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The Demiurge is a malevolent figure from varied belief systems, especially gnosticism. While many confuse the Demiurge with an "evil God" stereotype, it is actually a figure below that of the Supreme Being, thus in many ways is a paradoxical deity that lords over the physical plane of existence but is below that of the spiritual realm.
As the maker of the physical world, the Demiurge is obsessed with physical things and its own power, seeking to keep humanity from entering the spiritual realm and thus escaping its rule. The concept of the Demiurge has its roots in much older religions and myths, in which their were often two equally omnipotent deities, one of divine creation and another of divine destruction (a concept later known as dualism).
The Demiurge is a complex philosophical concept but is usually seen as a means by certain authors to explain the "Problem of Evil". This classic theological debate has often questioned "how can evil exist in the presence of an all-loving, all-powerful deity?". The Demiurge serves as a potential solution to part of the question. In that, the Demiurge takes on the role of the "Supreme Being" but is actually a usurper, who while creating the physical universe is not all-loving nor fully all-powerful, instead it is a malicious creature that tries to keep all within the physical world ignorant of the true nature of reality, higher planes of spiritual power where greater entities exist. These higher deities are often seen as benevolent and it is either mankind's mission to achieve enlightenment via mystic rites or the goal of higher deities to "save" humanity from the Demiurge (in some works Jesus is seen as one such aspect of a higher deity, in opposition to the Demiurge).
The idea is most often associated with gnosticism but has become widely popular in both alternative belief systems, the occult and fiction, though it is considered a heresy by most orthodox faiths (due to the Demiurge's existence being at odds with a true monotheistic faith, as well as the general belief of gnostics that the God of the Old Testament was the Demiurge (due to the often conflicting stories of His wrath and unpredictable nature. In contrast, Jesus is often seen as a true messenger of higher planes, due to his more peaceful nature and tone).
Powers and Abilities
The Demiurge possesses omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience over the physical planes of existence but has no influence over the higher realms, being an embodiment of the physical realms and thus only semi-divine (a "false" deity).
While often seen as the creator of the physical universe the Demiurge is simply one of many (or at minimum two) deities. One of which is a Supreme Being that outranks the Demiurge in every aspect, in most settings it is the goal of mystics to reach the spiritual world and thus break free of the Demiurge. Those with insight into the "true nature" of reality are largely immune to the Demiurge and its many false miracles (which are often used in a wrathful or petty fashion).
The Demiurge is a "false" deity, in this sense it has vast supernatural powers but is vastly below the spiritual powers of a true Supreme Being, indeed most version of the Demiurge are seen as selfish, cruel and tyrannical, in opposition to the true divine.
This means that those who can see through the Demiurge's lies and trickery are able to free themselves from its blasphemous poison and reach a form of spiritual enlightenment: after obtaining such enlightenment, the Demiurge can no longer harm the individual.
- Satan/The Devil in strict monotheistic religions (such as most branches of Christianity, Islam etc) the role of Demiurge is given to Satan, who is often said to hold power over the physical world and opposes the spiritual.
- Angra Mainyu is an evil deity and one of the first to introduce the concept of dualism to the world, of which the Demiurge was likely inspired.
- Azathoth is the "blind-idiot God" of Lovecraftian cosmology.
- God and Satan are 2 "brothers" in Spawn mythology that are very similar to the Demiurge, being false deities who actually originate from a true Supreme Being, who is beyond the reach of the physical universe.
- The book known as the Jehovah Contract portrays both God and Satan as bratty, spoiled sibling rivals, while the Mother Goddess is portrayed as the real Creator who now has to win Her own creation back.
- Asmodeus Poisonteeth in the Redwall series, while not said to be a creator, does have links with a demon, because in Redwall the name Asmodeus is a demon's name or the Devil's name. Asmodeus in the novel does have a role similar to a deity in that he maintains the natural order of death, he is nature's undertaker, and he is feared by many as a supernatural being. Fittingly, Asmodeus is a serpent, an adder.
- Sephiroth in the Final Fantasy VII series.
- Bhunivelze, along with Pulse and Lindzei in the Final Fantasy XIII series, are similar to the Demiurge, while not synonymous with a creator deity, does have the the task of maintaining and sculpting the physical world. They also share the inability to see anything connected with the spiritual world.
- In the manga Negima! Magister Negi Magi and its sequel UQ Holder, The Mage of the Beginning's true name is Ialda Baoth, in a direct reference to the Demiurge. The Mage is the primary antagonist of both stories and created an alternate world that is bound to one day disappear, and plans to send its population's soul into an edenic spirit dimension.
- Yaldabaoth from the SCP Foundation's mythology, a deity with the mind of a beast, resembling Azathoth.
- Deus from Xenogears is very similar to the Demiurge. Although he is actually an extraterrestrial war machine and not an actual god, he is the entity that created the planet, and by extension, humanity.
- Zanza from Xenoblade Chronicles, Xenogears spiritual successor, is basically Deus with a speaking role. He and the Demiurge are both malevolent gods who created a world but are only lesser deities.
- Christof, the main antagonist of The Truman Show is a metaphorical example. As the creator and director of a Reality Show that broadcasts the daily life of Truman Burbank, someone live and unaware of the program. Christof crafted an entire false reality which he has complete control over, which is a giant studio disguised as a normal town, complete with actors who play Truman's friends, neighbors, and family. He is obsessed with ruling every aspect of Truman's life, and when the latter becomes suspicious of his environment, Christof orchestrates events to gaslight him into staying in the set and keep him from discovering the truth.