Thursday, 13 April 2017
165 The Nature of Gods and The Death of the Imperium Part 2
My Part 1 on the Death of the Imperium sparked some interesting debate so I have expanded my thinking into the Nature of the Gods and how that reflects on the wider Imperium.
What are Gods in the universe of Warhammer 40K? Now there is a question! We don’t all agree today what are or who are Gods or God in our own universe so this could be quite a discussion.
I don’t expect people to agree with my points of view and in some places I will have to generalise wildly and in others I will have to massively simplify the discussion points so please feel free to add to the discussion with your own thoughts.
I will probably have to split this up into a number of parts as it could rapidly grow into a wall of text so we will have to see how we go.
We have various beings referred to as Gods, others referred to as the living Avatar of a God, the devotees of a God, shards of a God ad nausea. But does that mean there are or they are, Gods?
Let’s look at the distinct groups of Gods we see referred to and see if we can find similarities
The Chaos Gods; these are probably the biggies, the ones we hear most about (with a notable exception perhaps) but are they Gods?
Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch and Slaanesh. It’s this last one that is perhaps most interesting to our debate as he/she is the one we already have some specific information on as to how they came to be. But lets come to that later.
These four Gods form the main pantheon of the Chaos Worshipping mortals of the universe. Its hinted at that there have been others of the millennia, some smaller, others similar and vying for supremacy but in general these four are now more or less constant and battling between themselves and with much of the mortal realm.
The Chaos Gods and Chaos Daemons for that matter exist because of the emotions, fears and desires of the mortal races. The effect of the minds of mortals moves and influences the Immaterium and feeds the Chaos Daemons and Chaos Gods. The more powerful those mortal minds and emotions the more powerful the creatures of the immaterium.
Have violent bloody thoughts and angry murderous emotions and you feed Khorne the Blood God. Embroil yourself in Machiavellian schemes and have twisted deceiving ad conniving thoughts and you boost Tzeentch the Changer of Ways.
So are they Gods? I think I am unsure on that point. I think its possible that they are infact simply immensely powerful creatures from a plane of existence where normal laws of physics don’t really apply. That they are fed and grow and are shaped by the emotions of mortals from our plane of existence but not that they are Gods. That the Chaos Daemons are simply lesser versions of them yet to grown and develop.
However in the setting its very clear that in the right circles they are very much believed to be Gods and they have very God like powers and are widely Worshipped as Gods.
Now lets go back to our earlier point about Slaanesh and how she/he came into being. Now first off we must remember that what we “know” is based on racial memory and myth so we must take a pinch of salt with it but again its widely taken in setting as fact.
We are told the excesses of the ancient Eldar created the Chaos God Slaanesh. That’s pretty straight forward and simple isn’t it? An entire (ok not quite but near enough) race of highly psychic, highly advanced mortals lived their lives to excess, indulging their every whim and desire no matter how outrageous or unseemly and in truth the more perverse and debauched the better. The impact of that life style, of its raw and extreme passion and emotion from so many psychic beings twisted and turned the Immaterium and ultimately gave birth to the God Slaanesh who proceeded to suck the souls out of as many of the Eldar as he/she could get hold of.
Or at the least gave form to that raw passion and emotion and formed a sentience that lives on feeding on those emotions.
I don’t think it unfair to assume that the other major Chaos Gods were formed in a similar way, whether over a shorter or longer period but in the same general process.
So are the Chaos Gods, Gods? I don’t think it unreasonable in setting to think that if belief and raw emotion on large enough scale can create those beings then it’s not unreasonable for the greatest of them to be in fact Gods. Maybe J
So if we take the leap of faith (pun intended) that the Chaos Gods are Gods then what about the rest? Lets look at the Gods of the Eldar……