to free intelligent life from its interference. However, this had the unintended consequence of making the world look like easy pickings for every other planet's god, forcing the creation of the Gnostic Hunters, an order of elite battlemages, to battle the resulting Alien Invasions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jeremiah: Many people In-Universe believe this.
    • "...And the Ground Sown with Salt" features a Cult/militia leader named Michael, who expresses belief that the billions of deaths in The Plague prove that God is dead. That belief, combined with the amount of power he holds, makes him become try to replace God.
    • "Red Kiss" features a settlement where (partially due to an old arcade game they found) the children believe that God has died and his angels have descended to Earth to fight evil. They think Jeremiah and Kurdy are two of those angels and that a local kidnapper is a vampire (really, he's a Mad Scientist).
  • A The Kids in the Hall sketch centers around this. "God is dead... and here is the body to prove it." What was most surprising was how short He was.
  • Supernatural:
    • In season five, the Archangel Raphael claims that the reason Castiel cannot find God is because He is dead. Later episodes suggest that He is alive, but uninterested in the Apocalypse. The season finale implies that that not only God is alive, but Raphael was the one protecting Him all along, as he was in the form of a certain human called Chuck Shurley. Whether Raphael was ignorant or blatantly lying is up for debate.
    • In the same season, The Grim Reaper does reveal that God will eventually die at the end of time by his hand. The Grim Reaper actually dies BEFORE God, and later in the series it's implied that if God dies, the universe will collapse and cease to exist. Unless his sister dies too. If both die, then a 'new balance' will assert itself, perhaps implying a new God will come about.
    • In the climax of Season 15, Jack the Nephilim transforms God into a mortal human, meaning he will eventually die like a human.
  • Possibly the case in The Lost Room. Some say that the Event that created the Objects was the death of God.
  • Stated by Anthony Jr. in season 2 of The Sopranos, as part of his briefly becoming a Straw Nihilist.
  • The Second Coming ends up as this.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "Homefront", Worf says that according to Klingon mythology, their gods were slain by ancient Klingon warriors. "They were more trouble than they were worth."
    • In "You Are Cordially Invited", Sirella recites while administering the Klingon marriage rite to Worf and Jadzia that the Klingons' gods were killed by the sound of the beating hearts of the first Klingon couple in love.

  • As seen as graffiti:
    God is dead. —Nietzsche
    Nietzsche is dead. —God
    He's Dead, Jim. —Dr. McCoy

  • Nine Inch Nails: "Heresy" and "Ruiner" from The Downward Spiral. In the former, the protagonist of the album rants against Christianity and religion as a whole, and in the latter, he kills God himself.
    Your god is dead, and no one cares!
    If there is a hell, I'll see you there!
  • Elton John, "Levon":
    When the New York Times said God is dead
    And the war's begun
  • One of the most famous songs by Italian band I Nomadi ("The Nomads") is titled just that. Except, in this case, "God is dead" is meant as a metaphor, with God standing for near damn every value and ideal. The last part of the song subverts it though, because as long as there's "a newborn hope", as the song itself puts it, "if God dies, it's just for three days, and then he's born again".
  • Dead Kennedys directed the following Take That! at Moral Guardians in "Moral Majority":
    God must be dead if you're alive
  • Have a Nice Life have two songs centered around this theme. "Bloodhail" is a song from the perspective of mankind, as the entire human race comes together to build a ladder to heaven with their own bodies so that a figure called "The Great Hunter" can climb up it and kill God with his arrows. "Hunter" comes later on the album, and is sung from the perspective of God as he lays dying on the earth. With his last breaths, he forgives mankind for its violence and gives up his body as a feast for all the animals on earth.

    Mythology, Religion and Folklore 
  • In Norse Mythology, most of the important and well-known gods, such as Thor, Loki, Frey, and Odin end up dying permanently in the final battle of Ragnarok. Interestingly, when the Scandinavians began to accept Christianity, they actually merged Norse mythology with Christian ideas, by stating that Ragnarok had actually taken place already, and that it was a "prequel" to Christianity — that Adam and Eve were the only survivors of Ragnarok.
  • In Miami homeless children's street culture, it is sometimes believed that God is dead, the implications are usually worse though. Digger based an in-universe myth on this.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Friedrich Nietzsche is not the Trope Namer. Long before him The Bible had passages assuring its readers that God in fact, was not dead. Nietzsche's dialog had little to do with theology anyway. Rather, it was his view that when knowledge of the universe expanded, belief in God faded, with the faith people had for religious authority shifting to ideologies that were secular which he liked no better (such as German nationalism and antisemitism, precursors to the Nazi Party). His idea of the Übermensch was meant to replace this, although Nietzsche went insane and died before he could go into much detail on that.
  • In Christianity, Jesus was dead for three days. He got better, though.
  • Quite logically downplayed in Egyptian Mythology. Osiris is a dead god – and god of the dead.
  • According to Greek Historian Plutarch, Pan from Greek Mythology died; his death was told to a traveling sailor.
  • Certain theological theories deriving from Deism, Pantheism, and most prominently Pandeism hold our Universe to be the physical remains of an essentially "dead" deity.
  • In Mesopotamian Mythology, the god Dumuzid, AKA Tammuz, dies every summer solstice, which is the reason for the decrease in daylight hours and the oppressive summer heat and drought (he gets better). Ritual mourning for Tammuz was widespread in the Ancient Near East and is even mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel.
  • All gods in Buddhism die at some point including Mahabrahma who many Buddhists think is who other religions call Jehova/Allah, and (unless attaining Nirvana before) when a Deva dies he/she just reincarnates in another realm normally as a non-Deva, including animal, human or spirit.

    News Media 
  • The April 8, 1966 cover of Time magazine read "Is God Dead?" The accompanying article described a movement known as "theothanatology" (in other words, the study of God's death) that arose in the 1960s.
    • Deconstructed by Martin Luther King Jr.: "Some are even saying that God is dead. The thing that bothers me about it is that they didn’t give me full information, because at least I would have wanted to attend God’s funeral. And today I want to ask, who was the coroner that pronounced him dead? I want to raise a question, how long had he been sick? I want to know whether he had a heart attack or died of chronic cancer."
    • In Rosemary's Baby, the title character peruses the issue in a doctor's waiting room.
    • Three years later another Time cover asked, "Is God Coming Back to Life?"
  • "The Theistic God is Dead - A Casualty of Terrorism." An article by John Shelby Spong, a liberal theologian and a former Episcopalian bishop.
  • "NASA Completes 52-Year Mission To Find, Kill God." A fantastic article from the Onion detailing the sordid history NASA has with the Almighty, ending with NASA violently killing god on the moon.


    Puppet Shows 

  • The Man Born to Be King: Plutarch's tale of the cry announcing Pan's death is incorporated into Pilate's wife's premonitory dream:
    And I said to the captain, “What do they cry?” And he answered, “Great Pan is dead.” And I asked him, “How can God die?” And he answered, “Don’t you remember? They crucified him. He suffered under Pontius Pilate” …

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Demon: The Fallen, Lucifer murders a monk for even suggesting that God, who has, to this point, been missing in action, may have really died to save the earth: The Sundering was not God's punishment for rebel angels breaking His commandment of not revealing themselves to humanity, it was God sacrificing Himself by catching the world as it fell due to the violation of some cosmic law. The suggestion would haunt Lucifer until the End of Days.
  • In Planescape, dead gods are a part of the setting, their corpses floating in the Astral Plane. There's even a high-level adventure entitled "Dead Gods". Also, the Lady of Pain killed the god Aoskar for daring to set up shop in Sigil; this is one of the greatest demonstrations of why you really don't mess with her.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting has a tendency to kill off some gods and introduce new ones every time a new edition of the game rules is released.
  • Grim Hollow, a third-party Dungeons & Dragons setting, has this as a core part of its backstory: most of the pantheon died fighting the Aether Kindred, and the rest were driven insane and murdered each other in a war to see who should be the Top God, leaving a literally-godless world behind. Their slots have been filled by various Arch Seraphs, who try to hold things together in their absence, and Arch Daemons, who exploit the power vacuum for their own gain.
    • This also has the consequence that Divine Magic has been failing ever since; while Clerics and Paladins do still exist, they're increasingly rare, as the primary source of their powers is no longer there.
  • In the GURPS Steampunk Setting: The Broken Clockwork World, if the gods of the “Broken World” aren’t actually dead, they are certainly terribly inaccessible.
  • In KULT, God is dead, and the Devil is the only one who wants him back. Also, god is dying retroactively, being dead further and further back in history. It's mostly a good thing (as far as anything can be good in this Crapsack World).
  • In Warhammer 40,000, all but three members of the Eldar pantheon were killed with the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh. The God-Emperor of Mankind is a far more complicated case - despite his power, he fiercely denied his divinity, but after being mortally wounded during the Horus Heresy books, he was placed on the Golden Throne and kept in a psychically-active vegetative state, leaving his followers to proclaim him a deity. If ten millennia of worship has elevated him to proper godhood, this trope will probably soon apply due to the recently-discovered irreparable malfunctions in the Golden Throne.note 
  • In Exalted, this can (depending on your ST's preference for where to take the story) happen in the Endgame chapter of Return of the Scarlet Emperor with Infernal Exalted, possibly backed up by demons or even Abyssals, breaking into the Jade Pleasure Dome through a long-forgotten 'back door' and assassinating the Unconquered Sun, who lacked his usual invulnerability because he was addicted to the Games of Divinity. The Ebon Dragon never expected the massive power boost every Solar Exalt in Creation got when their patron Incarnae was killed.
  • The very first sentence in the main Pathfinder campaign setting book is "Just over a century ago, the god of humanity died."
  • In contrast, in the Iron Kingdoms setting, the elves are the ones with the dead gods; specifically, six of their eight gods have died after the pantheon moved into the mortal world, and the remaining two aren't doing so well either. The really bad news is that the death of their gods would likely lead to the elves going extinct, and they've already started being born without souls. One of the factions in Warmachine, the Retribution of Scyrah (Scyrah being one of the surviving gods) thinks human magic is killing their gods, and so has set out to kill all human mages.
  • in Godbound, humanity waged war on God. He might not be dead, but He's definitely missing in action. And the world is crumbling in His absence.

  • Starship is set in a distant future where science long ago killed God. Didn't disprove His existence; actually killed Him. The only effect this has on the story is an Oh, My Gods! running gag, e.g., "Thank dead God I caught you in time."
    Tootsie: It's comforting to know that He was once alive, though. I like to think that when He died, He went to heaven.
  • In Marisol, God is in the process of dying, and his death throes threaten to bring about the destruction of the universe unless the Angels put him down first.

    Video Games 
  • The Baldur's Gate series is essentially the posthumous Batman Gambit of the god Bhaal, who foresaw his own death and arranged to be resurrected. Things usually don't work out quite perfectly for him. There's a side quest in the 2nd game in the temple of a different dead god who has since stopped being dead.
  • Grandia II has the revelation that Granas, the God of Light, died fighting Valmar the Devil of Darkness long ago. Turns out they were both just Sufficiently Advanced Aliens though. And despite the Church of Granas referring to their conflict as the "War Between Good and Evil" (and claiming that Granas won, of course), it would be more accurately called the War Between Order and Chaos.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer features a dead god in an important role.
  • The creation myth told by the cultists in Silent Hill ends with God dying.
    • Silent Hill 2 implies that the cult has ignored all the other gods in Silent Hill who are mostly sleeping but still alive. Gods that James can commune with in a bad ending.
    • Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4 are attempts to resurrect God. They fail. Even if you get a bad ending, the villains are too insane to properly resurrect a god.
  • One of the possible final bosses in Guardian Heroes is "The Creator". When you beat him, he admits that he was just toying with humanity all along, and now that he's dying, humans are free to choose their own destiny.
  • The entire premise of the God of War series is about the protagonist going on a quest to essentially kill all of the Greek gods, and he's already taken down Ares and Athena. At the end of 3, every God Kratos encountered is dead, with the exceptions of Artemis and Aphrodite.
  • Implied in Tears to Tiara. The Council of Angels are the ones running the show and, without supervision, have gone a little overboard on the whole Heaven on Earth thing. Watos (the supreme creator deity) hasn't been seen since existence started. Probably seen as less offensive than an actual evil God when we already have a good Satan.
    • Subverted in the sequel when the goddess of war is given a mortal form and leads a rebellion against the empire. There's a pantheon and Tarte has a mother. It's implied that either Watos never existed or was an invader compared to the pantheon.
  • In the Zul'drak region of World of Warcraft, the Drakkari trolls native to the region have been killing their gods and stealing their powers in a desperate bid to protect themselves from the Scourge. Your character can go through a quest chain in which you try to save the gods or, failing that, Mercy Kill them or help them avenge themselves on their killers.
    • It turns out the Titan Pantheon is dead too. They fell in battle against Sargeras, where their physical bodies were destroyed. They tried to save their spirits by blasting them toward Azeroth, but by the time they arrived, they had little power. This power was transferred into their servants, the Titanic watchers. Several of which have been killed by players by now. Oops. However, they aren't all gone. A new Titan world-soul is gestating inside Azeroth itself.
  • The whole Shin Megami Tensei series. You have gods. You get to fight gods. YHVH is effectively immortal, however, even though he is temporarily killed in SMT II. As long as there is even one human who believes in a higher power, God will exist.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse: In one of the game's endings, you get to finally kill YHVH, starting off by not only completely denouncing him, but then removing him from his position of godhood, much as YHVH did to many of the other gods in the backstory.
    • Shin Megami Tensei V: By the end of the first area of Da'at, Lucifer spells out what this new world is about. While the angels are opposed as usual, they choose to seek a middle ground where both God and free human will exist; the exception is Abdiel, who is a hardcore devout of YHVH, all the way down.
      "The God you cravenly revere is dead. Slain by my own hand, that humanity might finally live unbound from their chains."
  • In the Left 4 Dead campaign 'Dead Air', some of the graffiti on the walls says 'GOD IS DEAD'. Occasionally, Zoey can be heard saying, "Oh no, the zombies killed God!" when passing by this message.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In the backstory, the creator god Lorkhan (aka Shor, Shezarr, Sep, Lorkhaj...). Though there are many different creation stories, his inclusion is one of the few consistent elements. He is generally better regarded by the races of men than by the Mer races, who view him as a trickster. (The Altmer have a particular dislike for him.) After he convinced the et'Ada who would become the Aedra to create Mundus (the mortal realm), sacrificing much of their divine power (including their Complete Immortality) in the process, he was "killed" and his "divine center" (heart) removed. It was tied to an arrow and launched across Tamriel by Auri-El, one of those et'Ada, where it landed in modern day Morrowind and formed Red Mountain. The moons are said to be his rotting corpse and his spirit was forced to wander Mundus, occasionally taking form as a "Shezzarine," great champions of mankind.
    • The majority of the Aedra invested so much of their essence into the Mundus that they became mortal and died. Earthbones, the laws of reality which bind mortals, are magical restraints created from their deaths. In all, only eight remain alive and they're halfway to dead themselves, leading to God Is Inept and Have You Seen My God? type issues.
    • In Morrowind, much of the plot revolves around the three Dunmeri Physical Gods known as the Tribunal and their arch-enemy, Dagoth Ur. Each used blasphemous Dwemer tools to tap into the powers of the aforementioned Heart of Lorkhan, gaining godhood as a result. By the end of the game's main quest and its first expansion, three of the four are dead, with the fourth reduced to a de-powered Semi-Divine shell of his former power. note 
    • In the Shivering Isles DLC of Oblivion, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness dies... and in his place comes Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order. In the end Jyggalag is split from Sheogorath and the Player Character becomes Sheogorath.
    Sheogorath/Jyggalag: The realm is dead! Sheogorath is dead! All shall crumble before...Jyggalag!
    • If you believe Wordof God, this is the ultimate goal of the Thalmor in Skyim. By outlawing the worship of Talos, the ascended form of the human Tiber Septim, they hope to deprive him of worship, unmaking him completely. This would have very bad consequences for reality, as he is one of the very few things that remain to maintain Mundus.
  • The Creator Deity-slash-Eldritch Abomination Ormagoden from the Creation Myth in Brütal Legend chose to self-terminate rather than have his fire extinguished by the First Ones' dirt, destroying the ancient world and creating the Age of Metal from his own body in process.
  • In The Reconstruction, Tezkhra is. (You have to bring him Back from the Dead.) Subverted in that he isn't actually a god, he's a sufficiently advanced alien, and just as killable as anyone else.
  • In Mass Effect Cerberus agents find the corpse of a Reaper who they estimate had been rendered non-operational 37 million years ago. As they investigate it, they discover that dead Reapers are still capable of indoctrination. The last one alive comes to the conclusion that a god, even a dead one, is not a conscious entity but a force that alters everything around it.
  • In Lunar: Eternal Blue, it's revealed about halfway through the game that the Goddess Althena, who you've been seeking out to save Lunar from the Dark God Zophar, has been dead for a thousand years. Althena's younger sister Lucia does not take this well.
  • The first two Diablo games never mention any sort of God, but the third finally reveals that back in the dawn of time, Anu, the god of Order and Good, battled it out with his antithesis Tathamet, the god of Evil and Chaos, a battle that would claim both their lives. Anu's remains became the High Heavens and would give birth to the angels. Tathamet's remains would become the Burning Hells, which would spawn the demons, and the Seven Great Evils which would menace the Diablo universe rose from each of Tathamet's seven heads.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, all four gods are killed in the end by the Returners. Fiend/Doom. Demon/Poltergeist. Goddess. Kefka. They are all dead. Fortunately.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: Etro, Goddess of Death, is dead, and now there is no one to take care of the souls of the deceased.
    • One of the random battle quotes in the final battle with Bhunivelze. Lightning pretty much screams this at him.
  • The Banner Saga starts out with the phrase "The gods are dead." Throughout the campaign, you discover that the gods didn't believe they could be killed, until one of them accidentally killed another while bickering about the fate of mortals, causing mass hysteria among the pantheon that lead to a chaotic all-consuming war of paranoia which ended them. It didn't help that the last survivor, instead of patching his wounds and accepting a weakened existence, spitefully decided to use the last of his power to create an egg that would hatch a god of destruction to mop up the surviving mortals. This final plan to restore the age of gods was utterly derailed when a rogue weaver tried to use the egg to resurrect the dead and caused the apocalypse in the game; a wave of darkness spilling god-nourishing chaotic energy that mutates mortals into creatures of the warp.
  • There are two back stories in Sword of Mana. The first is that of the setting's creation myth, wherein the creator goddess' final act was to transform herself into the Mana Tree that sustains all life. The legend goes that the tree will grant unsurpassed power over Mana to the first person who touches it - and upon doing so it will die. The second backstory is the historical account of the Vandole Empire, wherein the man who would become said emperor found the Mana Tree and proceeded to do just that. Gaining the tree's magic, he proceeded to go completely mad with power, ushering in a dark age that was only ended when a group of heroes put him down and returned life to the tree. Or at least so it seemed. The final twist of the game is that in fact the tree wasn't restored to life, it was replaced. The Mana Goddess, if indeed there ever was one, is now dead, her role as Mana Tree taken by a succession of at least two human woman, the main Heroine's mother and at the end of the game, the Heroine herself.
  • In Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, the world's God was killed by a hero some time prior to the game. The player character belongs to an Inquisition which aims to stamp out any vestiges of worship.
  • Happens all the goddamn time in Dark Souls, and more often than not you're the one doing the slaying.
    • In Dark Souls, after Gwyn's departure for linking the First Flame, Anor Londo began to see a shift in leadership, with nearly every deity leaving Lordran save for Gwyndolin. Gwyn is not met until the very end of the Kiln of the First Flame, where it turns out he has become a Hollow as a result of burning in the Kiln all this time.
    • Dark Souls III: You not only kill basically all the remaining Gods, you also kill all the remaining demons and the deific incarnations of the very things the gods draw their power from that also act as near immutable laws of the universe!
  • Salt and Sanctuary: it's heavily implied that the Nameless God killed every other god in the world by imprisoning them, then exploiting Gods Need Prayer Badly by answering every prayer for them until they starved. When you find The Three, they are but clumsy undead, shadows of their former selves. No wonder the area they're found in is named The Crypt of Dead Gods.
    • For good measure, you get to kill the Nameless God too.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II, The Divine, the god of the setting, is dead, and there needs to be a new god lest the void destroy all of creation. The various player characters you can choose, as well as the big bad, are all godswoken, candidates for becoming the new divine.
  • Invoked in We Happy Few: when playing as Sally Boyle, at one point, she gets into a debate with the leader of a suicide cult, during which she claims that the existence of Wellington Wells is proof that God is long dead.
  • A central theme in NieR: Automata. The characters are machines and androids created by humans and aliens as weapons of war. It turns out both the aliens and humans are long dead. The game is actually about making a life after the death of god.
  • The Greater Titans in Pyre are eldritch horrors of immense size and power that the Eight Scribes struck down almost nine hundred years prior to the game's events, and yet worship of them is not entirely unheard of; in the present, Witch Udmildhe is nigh-fanatical in her worship of Yslach Astral-Born, allowed herself to be exiled to get near its body, and wants nothing more than to release it upon the world again. From the third cycle onward, Bertrude will join you in the Rites; should you face Udmildhe in a non-Liberation Rite, she will offer the chance to cleanse Udmildhe's mind of Yslach's influence, in which this trope is involved. And should you prevail, she will carry out her work and leave Udmildhe begging empty air for an answer.
  • Pillars of Eternity: Several years before the story begins, the god of light and redemption, Eothas, suddenly took a mortal avatar and tried to invade the Dyrwood, starting a war that ended with him getting blown up by a Fantastic Nuke. Since then, Eothas answers no prayers and a terrible curse called the Hollowborn Plague that causes random children to be born soulless has afflicted the Dyrwood, leading most people to presume that he's dead for good and cursed his enemies as he died. They are wrong on both counts; Eothas did not die, he just got temporarily disabled by the destruction of his avatar, and he was actually trying to prevent the Hollowborn Plague. However, it is double-subverted in the sequel, as Eothas's last act winds up being a Heroic Sacrifice where he expends all his power to destroy the Ukaizo Wheel and free mortalkind from the control of the other gods. That does indeed kill him.
  • Anbennar has two variant of this, both with the qualifier that whether gods are real is ambiguous.
    • The believers in the Regent Court (both the name for the pantheon and the faith), the dominant faith in Cannor (the closest Europe-analogue) has hailed Castellos as the ruler of the Regent Court since its inception. Then the continent of Aelantir is (re-)discovered, and uncomfortable parallels are found over its exploration, culminating in the widespread belief that Castellos is dead. The resulting period is aptly called the Age of Unraveling.
    • Orcs believe in the god Dookan, with the Old Dookan branch sticking to the older myth that Dookan was imprisoned for trying to find a home for himself, and that the orcs were created to free Dookan and punish the dwarves for their treachery. In most games, this will remain pure myth, but if the orcish country of Shattered Crown is greatly successful it turns out that the name Dookan almost certainly began as Ducaniel, who was a powerful elven mage during the war between the elven precursor empire and the old dwarven empire — which means there's no Dookan to free, as he already was freed by the orcish hordes breaking the siege of the dwarven hold he'd been occupying, returned to the elven empire and ended up dying by causing the cataclysmic Ruin of Aelantir.
  • By the time Eldritch Lands: The Witch Queen's Eternal War begins, all of the gods with the sole exception of the elven Godtree are dead, the human gods, the Empire Souls, were slain long ago by Sofia Nitshe, while the Deep Ones, Gods of the seaside kingdom, died sometime after the Empire Souls, of a totally unknown cause.
  • Runescape: In the quest "The World Wakes", Guthix, the god who created Gilenor, is assassinated by Sliske at the end of the quest. With his death, the Edict of Guthix is broken, bringing about the start of the Sixth Age, when other gods can physically enter Gilenor once more.
  • The later chapters of ULTRAKILL reveal that Heaven is run by a Council of Angels because God died ages ago, and Heaven has done everything in its power to keep this a secret. With the extinction of humanity, and the subsequent Killer Robot invasion of Hell, the secret is getting harder and harder to keep...

  • Digger uses TWO versions of this: firstly, “The good man” a Jesus analogue, is widely believed to have been attacked by jealous mortals and wounded, so his mother helps him to travel over the sea, swearing to one day come back. However, many refugee children living in the city at the centre of this cult believe that the world is so cruel that he MUST have died, murdered by his mother who went mad with envy when he said he was leaving, and she now roams the under-city as a vengeful goddess. Due to the universe’s Clap Your Hands If You Believe, both of these stories are true. As mentioned above, this is based on a Real Life version of Catholicism that sprung up amongst Miami’s street children. The Digger universe also has a dead god kept on life-support against his will, so that whilst he lives, so does the daemon possessing him.
  • Blue Eyes This story hits you right off with a double whammy. In the prologue the goddess Renosana dies to rebuild her dying world , shortly after several of her demigod children kill their older sister to inherit her right to rule.
  • In I'm the Grim Reaper, God has not interacted with their archangels for thousands of years, and stopped judging souls a few years back. When the world starts to near its end, Archangel Bernadette violates the laws of heaven, steals Archangel Celeste's key, and breaks into God's sanctum by force to demand answers, only to find God's blood-spattered corpse.
  • An entire pantheon of gods get killed in the backstory of The Order of the Stick (along with the whole world being destroyed, then remade by the surviving gods).
  • Happened recursively in Kill Six Billion Demons. The Holy Suicide of Yisun gave birth to the two gods of Existence and Non-Existence, who destroyed themselves to create the pantheon of 777 777 gods, each of whom created a universe through self-annihilation. That doesn't stop people from worshiping them, or from Yisun, gods, and mortals interacting in the lore. However, a fundamental tenet of the religion is to embrace paradox. Meanwhile, the city of Throne is where the gods died, and it's a bit weird; all their corpses are just sitting there, and people used them for housing.
  • Sea Snail Studio works tend to use this trope:
    • God is revealed to have been killed off in the setting of Salvatore, along with much of the angel population.
    • In the setting of My Best Friend Marneao, the job of God is taken by an angel chosen by a council of judges, with a powerful angel as its right hand. 500 years before the events of the series, God died and was replaced by another angel, who went mad with power, creating portals to gain control of the universe with dark matter, with this substance turning anyone it touches into a zombie-like abomination. He enslaved the Inferni citizens to work on these portals. This God's right hand is Baraquiel, a constantly angry Bad Boss with a severe Lack of Empathy, and the main Big Bad.
  • In Tower of God, the 43rd floor of the Tower is different from all the others because its near-omnipotent Administrator is dead. Coming to the floor on the Hell Train, the main characters see a hostile landscape that turns out to be the Administrator's corpse.

    Web Original 
  • In The Salvation War Satan's already dead via anti-ship missile to the face, Jesus appears to have been nuked (in reality, he's fine and later becomes The Man Behind the Man for Heaven itself after the War), and Yahweh's been killed by Michael-Lan.
  • Played for laughs in the Team StarKid production Starship, set in the distant future. Tootsie Noodles mentions early on that there is empirical proof that science killed Godnote . Anytime the word God is used, dead precedes it.
    Junior: Thank dead God I caught you!
  • In the world of Tales From My D&D Campaign, the true gods are very nearly immortal, and will eventually recover from almost any force, even the power of their fellow gods. However, there exists a technique or spell known as "The Death Equation" which can truly and permanently destroy a god. This technique has been used only thrice in the histories of eternity. Luckily, each use raises the amount of power The Death Equation requires exponentially, rendering its use risky.
  • While sitting through an especially awkward comedy bit on The Star Wars Holiday Special, Mike Nelson of RiffTrax bitterly offers this quip:
    "Yep, Nietzsche was right; dead as a doornail."

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Astral Plane", Grob Gob Glob Grod sacrifices themself to stop a comet from destroying Mars. Finn witnesses this happen. However, it's later revealed that they survived, but have lost their physical form as consequence.
    Finn: Glob is dead.
  • Played quite subtly and tragically in the 1986 anti-war film When the Wind Blows. It's near the end of the film, and past the end of the world. The kindly old couple we've spent the film following are dying of radiation sickness and their condition has worsened past the point of denial, Hilda simply asks Jim to pray. Unable to think straight, Jim simply asks "Who to?"
  • The first episode of Tripping the Rift shows that after Chode takes a joyride on a spacejet, hitting something and resulting in the Big Bang. Afterwards, he and Gus end up in a world with same-sex relations and a severe lack of inhibitions. Chode replays the tape detailing the trip, then rewinds and slows it down, showing that during the joyride, Chode hit and killed God. Of course, he asks for some confirmation:
    Chode: Hey Six, what's the deal with sex nowadays?
    Six: Deal? There's no "deal." You wanna have sex, you just have sex.
    Chode: Yep, He's dead.
    • Interestingly, this is initially portrayed as a good thing, with everyone being happy and innocent, which Gus attributes to God dying before he could create the Devil, and thus, evil. The trouble starts when word gets around about this new "evil" craze going around; without God's various punishments, there's nothing to instill a sense of inhibition.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dead God


"Our gods are dead."

"Homefront". Kira Nerys muses for a bit about the Prophets (the beings who live in the Bajoran wormhole and are worshiped by the Bajorans), prompting Worf to remark that "Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennia [sic] ago. They were more trouble than they were worth."

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Main / GodIsDead

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