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Ram: Do you believe in the Users?

Crom: Sure I do. If I don't have a User, then who wrote me?
Tron
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Talos, once known as Tiber Septim, Ysmir, or the Dragonborn, Heir to the Seat of Sundered Kings, is the greatest hero-god of Mankind, and worshipped as the protector and patron of just rulership and civil society. Tiber Septim conquered all of Tamriel and ushered in the Third Era and the Third Empire. At his death he ascended to godhood as the God of War and Governance of the Nine Divines.
Entry on Talos, The Elder Scrolls wiki.
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In some settings, Humans Are Gods. Or at least one human is God. Not merely godlike, but an actual de facto God who have created a universe or sentient species or such. May or may not still have a physical body.

This does not include stories where the human who created something is portrayed as pretending to be a God or as being mistaken for a God.

If the Deity of Human Origin is the creator of the world/universe, then it's another one than the one he grew up in... Unless he's in a Stable Time Loop, of course.

Having created a world does not automatically make a person into this trope: It's a matter of how the whole thing is portrayed. Let's say that some guy creates a virtual world where the computer programs are real individuals with real emotion & self-aware intelligence. If the programmer comes across as having crossed some kind of Moral Event Horizon, it's not this trope. If they instead come across as some kind of Crystal Dragon Jesus, it's definitely this trope.

In a setting where gods are powered by the faith of their followers, it may be possible for a mortal to ascend to godhood with sufficient worship. The classic example is a hero so renowned that the common people pray to him or her for aid.

In any case, the trope name uses the word "human" in a very broad sense -- Fantasy creatures can be included.

Examples of Deity of Human Origin include:

Anime & Manga

  • Earth's god in Dragon Ball falls into this category, where essentially anyone strong and pure of heart can qualify for the role. The current god even considers giving it to Son Goku at one point. Note that being born on Earth isn't even a requirement, said current god being an alien.
  • The elevation of Yurie, the title character of Kamichu! to divine status in much the same way as listed in Myth below, kick starts the plot and her learning how to deal with her new status is a significant point in many episodes.
  • Naruto: Orochimaru counts as a demon of human origin, though he fancies himself this. He used to be a regular human, but somewhere along the line became a snake demon. The Sage of Six Paths certainly qualifies as well.
  • Bleach
    • Aizen, though he is most assuredly of the God Is Evil variety.
    • Kurosaki Ichigo was born a Human with Shinigami powers. By the climax of Deicide he is so powerful that his reiatsu is now in a dimension twice removed from the Shinigami.
  • The Lifemaker/Mage of the Beginning in Mahou Sensei Negima, as can probably be guessed from the name, is the creator of the Magical World and presumably its first inhabitants. The Lifemaker is over two thousand years old, immensely powerful, immortal and is referred to as the god of the Magical World, though he was presumably once human.


Card Games


Comic Books

  • Watchmen averts this during the actual storyline. Dr. Manhattan claims that he is not a god and that he doesn't like people. At the end, however, he has changed his mind: He likes people after all, so maybe he'll create some as his next project.
  • Wonder Woman became the Goddess of Truth for a short while after she was killed in action and the Greek gods decided to reward her for her devotion. However she was too good to be a god, using her new powers more to help people than gain worshipers, so they eventually demoted her back to mortal superhero.
  • The Tron example below is given a Deconstruction in the Alternate Continuity TRON: Ghost In the Machine. Jet Bradley finds out about what his game programming means on the other side of the screen, does not handle the revelation well, and is scared to even go near a computer after finding out.
  • In Supergod, superheroes are gods. However, the concept of "God" is a flawed one.
  • In Lucifer, Mona Doyle eventually becomes a Goddess. So does Elaine Belloc, but Elaine was never really human.


Films -- Live-Action

  • Tron: In this movie (as well as the sequel), computer programs are real people with real feelings, and the world they live in is very real in its own right. Their gods, the Users (with a capital U) tend to refer to themselves as "human", a designation that is quite irrelevant to the setting. See Page Quote.
  • Over 90% of Tron: Legacy takes place in a world known as The Grid, and the major conflict is built on three characters (two of them played by the same actor) who we can call The Father, The Son and The Devil. The Father is the creator if the world and also the father of the Son—whose arrival to the world brings new hope and a chance of salvation from the Devil character who has ruled the world since he rebelled against The Father. The Father is wise and benevolent, a personality that might seem a bit out of character for those who have seen the first movie and remember him as an immature brat. At the very end, it is revealed that he was still immature and shortsighted when he created the world and the creature that would usurp him and take the role of devil. This is revealed that this is the reason for why the world is in the sorry condition it is -- The Devil was simply carrying out the orders given to him by The Father to the best of his ability, but the Father who created him and his world was flawed. Thus he carried out flawed orders to the best of his flawed ability. This turned his quest for perfection into something vile, warping him into a Totalitarian Utilitarian leader of something that looks eerily familiar.


Literature

  • Exploring this concept is the whole plot of Lord of Light.
  • The Incarnations of Immortality series plays this straight. In the series, all significant forces—Death, Fate, Nature, War, Time and so forth are normal humans who assumed the Office. However, most of these Incarnations are not worshiped.
  • In the Immortals quartet, Sarai, Daine's mother, a mortal, dies and goes to the Realms of the Gods to join her husband Weiryn. Since only gods are allowed to live in the Realms, she is granted a place among the minor gods and becomes the Green Lady, a patroness of healing and childbirth.
  • The Ellimist from Animorphs was originally mortal; the full story of his ascension to a higher plane is told in The Ellimist Chronicles.
  • In the metaverse of most of Brandon Sanderson's works, various humans apparently got hold of pieces of a god called Adonalsium which broke apart, and proceeded to become gods in their own right, creating all the various worlds Sanderson writes in (except Alcatraz-Earth and obviously the world of WoT). There are apparently 16 total Shards of Adonalsium, some of which have been broken up further since.
    • We also have cases like Mistborn's Lord Ruler and Warbreaker's Returned, where humans attain a state that is considered divine by various groups in-universe, though they're not gods in the cosmic sense.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has quite a few thanks to how Ascendancy can take place. Ganoes Paran and Itkovian to name but two examples.
  • With one exception, the gods in the Book of the Long Sun are of human, though hardly humane, origin. They turn out to be the digitized personalities of the dictator who build the starship all the characters live in, his sociopathic family, along with his mistress and a few cronies. Their explicit desire to make a mockery of everything virtuous explains why the two religions we see are a blasphemous Catholicism with blood sacrifices and an intolerant, gender-bent version of Islam.
  • In Fredric Brown's short story "Answer" humans create an omnipotent computer and ask it, "Is there a God?" The computer answers, There is now!


Myths & Religion

  • In Chinese Mythology, humans were frequently promoted to godhood in the Celestial Bureaucracy.
  • Many Inuit gods and spirits were once humans. Malina became sun goddess when she escaped to the sky from her brother Igaluk, who tried to rape her. He continued his chase and turned into the moon spirit. The goddess of the sea, Sedna, was a mortal who changed when her father tried to sacrifice her to calm down a storm. As she clung to the boat he cut off all of her fingers, creating seal from the severed parts.
  • Greek and Roman gods included some who were apotheosized from mortal origins, most famously Herakles (Hercules) who became a god upon his death, according to his worshippers.
  • Some Roman emperors were worshipped as gods after their deaths, and the Roman poet Ovid wrote of the mortal girl Psyche becoming a goddess. The custom of deifying Roman emperors led to Emperor Vespasian's Famous Last Words:
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  • In Ancient Egypt, the kings of Egypt were considered at least partly divine during life, but fully divine after death. Certain non-royal persons, such as Imhotep and Amunhotep son of Hapu, were also deified after their deaths. In the latest dynastic periods, anyone who drowned in the Nile was said to become a god.


Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Forgotten Realms setting contains several gods who were once human, but ascended to replace other gods who had died. Examples include Cyric, Kelemvor and Mystra who were adventurers until their ascensions during the Time of Troubles.
      • Two necromancers from the wizard nation of Thay had a rivalry who of them would become more powerful. One of them was Szazz Tam, the current ruler of Thay and one of the very small circle of contenders for the title of most powerful lich wizard in the world. He lost. His rival was Velsharoon, who became the god of necromancy.
    • In the Greyhawk setting, St. Cuthbert and Vecna are both ascended mortals. (Well, ascended Undead in Vecna's case.)
    • Cas, Demigod of Spite from the aptly-named Heroes of Horror supplement. He was denied justice in mortal life, and his hatred was massive enough to exalt himself to godhood. This Baphomet-like figure grants power to exact spite (at a price), not unlike Enma Ai.
    • In the Points of Light setting, The Raven Queen was given domain over death after Nerull proved to be too problematic.
    • This is the core philosophy of the Believers of the Source (or "Godsmen") in Planescape: All mortals have the capacity for apotheosis, which will come to you in your next life (or possibly a later one) if you improve yourself enough and become "worthy" through your actions in this one.
    • Many of the Immortals in the Mystara setting were once human, or members of some other humanoid race. Others derive from more exotic non-divine species (treant, earth elemental, sapient dinosaur), and still others no longer remember their personal origins, but assume they were once mortal because that's how the younger Immortals came to be.
  • Pathfinder
    • Likewise, this setting has Cayden Cailean, god of adventurers, freedom, and booze. He became a god by getting really drunk and partaking in a life-threatening test of ascension. He passed.
    • There are some other ascended humans in Pathfinder, such as Iomedae, goddess of honor, justice and valor; Irori, god of history, knowledge and self-perfection; and Norgorber, god of greed, murder and secrets. Cayden, thanks to the aforementionned circumstances of his ascension, has the most player fans.
    • Arguably the first (and most disturbing) case, however, would be Urgathoa, who became a goddess long before the others, basically through sheer evil willpower instead of any test. Myth claims this was the origin of both undead and disease.
  • The Exalted of the game of the same name are humans given divine powers that allow them to exceed not only gods, but the creators of their world. The Green Sun Princes can also become full on Primordials or Devil-Tigers, elevating them to the status of world-makers and shakers without losing the common touch.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Emperor has many characteristics in common with the Chaos Gods, and seems to be about as powerful as them. It is suggested that if He ever dies, He will become a full deity. Of course, it might also remove the Astronomicon, destroying the Imperium, so nobody wants to take the risk. He's really closer to the Eldar gods than any of the other deities though; as the Chaos and Ork gods have no physical presence and the C'Tan are more of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • Like the Emperor, the Man-God Sigmar in Warhammer Fantasy Battle is an ascended mortal; while it is heavily implied that the gods Myrmidia and Ranald may be as well.
  • In both Mage: The Ascension and its Spiritual Successor Mage: The Awakening, it's possible for a mage who has reached perfect understanding of their magic to become an Oracle, a being of the Umbra/the Supernal Realms that guides the hand of reality from behind the scenes. Awakening also has the Oracles' Evil Counterparts, the Exarchs. Way back in the day, the proto-Exarchs forcibly entered the Supernal Realms, kicked out their native gods, and became the new gods. The earliest Oracles entered the Realms to stand against the Exarchs' dominion of reality.
  • The Invisible Clergy of Unknown Armies veer between this and God Job. Mortals who ascend and become Archetypes have limited power individually, but once all 333 of them are together, they can create a new universe... or maybe rewrite this one. Or destroy this one and then replace it. Details are sketchy.


Video Games

  • In the original Deus Ex, a major theme the idea that, in the absence of a real or metaphorical god, one should be made. In one of the endings, which is alluded to by the page quote from Morpheus, This trope actually occurs, with JC Denton merging with the AI Daedalus to create Helios, becoming what is essentially a god, and in the sequel, if the player sides with Helios, the result could be likened to the infamous Instrumentality from End of Evangelion with less Tang.
  • The Galactic Civilizations Backstory has a human go back in time and become involved in the creation of the universe. His influence also creates the Altarians.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Tribunal in the series, which is a plot point in Morrowind. And their godhood fades again after the Nerevarine destroys their source of power and reveals their religion for what it is.
    • Also Tiber Septim, also known as Talos (and about a dozen other things), who achieved apotheosis and became one of the Nine Divines.
  • In RuneScape, the god Zamorak was originally a mortal mahjarrat.
  • Dr. Sepulveda, creator of the digital world Darwinia, is worshipped as a god by its inhabitants after accidently linking a webcam to the program and having his image displayed in their sky.
  • Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy was originally an ordinary girl before she became the supreme deity of the Marioverse.
  • In God of War, Kratos is granted the position of the God of War after killing Ares. His rebellion in the second game is caused by the other gods' lack of respect for him since he ascended by deicide.
  • In Guild Wars Kormir takes up Abaddon's power and becomes the Goddess of Truth at the end of Nightfall.
  • Many of the mortal villains of the Final Fantasy series, including Garland, Emperor Mateus, Kefka, and Sephiroth, become physical gods by the end of their respective games -- not that it helps them.
  • In Touhou, Sanae Kochiya is a Miko who is also referred to as a goddess. Two reasons for this: Suwako (an actual goddess) is her direct ancestor, meaning she has divine blood, and during her life in the outside world her resultant ability to create miracles gathered her a small number of worshippers. That said, her divine powers are pretty weak, as she doesn't have many worshippers and her magic abilities outshine her divine ones anyway. When she first meets Reimu, she talks about how Miko can become gods if they try, to which Reimu replies she has no interest in that.
    • According to side materials, most gods started off as humans, though the only one we know for certain this is true for is Kanako (and we know Suwako didn't).


Web Comics

  • In The Order of the Stick, The Dark One (god of goblinoids) and the Elven Gods were once ordinary mortals.
  • The Gods of Arr-Kelaan were passengers on a spaceship ( and the Space Pirates that attacked it) which crashed on a strange planet that's apparently in a different universe entirely. Long story short, they're Physical Gods now.
  • In Kagerou, the goddess Tcaolin fits this trope, which separates her from the other Old Gods.


Western Animation

  • During the course of her adventures with him, the title character of Disney's Moana discovers that the (demi)god Maui was originally an abandoned human child, before the other gods empowered him.
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