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Heaven Above

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C'mon, Satan, God's this way.
(The Temptation of Christ by the Devil by Félix Joseph Barrias)

"In your religion and all the religions, as far as I know (and I know everything), the sky is made the symbol of everything that is sacred and merciful."
Professor Lucifer, The Ball and the Cross

The sky is equated and associated with things pertaining to the divine.

Whether it be the Lord, the gods, fate, or the afterlife, nearly any supernatural concept can be brought to mind by mentioning "the heavens," holding one's hands together and looking upwards, or showing clouds flying across a starry sky.

There isn't one single origin of this trope, since the sky's association with the unknowable or transcendent comes from humanity's natural awe of the stars and fascination with what they truly are. So if you want to indicate something beautiful, distant, and far greater than man, the sky is nigh-universally the best symbol to use.

Related to Light Is Good, since the bright sky and the light-bearing suns often go hand-in-hand when depicting God. This trope's relationship with the sun can often lend it to be used similarly to Rays from Heaven, Cue the Sun, and Watching the Sunset. This trope will often be used to show a Rage Against the Heavens by having a character rant at the clouds as if God was hiding behind them.

This trope is why the name for an afterlife of eternal joy is called Heaven (hence the redundant article name) and Heaven's most popular sub-trope is Fluffy Cloud Heaven, where Heaven looks just like the heavens. Other sub-tropes include Divine Birds, Stars Are Souls, and other tropes connecting the skyward with the sacred.

This association is also why Winged Soul Flies Off at Death, why people only Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, why there's a Stairway to Heaven, why so many works invoke Ending by Ascending, and why those mad at their fate will generally give a Skyward Scream rather than a Horizon-Oriented Yelp.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Death Note: The realm of the death gods is separated from the human world by a hole, which they can jump into to "drop" into our world. From our perspective, it looks like these monsters materialize in the middle of the sky and fall down. Like angels, these death gods come with wings which both make descent easier and also hint that they come from above.
  • Dragon Ball: Kami's Lookout ("Kami" meaning god) is located in the upper levels of Earth's atmosphere. The Guardian of the Earth can look down and monitor the state of the Earth below checking for trouble. In times of peril it can also be used as a refuge for the major characters.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The doorway to God/the Truth apparently lies above the Earth, right in front of either the Moon or the Sun. It's hard to say which, since the door is opened during an eclipse which allows the villain to obtain the power of God.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: A humorous take on the idea comes when Panty suggests to Stocking that they can get back into Heaven by building a giant pole and using it to climb up there.

  • Alexandre Cabanel's The Fallen Angel: Lucifer is staring angrily at the sky, a sky where God and his angels live and a place that is now forbidden to him. Moreover, the still divine angels are flying above Lucifer and the upper half of the canvas is occupied by, well, the sky. Finally, Lucifer is perched atop a solitary mountain mountains having typically been associated with paths to Heaven.
  • You can tell St. John the Baptist (is) Preaching in Auguste Rodin's sculpture without knowing the tile because he is pointing up at the sky, indicating that there is the topic of his conversation. That would be enough for Rodin's audience to deduce the figure is talking about Heaven and He who resides there.
  • The bizarre The Apotheosis of Washington presents the first President and Lady Liberty as gods looming above the residents of the U.S. Capitol building. I don't mean that there's an image of the Capitol building in the painting, no, it sits on the ceiling of the real-life Capitol Building to remind senators that George is watching—from beyond.
  • Raphael's The School of Athens has Plato pointing his finger skyward, which visualizes his philosophical focus on identifying the Metaphysical Form of the Good which produces goodness like the sun produces light.
  • How does the Sistine Chapel's altar painting show saints entering into God's love? Well, by being pulled into the sky, where God's throne awaits them.

    Comic Books 
  • All-Star Superman: Pa Kent's description of how he prayed to God for a son is put against a page-wide panel dominated by the starry night sky.
  • The Sandman (1989): Volume Four includes a description of God's realm as a Silver City "above" the universe proper, which angels can only leave by "falling toward the world." The odd thing about this is that the Silver City isn't just "above" the Earth, but it is also above the psychic realities that makes up the Kingdom of Dreams, Asgard, Hell, and other places that can't properly be said to be "above" or "below" anything else.

    Fan Works 
  • Tell me about your Ancestors:
    • ShadowClan cats believe deceased cats become the stars.
    • The original SkyClan believed that the clouds were their ancestors. This tradition was lost after they left the forest.

  • Kubo and the Two Strings portrays the gods as distant, uncaring tyrants with no concept of human life. Naturally, they live in unchanging, transcendent sky like many portrayal of gods, but significantly considering their sinister nature, they are only described as coming from the night sky.
  • The Lion King (2019): Mufasa explains that the great kings "look down on us from those stars", and towards the end of the film manifests in spirit form in a head of clouds during an electrical storm.
  • Pinocchio: The magical fairy who blesses Pinocchio with life lives within the wishing star. The Blue Fairy descends from her home in the sky only when Gepetto prays up to the sky in his petition to be blessed with a son.
  • The Prince of Egypt: "Through Heaven's Eye" has a wise old man motion upwards to the clear, night sky when advising Moses to look at life as God would see it.

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice uses Superman's Flight to make his role as a Messianic Archetype obvious, leading to scenes where Superman is floating above a flood victim covered in sunlight while the two stretch their arms out to each other like they're in the Sistine Chapel. And if that wasn't explicit enough, Lex Luthor goes on a rant about how Superman reminds him of God, describing them both as "a man in the sky" while questioning why either allows evil in the world. Though one of his detractors argues the inverse.
    We know better now, don't we? Devils don't come from below us. They come from above.
  • Bruce Almighty:
    • Bruce starts his journey with God by cursing and yelling at the sky as if God's hiding behind a cloud. When He does meet Bruce, he does so by climbing down a ladder (implied to go directly into Paradise) and then teleporting the two to Mt. Everest, which is so high up Bruce thinks he's died and gone to Heaven. When he does die and briefly go to Heaven in the third act, the camera rapidly zooms up and away from Bruce's body. When he's revived, the camera rapidly zooms in and down onto Bruce's face.
    • When Bruce begs God not to leave him, he appeals to a need for answers. Morgan Freeman's God laughs and says that the problem with humanity is that they keep looking "up." Up here seems to refer to the divine plan for each person that only God can know, meaning God is saying to focus on what is rather than what should be.
  • Death Note (2017) kicks off with the titular Artifact of Doom dropping from the sky, implying that the death god that created it lives in the sky, looming above humanity.
  • Empire of the Sun: Discussed. Jim asks his mother whether "God is above" means he is flying.
  • The Green Mile: One of Tom Hanks' urination scenes ends with him struggling so much he has to lie on his back and look him to the sky and say, "Oh God, why?" It also foreshadows the weirder events from later in the movie.
  • The Grey ends with Liam Neeson's character yelling into the sky to ask God for help. With no sign of response, Neeson's characters curses under his breath and goes into the final fray with the wolves alone.
  • The Gumball Rally: After Roscoe is humiliated in front of the biggest bunch of cops he wrangled to create a roadblock, he pitifully looks up at the sky and asks "why me?"
  • Hail, Caesar! ends with the narrator describing how the protagonist's story is "written in light everlasting," as a choir plays and the camera shifts up to the sky. Along with the film's use of the Confessional and an In-Universe Passion Play, the ending shows the essential role the protagonist's relationship with God plays in his life.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Death, as he appears in The Tale of Three Brothers, sports a pair of wings which he can use to bring his victims up into the afterlife. Since the third brother accepted Death's coming as an old friend, it's safe to say that he's being taken up to a good afterlife somewhat like Heaven.
  • It's a Wonderful Life: Whenever Clarence the angel talks to distant superiors, the audience know she's not just talking to himself because he's looking straight up at the sky, which is where angels are supposed to live.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Asgard, city of the gods, is a pocket dimension that can access other realms through a wormhole called the Bifrost. Even with this sci-fi twist, the Bifrost wormhole conveniently always opens up so that the gods enter into other realms by falling from the sky and leave said realms by being shot up into the air.
    • Thor has on odd scene where the titular character angrily demands to be returned to Asgard by yelling into the night sky, even though he should know the people operating the Bifrost aren't actually floating above him (although one of them is omniscient, so he's not wasting breath).
    • Thor: Ragnarok introduces another wormhole that can lead to Asgard, the Devil's Anus. This entrance to the gods' realm is located in the sky, forcing anyone who wants to visit the gods to ascend from the realm of mortals.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail depicts God as a giant Sky Face who pulls open a cloud to start a conversation with King Arthur.
  • Noah: The genocidal villain frequently looks to the sky and yells for God to reveal himself to him, only to find the sky shrouded in the clouds that will flood the world. The skies only clear and allow humanity to see the light once Noah realizes God's desire for humanity: for them to be merciful to each other.
  • The Northman: The protagonist has dreams throughout the movie of his body being carrying by a Valkyrie up towards a wonderful blue light in the sky. The viewer obviously understands this to be Valhalla, a hall for the valiant dead within the divine realm of Asgard.
  • The Passion of the Christ: When the film ends with His death, the camera angles above the crucifixion scene to show a lone teardrop falling down towards Jesus's corpse. The effect is similar to a Single Tear, as if the Father in Heaven is crying for His Son.
  • Stations of the Cross ends with the camera (which hasn't moved the entire movie) ascending into the clouds, but in contrast to the church's dogmatic view of religion, the sky is hidden and unclear.
  • TRON: There isn't much of a heaven inside the computer world, but still, whenever Tron and other programs think about or make a sign to the Users who created and act as their god-equivalents, they look up to the sky and maybe even hold up their identity discs as a sign of trust.
  • The Truman Show: The massive control room where Christoff manages the entire world Truman knows is located in the sky, covered by a fake sun during the day and a fake moon during the night. This is one of many elements that makes it clear Christoff is usurping God's role in controlling so much of Truman's reality and in case the association is too subtle, the movie ends with Truman talking to Christoff, "the creator," by looking straight into the sunny sky.
  • Pitch Black: The group of Muslim passengers perform their daily prayers facing straight up toward the sky (implied to be a solution to finding the location of Mecca in space).
  • House of Cards (1993): The dead go to live in the cradle of the moon. Sally's attempts at communicating with her deceased father involve climbing onto the roof and building elaborate towers of cards.

  • Alexis Carew: HMS Nightingale: The neo-Luddite Cult Colony Man's Fall believes darkspace (an alternate layer of space-time equivalent to hyperspace) is in fact Heaven. The belief is backed up by darkspace's ability to shut off technology, but the fact that darkspace is only accessible by flying into a Lagrange point in normal space, meaning one has to fly past the Heavens to reach it, helps reinforce the divinity idea.
  • The Ball And The Cross by G. K. Chesterton has Professor Lucifer discuss the sky's divine association to a monk he kidnapped as he ascends through the heavens in his flying machine. The point Lucifer is making is that the skies are as physical and dour as the underworld and expects the monk's faith to shatter, only for the monk to point out that Lucifer's rambling has distracted him from flying the ship. The Professor screams like a girl and nearly dies in a crash.
  • The Berenstain Bears: When Goldie the fish dies, Papa Bear says that she went to the a big castle in the sky, a metaphor for the afterlife.
  • City of Bones (1995) by Martha Wells: Inverted in the post-apocalyptic society's spirituality. Good people are believed to rest beneath the earth after death, whereas evil souls are condemned to wander the winds without peace.
  • The Cold Moons: Badgers believe that heaven (called "Asgard") is in the sky:
    Beaufort gazed up as the sun fell, below the skyline, thinking of Eldon as the old leader started his final journey, up to Capricorn, the southern gate of the sun, over the rainbow bridge, through the halls of Gladshelm and Valhalla to live again.
  • Discworld:
    • Inverted for both trolls and dwarfs. They're usually subterranean, so they view down as the direction of Heaven. Relatedly, Dwarfs use "enlightened" to mean "ignorant and misguided"; someone who's profoundly knowledgeable or appropriately civilized would be "endarkened".
    • Discussed in Jingo:
      In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads, they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.
  • The Divine Comedy of Dante plays with the association of the sky and the realm of God by assigning each type of saint a planet, which would also be divine places under this trope's logic. The closer they are to Earth, the farther they are from God, who is portrayed as a sphere outside the physical universe who moves everything else. In Dante's imagery, God is the sky to the ground of the universe.
  • The Great Divorce: Although the story avoids portraying Heaven as a cloud-filled candyland, it does demonstrate the radical distance between Hell and Heaven by having the bus between those two realms have to fly miles and miles and miles above Hell before it can reach the doormat of Heaven.
  • The Faerie Queene: Like Moses walking up to Sinai, the Redcrosse Knight must spend weeks atop the closest mountain peak to the sky he can find to prepare to commune with God. At the end of his time on the mountain, Redcrosse can even see the kingdom of Heaven above him.
  • The Little Mermaid: The original fairytale the mermaid describe Heaven as "that glorious world above the stars." This description of Heaven as sky also furthers the distance between the mermaid and the eternal realm, since land-dwelling humans are closer to the sky while the soulless mermaids are hopelessly far from those same stars. The story also describes angelic spirits as "Daughters of the Air."
  • Mermaids of Eriana Kwai: Mermaids believe that the northern lights are the pathway the spirits travel through as they journey to a better place. Eriana legend holds that it's the spirits dancing.
  • Our Dumb Century, a book by The Onion, features a spoof headline from the week after the airplane was invented, about the government planning airplane expeditions to Heaven. The story reveals that, within ten years, it will be possible for the average American to vacation there.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Whenever Mr. D. swears, the sky either clouds up or thunders to let him know the gods are displeased, forcing Mr. D to look straight up and apologize. This is all a formality, as it would be ludicrous for the gods to live above D's camp on Long Island; they live above the Empire State Building instead.
  • The Phantom Ship (1837): After William Vanderdecken makes his oath to sail until the Day of Judgment, fiery letters appear at the center of a storm cloud that confirm his oath: "UNTIL THE DAY OF JUDGMENT". About fifty years later, as the prayer to free the Flying Dutchman finishes, for a moment lightning in the shape of a cross breaks through the clouds.
  • Seven Brothers:
  • The Silmarillion: The rulers of the Valar, the gods/archangels who rule the world in Eru's name, are Manwë, the lord of the winds, skies and flying creatures, and Varda, the kindler of the stars. They reside in a court on the peak of Taniquetil, the highest mountain in the world.
  • The Space Trilogy: Ransom finds the old myth about the gods dwelling in the heavens to be quite true literally and figuratively. His first trip through space teaches him that the planets are only disturbances in a great sea of light and life; his second trip is facilitated by the collective of invisible consciousnesses that dwell in the Deep Heavens and guide all planetary affairs according to the will of their king on Jupiter.
  • Starless: The sun and moons are gods, and the Physical Gods walking the Earth used to be the stars. On fulfilling the prophecy, a seed of ending ignited within Miasmus by a seed of beginning, Miasmus's time on Earth is ended, and the three moons pull him back into the skies. The rest of the gods follow suit, their penance ended, and the skies are filled with stars once again.
  • Survivor Dogs: Dogs and wolves have many god-like beings known as "Spirit Dogs", however the Sky-Dogs are the most powerful. They're also the one most prayed to and referenced (though Lucky is also particularly fond of the Forest-Dog).
  • Warrior Cats: The cats' afterlife is StarClan, which is said to be located within the collection of stars above, locally known as Silverpelt (we'd call it the Milky Way).
  • Watership Down: Frith, creator of the world and progenitor of all Earth's creatures, is the Sun itself. The Moon is Frith's liaison to the world, acting both as a Muse and as The Grim Reaper.

    Live Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: Michael wistfully ponders how easy life would be if there were instructions sent from "on high." He then tells his son to watch his head as they duck under a memorial to the Ten Commandments being brought down from on high by a crane.
  • Better Call Saul: In "Wiedersehen," Jimmy insults Kim for acting like she's better than him by telling her to go back to her "office in the sky," implying its more perfect and godly up in the heavens than wherever Jimmy is in life.
  • The Crown (2016) episode "Act of God" focuses Queen Elizabeth's lack of clarity on the relationship between the monarchy and God, a theme that is visualized by the Great Smog that blocks out the London sky for the entire episode.
  • Community: In "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples", Shirley gives two thumbs up pointing at the sky to try to tell Abed she's talking about God, but he doesn't quite get it and she has to explain her own message.
  • Friday The 13th: The Series: One of the few acts of Divine Intervention appears in the form of a series of divine lights flashing across the sky, with the heavenly changes contrasting with the grounded work of the show's Fallen Angels. This upstairs action even kills the demonic Astaroth.
  • Good Omens (2019): Heaven is imagined as the top floor of an office building while Hell is the basement to tie in to how both the Heavenly and Hellish Hosts are part of the same Celestial Bureaucracy. The angel Aziraphale takes the elevator up to work and angels come down from the sky whenever they have business on Earth, in contrast to demons, who rise out of the dirt.
  • The Good Place: Not three minutes into the show, the recently deceased Eleanor distinguishes between Heaven and Hell by pointing upwards to indicate Heaven and downwards to indicate Hell. Turns out she's right on the money, as in the series proper, the actual Good Place is above the Bad and Medium Places and only by using a special hot air balloon few know how to access.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The characters occasionally pray for help (though only to "the universe") in tough spots, and they always do this by looking up and begging. In the case of the first season finale, a prayer to the sky even leads to a uniquely heavenly miracle: a heavy rain inexplicably appears and keeps the protagonist's love from leaving with the wrong man.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Whenever God appears, He's always peeking over a cloud on the ceiling, forcing Stephen and the audience to crane their necks up to have a conversation with the guy.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • In the season 5 episode "Nimue," a young Merlin looks into the clouds and asks permission to drink from the Holy Grail so he may live. Unlike the man who failed to ask whatever god may be listening, Merlin does not disintegrate and is blessed wiith eternal life and unparalleled magical power.
    • Whenever a character in the Underworld "finishes their business," a bright light will appear over the Underworld's fires that they can follow upward to join almighty Zeus in paradise.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Bajoran religion states that their gods, the Prophets, live in the Celestial Temple above the skies of Bajor. In the pilot episode "Emissary," the Temple turns out to be a wormhole that terminates in the Bajoran solar system and is inhabited by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Supernatural: Heaven is a regular setting that's often referred to by pointing upwards or talking about what's "above."
    • The first noticeable instance of Heaven actually being above comes late in season eight, when an angel sends a soul to Heaven. The bright light of the soul is shown rising high up in the sky before vanishing.
    • At the end of the same season, the entire world experiences unexpected meteor showers when all angels are cast out of Heaven at once.
    • Crops up again in season 11 when the Darkness attacks Heaven, which causes Earth's sky to be ravaged by thunderstorms. Also, when the angels attempt to kill the Darkness with a mass smite, an enormous bolt of white light shoots out of the sky to strike her.
    • On the flipside, demons are always seen seeping into the ground (through portals surrounded by a fiery smoldering effect) when they are exorcised.

  • Brian McNeill's song "Muir and the Master Builder" claims that "God lives above the redwoods" that inspired song subject John Muir to become one of the world's first effective conservationists.
    God lives above the redwoods, so men say
    Looking down, straight and true, at the best of all his treasures
    And if a man should stand among them to pray
    It's against them the Lord will take his measure
  • Idina Menzel's song "I Stand" includes the lyric "I don't know if the sky is Heaven, but I pray anyway." Menzel seems to find any non-vertical prayer entirely ludicrous, in large part because of this ancient connection between the sky and the divine.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • All Indo-European religions have the gods or divinity be associated with the daylit sky. The original Top God, Dyeus Pther, is the archetypical "sky father".
  • In Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Finnish, and English editions of The Bible, the word for skynote  is also used as the word for Heaven, or the Kingdom of God.
    • In the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, Nimrod and the rest of humanity believed they could reach God just by building a really big tower.
    • God is frequently described in the Old Testament as emerging from (or as) storms, whirlwinds, or other heavenly disasters, most famously at the end of the Book of Job. There, God's appearance as a massive storm uses the violence of the sky to demonstrate His power and expansive nature. Some scholars speculate that the modern YHWH/God was once a wind or air god, or at least that such a god might have been part of their history. Still, despite this, many other acts of God described in The Bible also involve other, less "high-up" aspects of nature, such as the sea and the ground.
    • Several prophets, like Moses, climbed mountains - the only way to get 'close' to the sky before airplanes - to speak (more clearly) with God.
    • When Jesus returns to the spiritual realm of the Father, The Four Gospels describe it as being taken up and he ascended. Elijah also ascends to the skies, albeit in a fiery carriage lifted by a whirlwind.
    • The Book of Revelation describes the evil angels who follow Satan as "fallen stars" that were "thrown down to Earth," thus originating the term Fallen Angel and implying that their original residence was in the direction of the skies.
  • Although Nirvana in Buddhism is a state of mind and thus has no geographical location, Pure Lands are often represented as heaven-like places locate in the sky and with clouds around. Pure Lands are realms where devoted practicioners can be reborn to practice freely and attain Nirvana easily. Also most representations of Buddhas and Boddhisatvas locate them in high places or in the sky.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Of all the places in Greece they could have lived, the Greek Gods decided to seat their thrones on the highest mountain in the country, Mount Olympus, placing the gods on the point closest to the heavens. They are otherwise described as "of the heavens", clearly connecting them to other indo-european traditions.
    • The Thebaid: The gods look on and call their wrath upon Thebes from the heavenly globe that surrounds the Earth. There, all the Sky-Dwellers chatter in unending day until Jupiter silences them to focus on matters of justice.
  • In a sort of backhanded way both Egyptian Mythology and Aboriginal Australian Myths invision the Spirit World as in the sky rather than in the underground like most other mythologies. However the sky's home to more than just benevolent spirits...
  • In Japanese Mythology the celestial planes where the primordial divinities lived were the first things in existence. They were also the lightest so when the denser earthly world came into being, they settled above all others.
  • Norse Mythology: The various worlds were often considered to have specific places on Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Midgard, the realm of mortals (i.e. Earth), was often in the middle parts of the cosmos; Asgard, the realm of the gods, and Alfheim, the realm of the light elves, were said to be further up, among the higher canopies.
  • Yang, the light energy in Taoism, is associated with the sky.
  • In Altaic Mythology, Tengri, the supreme god, is associated with the clear, blue sky. His name means "Sky Father".

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • At the end of Bo Burnham's "what." routine, he points his finger in different directions to prompt different people to talk. When he points down, he hears an ungodly "I am Satan, Lord of Darkness!" He hopefully points straight up to hear... crickets.
  • George Carlin has described God as both "the man who lives in the clouds" and "an invisible man, living in the sky" in different routines, mocking Christians under the assumption they believe in a vertically-inclined Physical God.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Justified by the game's premise that medieval beliefs about reality are true in Mythic Europe. Therefore, the universe is geocentric and the lunar sphere marks the beginning of the Divine Realm.
  • In Nomine: While Heaven and Hell have no particular physical relationship with the Corporeal realm of mortals, Heaven is divided between the Lower Heavens that players can visit and the mysterious Upper Heavens, at the top of Jacob's Ladder, where blessed souls reside with God; at the opposite end, the explorable part of Hell is only its top layers, and certain tunnels and elevators lead to the equally mysterious Lower Hells where Lucifer resides. One of the prompts for divine intervention also describes the hand of God descending from the skies to crush an obstacle in the players' path.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The natives of Fenris believe that the Sky Warriors will come down to young warriors on the brink of death and bring them back to their heavenly domains to feast and fight for all eternity. In fact, the Space Wolves monitor the constant battles waged by the natives and use them to select candidates for Space Marine training and transformation.
    • Similar beliefs are held by backwater planets who witnessed the Space Marines (also known as the God-Emperor's Angels of Death) descending to save the planet. Local authority rarely sees any need to disabuse them of the notion (and depending on the level of isolation, it's possible only the government is aware that there is an Imperium to belong to).

  • The Clouds presents Socrates as an atheist who denies the existence of a god who throws thunderbolts in favor of worshipping the clouds who shit out the thunder. As a parody of Socratic philosophy, the idea of worshipping clouds, the sky, and other objects of study in place of the actual gods is Played for Laughs.
  • Hamilton: Just before the death of the titular character, time freezes and he talks about seeing his dead friends and family "on the other side." As he says their names, his best friend, his son, his mother, and his father figure all walk across the balcony above the stage, implying this "other side" is above Hamilton. This upwards view of heaven is further emphasized when Hamilton desperately cries "Rise up" just before he is shot.
  • Hamlet: King Claudius uses the sky twice as a metaphor to explain how horrid his soul has become:
    • He starts off his remorseful prayer by saying his offense is so rank that "it smells to heaven." Obviously, if something can be smelled from the sky, that is way too strong. So Claudius is saying his sin is as strong as that smell and as difficult to get rid of.
    • As the King begins to think his remorse is futile, he asks of his sin, "Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens to wash it white as snow?" He seems to think the answer is no, since he did something infinitely evil, and like rain in the earthly heavens, there can only be so much forgiveness in the celestial Heaven.
  • In the Heights: Abuela Claudia has a habit of saying "Alabanza" and holding up whatever she has in her hand. In act 2, we learn she does this to "hold it up to God's face and say, 'Praise to this.'" Turns out God's face is in Heaven with the Abuela's birds, alongside Abuela herself in Act 2, which prompts all the characters to sing "Alabanza" to the skies.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Souls 1: The city of the gods is built on massive towers built upon massive towers that ascend well above the clouds. This gives the player the clearest view of the bright day sky they're ever going to get in this dreary game, making this divine realm seem even more heavenly.
  • Final Fantasy VI: If you became a god, how would you let people know? If you were a magical, misanthropic Monster Clown, you might build a tower taller than any mountain, put yourself right at the top, and turns yourself into a winged creature surrounded by clouds and sunlight. This strategy tells visitors about your divinity without chit-chat, so when they fully ascend your Dante-esque ladder of writhing flesh and confront you, you can smite them without much monologuing.
  • Heaven's Vault: The word for heaven in Ancient has the glyph "up" in it. In fact, it's composed of "place-star", and "star" is "noun-light-up".
  • Kid Icarus: The angelic protagonist serves Skyworld and its good goddess, Palutena. The realm is overflowing with clouds, brave soldiers with wings, and glowing white temples dedicated to Palutena. In case you forget where the good guys work after all that, every level in Uprising ends with the protagonist being surrounded by Rays from Heaven and flying straight up towards the realm of Palutena.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Unsurprisingly, the sky is quite the godly place.
    • Whenever Link needs to call upon the Goddess's magical power into his sword, he aims it right into the sky.
    • Story-wise, the Goddess Hylia sent the last bastion of humanity into the heavens to protect from evil as the ground was consumed by darkness.
    • The association of ascension and divinity is presented in Link's battles with the Imprisoned, where that monster will rise up from underground and climb up a spiraling pathway up to a towering temple. Link must force the monster back into the ground, or else the rising evil will be high enough to destroy the power of the divine. Essentially, Link must do whatever he can to keep evil out of the sky, which becomes much more obvious once the Imprisoned learns to levitate.
  • Nexus War: The Angelic plane of Paradise/Elysium is usually an Arcadian environment, but one season of it took it one step further with an even holier Fluffy Cloud Heaven floating in the skies above that.
  • Super Paper Mario: The dreary underworld of the shades, the Underwhere, is located in a dark cavern. The Overthere, where blessed souls and angelic beings reside, is high up in a Fluffy Cloud Heaven reached by a long stair through the sky.

  • Dinosaur Comics: Ever since God's second appearance, his text has always been portrayed as coming down from the sky, since God lives directly above our two dinosaur protagonists. Also, according to this strip, he used to intervene by reaching down his giant hands from the sky, but reaching that far tired him out and he stopped.
  • El Goonish Shive: The notion of heaven being upward is pondered by Grace, who concludes that it's a holdover from when people thought that the Earth was flat.
  • Homestuck: The Game Within a Game requires character to build towers starting from their houses that rise miles and miles and miles through the skies and deep into space. Only by ascending this self-created tower can they complete the game, fully master their abilities, and collect the mysterious Ultimate Reward which is in the mystical realm not-so-subtly named Skaia. It is only halfway into the nearly eight thousand page comic that Skaia's Reward is revealed: the opportunity to become the gods of a new universe.

    Web Original 
  • Monster Factory: In the Spore playthrough, they create a horrible abomination and give it eyes facing straight up, to better angrily glare at God for creating him so horribly.
  • Plumbing the Death Star: In the Let's Play of Ultimate Chicken Horse, Duscher abuses the ability to have his character looks upwards to make his cute chicken man look to the sky as if he were pleading to God while talking about how he wants to be spared from a violent death.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: When Zuko is furious at his seemingly terrible fate in life, he expresses his anger by yelling into the sky on a stormy day, calling on whatever higher power controls the universe to hit him with a Bolt of Divine Retribution.
  • Justice League: "The Balance" has Hawkgirl, an alien from a planet that only ever worshiped Eldritch Abominations, scares away Hades' minions, beings who work for a polytheistic god, by pointing up to the sky to claim she works for capital-g God. Looks like the "sky=God" trope is universal.

  • In every language, the word for "heaven" is a synonym for "sky". Hence why we in English refer to stars and planets as "heavenly bodies". In Latin-based languages there isn't even a distinction between the two concepts; the Latin "caelum" means both sky and heaven, as do the French "ciel" and Spanish "cielo".
  • The Astrologer trope, and real life Astrology, relies on the assumption that the bodies of the skies are in control of the lives of us mortals down on Earth. Talking about the stars and planets as an astrologer can often resemble how others may talk about the gods. Many cultures have/had viewed stellar objects as divine, and therefore this would be/is sometimes explicitly the case
  • There is an Urban Legend that the first astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, has said something along the lines of "I've been in space, and I've seen no God". Most of the reliable sources agree that if something like that was ever said, it was Nikita Khrushchev claiming Gagarin had been in space and saw no God (Gagarin was himself an Eastern Orthodox Christian). However, fellow cosmonaut Gherman Titov (the second man in space after Gagarin) did actually say this while visiting the US, which the Soviet authorities used in propaganda. Gagarin was credited usually as Titov wasn't as famous. Despite this, Gherman (along with other cosmonauts) rejected offers that they give public lectures advocating atheism (he found the Soviet atheist propaganda boring). Nonetheless, a cosmonaut proclaiming there's no God after having been to space became a stable of Soviet propaganda from the 1960s. This sparked some counter-propaganda as you might expect, and US astronaut John Glenn stated his God was not so small that you'd expect to just find him floating around in space, while American religious leaders denounced Titov for his remark.