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Heaven Versus Hell

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"The Great War, the Last Battle. Heaven versus Hell, three rounds, one Fall, no submission. And that'd be that. No more world."
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Since Christianity is one of the world's largest and most pervasive religions, it should come as no surprise that one of its central tenets is featured in many works of fiction: the concept of a Heaven and a Hell. This doesn't mean that the works have to represent both sides in strictly biblical terms (or even name them as such), but should follow the traditional depiction of both sides.

One of the most common ways this appears is having the central plot resolve around an actual physical battle being fought between the two forces, usually The Armies of Heaven versus The Legions of Hell. Typically, this battle is being fought in secret while the rest of the world goes about their "happy" lives. The motives of both may differ slightly from work to work, but it generally revolves around wanting to Take Over the World. If this conflict does spill out into the world at large, you may be dealing with Hell on Earth or even Hell Invades Heaven. Granted, this conflict is typically a metaphor for Order Versus Chaos, but occasionally works will depict both sides as flawed or undeserving.

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While the central conflict has its roots in Christian dogma (which actually got it from an older religion, Zoroastrianism, through its Jewish ties), and may even use names, places, and ideas straight from The Bible, expect the works to twist the concept to fit the storyline or the themes of the work. Also, expect lots of quotes straight from the good book and lots of traditional depictions of angels and demons.

Compare: Order Versus Chaos, Powers That Be, Harmony Versus Discipline, Balance Between Good and Evil, Light/Darkness Juxtaposition. For a battle between different Gods within or between pantheons, see Divine Conflict.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Spawn centers around an eternal conflict between the agents of Heaven and the agents of Hell. Spawn was recruited by Malebolgia under Satan's orders to lead Hell's armies against the Host of Heaven led by God and his angels, who is actually Satan's twin (or at least, was until Retcon set in).

    Film 
  • Dogma: No surprise, given the title. The central plot revolves around a mission to save God from the Legions of Hell
  • The Exorcist: With the priests representing the forces of Heaven, the battle is particularly vivid here.
  • Little Nicky: Not much violence between the two forces, but the battle is there none-the-less. A rare example where Hell is depicted as, at least somewhat, noble.
  • Constantine deals extensively with the battles of Heaven and Hell and how the titular character is mixed up in them.

    Literature 
  • Wendy Alec's Chronicles of Brothers series is an imaginative expansion of the Bible story concerning the fall of Satan and the ongoing war between Heaven and Hell that will resolve itself in the (interpreted) events of revelations. Ms Alec is scrupulously diligent in sticking absolutely to the script as Fundamentalist American Christian theology interprets it - Rapture and all - and even though her books are essentially Christian polemic and we all know what way the script is intended to end, contrives to create a readable and engaging story.
  • Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's Good Omens is a beautifully subversive take on the idea of Heaven versus Hell, seen through the eyes of an Angel and a Demon who are fated to be on opposite shoulders of the human race - for eternity.
  • Adam R. Brown's Astral Dawn features an epic war between the forces of Heaven and Hell, though they are typically referred to as Averya and Nazyra. They are the same places, however, as it is established the same places spoken of in the Holy Bible are known by many names.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium does not have a traditional Heaven or Hell, but the celestial creations of Eru Illuvatar, the Ainur, can be divided into the Forces of Good and the Forces of Evil, the latter being those fallen Maiar (lesser celestials) who have followed the fallen Valar (higher celestial) Morgoth in his ways. Thus, any fight between these beings fits the trope. Gandalf's battle against the Balrog, mostly an Offscreen Moment of Awesome in the books but depicted onscreen in the Peter Jackson films, comes to mind.

    Live Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • The Bayonetta series follows the conflict between the various forces of the "Trinity of Realities", Paradiso (Heaven), Inferno (Hell) and the human world. While the Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages are forces of the human world, they are aligned with Inferno and Paradiso respectively. In the first game, Bayonetta fights angels and even travels to Paradiso for a few levels, while in the second game she also travels to Inferno and fights demons.
  • Diablo: The entire conflict of the story is a battle between the High Heavens led by the Angiris Council and the Burning Hells led by the Seven Great Evils.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: The central conflict again. Slightly less dogmatic than other versions. A Batman Gambit done by the benevolent leaders of both eventually succeeded in uniting the two.
  • Most of the plot of both Nexus War games revolves around the battle between the angels of Elysium and the demonic hordes of Stygia. There are several neutral free-will-aligned deities around as well to make for a Mêlée à Trois, but the main focus of the lore is on heaven vs. hell.
  • In Chapter 7 of Super Paper Mario, an army of Skellobits from the Underwhere (Hell) invades the Overthere (Heaven), and fights Nimbis there. The Skellobits come very close to succeeding. An actual battle between the forces is seen in-game.

    Web Original 
  • Lioden: The October Event involves a fight between the armies of heaven and hell. The player is given the option to join either side and fight angels or demons... or ignore it altogether and focus on the other supernatural events going on.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park has very unique versions of heaven and hell. Nearly everyone goes to Hell except for those belonging to one religion, so Gandhi, Hitler, John F. Kennedy, and Ted Bundy are all in the same place. Satan is Affably Evil and enjoys throwing big parties. Up above, God is a bunyip who rules over a Fluffy Cloud Heaven. The residents of Heaven are Mormons and Sadaam Hussein (although he was sent there as a punishment). However, God can change the rules so more people can be allowed in. The person who gets to the highest level in "Heaven vs. Hell" for the PSP on Earth is selected to lead the armies of Heaven against The Legions of Hell, but must not be revived in any manner. God created the PSP for this purpose; the individual uses a Golden PSP to do this for real and is referred to as "our Keanu Reeves."
 
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Nimbis vs Skellobits

The Skellobits of the Underwhere (Hell) confront the heroes, but the Nimbis of the Overthere (Heaven), come to the heroes' aid.

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