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Deicide is the killing (or the killer) of a god. The concept may be used for any act of killing a god, including a life-death-rebirth deity who is killed and then resurrected.

Also used in Freeman Dyson 's Disturbing the Universe in the essay "The Island of Dr. Moreau" when he is talking of JSB Haldane's Daedalus; or, Science and the Future.



The term deicide was coined in the 17th century from medieval Latin *deicidium, from de-us "god" and -cidium "cutting, killing."

New Testament accountsEdit

According to the New Testament accounts, the Judean (or Jewish) authorities in Jerusalem, the Pharisees, charged Jesus with blasphemy, a capital crime under biblical law, and sought his execution. According to John 18:31, the Judean (Jewish) authorities claimed to lack the authority to have Jesus put to death, though it is doubtful what legal basis such a claim would have had; the Jesus Seminar historicity project notes for John 18:31: "it's illegal for us: The accuracy of this claim is doubtful." in their Scholars Version. Additionally, John 7:53-8:11 records them asking Jesus about stoning the adulteress and Acts 6:12 records them ordering the stoning of Saint Stephen.

They brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judea, who was hesitant and let the people decide if Jesus were to be executed. According to the Bible, Pontius Pilate only ordered Jesus to be flogged. Washing his hands, Pilate said he would not take the blame for Jesus' death, to which the crowd replied, "His blood is upon us and our children."[1]

Pilate is portrayed in the Gospel accounts as a reluctant accomplice to Jesus' death. Modern scholars say it is most likely that a Roman Governor such as Pilate would have no problem in executing any leader whose followers posed a potential threat to Roman rule.[citation needed] It has also been suggested that the Gospel accounts may have downplayed the role of the Romans in Jesus' death during a time when Christianity was struggling to gain acceptance in the Roman world.[2]

Christian analysisEdit

The Catholic Church and other Christian denominations suggest that Jesus' death was necessary to take away the collective sin of the human race. The crucifixion is seen as an example of Christ's eternal love for mankind and as a self-sacrifice on the part of God for humanity.[3]

The Gnostic Gospel of Judas contends that Jesus commanded Judas Iscariot to set in motion the chain of events that would lead to his death.[4]

The following is a verse from a hymn written in 1892 for use in the Church of England to call upon God to convert the Jews to Christianity:

Though the Blood betrayed and spilt,
On the race entailed a doom,
Let its virtue cleanse the guilt,
Melt the hardness, chase the gloom;
Lift the veil from off their heart,
Make them Israelites indeed,
Meet once more for lot and part
With Thy household's genuine seed.[5]

Against certain Christian movements, some of which rejected the use of Hebrew Scripture, Augustine countered that God had chosen the Jews as a special people,[6] and he considered the scattering of Jewish people by the Roman Empire to be a fulfillment of prophecy.[7] He rejected homicidal attitudes, quoting part of the same prophecy, namely "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law" (Psalm 59:11). Augustine, who believed Jewish people would be converted to Christianity at "the end of time", argued that God had allowed them to survive their dispersion as a warning to Christians; as such, he argued, they should be permitted to dwell in Christian lands.[8] The sentiment sometimes attributed to Augustine that Christians should let the Jews "survive but not thrive" (it is repeated by author James Carroll in his book Constantine's Sword, for example)[9][10] is apocryphal and is not found in any of his writings.[11]

In other mythologiesEdit

Popular cultureEdit

Deicide is a subject of many pieces of fantasy fiction. Works that have gods and other supernatural beings physically present sometimes involve battles between gods and mortals.

Video gamesEdit

  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, it is possible (albeit difficult) to voluntarily kill the god Vivec. In the Tribunal expansion for the same game, the player must kill the goddess Almalexia to finish the main quest.
  • In the Shivering Isles expansion to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the player is tasked with killing a Daedric Prince, Jyggalag, a godlike being connected with order.
  • The God of War series involves the deicide of the Greek pantheon, where the protagonist, Kratos, enacts vengeance against the Greek Gods for the death of his family.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn involves the killing of the goddess Ashera.
  • In Smite, the announcer will declare a deicide when all of the enemy Gods have been killed within a short duration and haven't respawned yet.
  • In Doom II, the final boss is a Baphomet-like demon called the Icon of Sin.
  • Realm of the Mad God involves the killing of numerous gods.
  • Near the end of Silent Hill, protagonist Harry Mason must kill a "god" called the Incubus.
  • In Silent Hill 3, the final confrontation is between the heroine Heather Mason and a creature named God, but it is unknown if this creature is an actual divine being or just a manifested monster.
  • At the end of Shin Megami Tensei 2, Aleph and his party succeed in killing the corrupt YHVH.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse the main character and the previous game's main character, Flynn, are frequently referred to as "godslayers," and the final boss is a returning YHVH.
  • In the MMORPG RuneScape, the god Guthix is assassinated by the Mahjarrat Sliske in the quest, The World Wakes.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII pits the main character against the god Bhunivelze for the final boss.
  • In Xenogears, protagonist Fei is called "the slayer of God" and must kill a man-made god called Deus which threatens to destroy his planet, and the cosmos.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles, Shulk slays Zanza with Monado III, a weapon that he obtains during the battle—this moment is foreshadowed on several occasions throughout the game.
  • In Asura's Wrath the main protagonist Asura kills what is essentially referred to as god for abducting his daughter.
  • Deicide is a recurring element in the Final Fantasy series.
  • In The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth it is possible to fight Satan, angelic beings, and the embodiment of greed in its expansion.
  • In Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, the main protagonist Billie Lurk finds her mentor Daud and aids in his quest to kill the Outsider, a supernatural deity who bestows magical powers to a select few.
  • In Destiny a raid team of six guardians fight Atheon, Time’s Conflux, the Vex god. Later, in Destiny: The Dark Below, the team must then defeat Crota, Son of Oryx, a Hive god/prince. Next, in Destiny: The Taken King, the team encounters Oryx, the Taken King. After defeating him on his dreadnaught in the mission Regicide, he escapes to his Ascendant Realm. The guardians follow him there, defeating him again along with his twin daughters, Ir Anûk and Ir Halak. Finally, in Destiny: Rise of Iron, the team puts an end to Aksis, Archon Prime, a Fallen Priest Who used SIVA nanotechnology to become a machine, worshipped by the House of Devils and Devil Splicers.

Comics and mangaEdit

  • In the comic book series Preacher, the Saint of Killers commits deicide when he kills God, having already killed the Devil, all of the angels, and an untold number of humans.
  • The term is used as the title for a series of chapters (399 to 421) released for the Bleach manga series. "Deicide" was employed in reference to Gin Ichimaru, who reveals a stronger version of his weapon named Kamishini no Yari or "God-Slaying Spear" during this arc. It was also used in reference to Sōsuke Aizen's newly acquired godhood and the protagonists' attempts to kill him, and Aizen's own plans to kill the Spirit King.
  • Deicide is discussed extensively in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Many of the gods are very human in appearance and nature and most are often ignored or even treated with contempt, making deicide decidedly easy and unsurprising.
  • In the web comic The Order of the Stick, the titular order is after magic gates that seal in The Snarl, a monster created by conflict between the gods. It slew the Eastern Gods (the Greek Pantheon), and is theorized to be even more potent against deities than mortals. Odin even refers to it as a "deicidal maniac" when the surviving pantheons seal it away.
  • In the Final Crisis comic book, the Green Lantern Corps refer to the assassination of the character Orion, one of the gods of New Genesis, as a "Code 10-1-11", deicide.
  • In Dragon Ball chapter 28, Kami (lit. "God") dies when the demon Piccolo is killed in battle because of the connection that the two share.
  • In another example in Dragon Ball, the creature Majin Boo attacks and kills most of the Kaioshin leaving only one alive.
  • In the webcomic series, "Kill Six Billion Demons", the multiverse was created when the one God, Yisun, fell into despair at being perfect, and committed "divine Suicide."

Live-action showsEdit

  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena would, in an event known as "Twilight of the Gods," murder several Gods of the Olympian Pantheon, in defense of her daughter, Eve, The Messenger of Eli.
  • In Star Trek, Klingon mythology included a tale of deicide in which the Klingons slew their gods, who "brought more trouble than they were worth."
  • In the first episode of the seventh season of The CW Television Network's series Supernatural, "Meet the New Boss",[12] Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, and Bobby Singer work against their former ally and recently mutated angel named Castiel who is now calling himself God, even shackling Death in their attempt to murder him. There are also several accounts of the Winchesters killing off deities or deities being killed off on screen. Some of the deities that have died by mortal hand have been Hold Nickar, Beau, Zeo Shen, Leshi, Vesta, Veritas, Calliope, Chronos, Vili, Vanity.


  • In the anime series Campione!, Campione is another name for a God slayer.

Books and novelsEdit


  • Deicide is an American death metal band formed in 1987. Their lyrics usually deal with themes such as Satanism and Anti-Christianity. On their 1990 self-titled album, there is also a song with the same title.
  • "Deicide" is a Crystal Castles song released in July 2015.


  • In Magic: The Gathering's 2014 set, Journey into Nyx, Deicide is a card that is capable of exiling an opponent's god, and all copies of that god in their deck.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Matthew 27:24-25
  2. ^ Anchor Bible Dictionary vol. 5. (1992) pg. 399-400. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
  3. ^ Book of Concord, "The Three Ecumenical or Universal Creeds," The Book of Concord Website, n.d.
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Ancient Manuscript Suggests Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him," Fox News Website, Thursday, April 06, 2006
  5. ^ "Thou, the Christ Forever One", words by William Bright, from Supplemental Hymns to Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1889)
  6. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch. The Reformation: A History (Penguin Group, 2005) p 8.
  7. ^ Augustine of Hippo, City of God, book 18, chapter 46.
  8. ^ Edwards, J. (1999) The Spanish Inquisition, Stroud, pp. 33–35, ISBN 0752417703.
  9. ^ James Carroll, Constantine's Sword (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), p. 219.
  10. ^ See also Paula Fredriksen, interviewed by David Van Biema, "Was Saint Augustine Good for the Jews?" in Time magazine, December 7, 2008.
  11. ^ Fredriksen interviewed by Van Biema, "Was Saint Augustine Good for the Jews?"
  12. ^ Supernatural "7.01 Meet The New Boss"
  13. ^ Meacham, Steve. "The shed where God died". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  14. ^ Schweizer, Bernard. Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism. Oxford University. pp. 206, 207. 

External linksEdit