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A being known as Dea is the creator of all things in the mortal world. He created human beings as living batteries in order to fuel him and give him power. Dea feeds off of human worship, which it uses to get stronger. It is the source of all religions in the world, both monothiestic, polytheistic, or otherwise. He gains power anytime humans pay homage to any god, irrespective of creed or type. Christianity, islam, hinduism, etc, all fall under his domain.

As time goes on, the world becomes more populated. The amount of worship from humans increase and makes this god stronger. Eventually, Dea conducts a rapture like event which ends the world. During this rapture, he consumes the souls of human beings, both living and dead. All humans ascend to this being and become a part of it, existing everywhere and nowhere at once. The world resets itself and Dea re - seeds the earth with life. This process occurs every few thousand years.

If this god depends on the worship of human beings, why would he continously conduct these end of world scenarios??

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    $\begingroup$ Because over time, the marginal utility of each worshipper decreases as society begins to lose faith. $\endgroup$ – nzaman Aug 29 '18 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ Retirement. Rapture is a god cashing in his/her 401(k). $\endgroup$ – CaM Aug 29 '18 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ Why do we harvest crops at the end of every season? $\endgroup$ – Necoras Aug 29 '18 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ I'm actually surprised nobody has brought up the idle clicker games comparison. Why start over? Because the absorbed power acts as force multiplier when you bank it. $\endgroup$ – Drew Aug 29 '18 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ Souls go stale over time. Check the absorb-by date on the bottom. $\endgroup$ – Cyrus Aug 30 '18 at 12:58

21 Answers 21

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SaaS(Souls as a Service)

Dea is actually an Agile Soulware Developer. However unlike the developers we're familiar with, he has complete control of all aspects of the ecosystem. The raptures are basically his way of deprecating+recalling older products, and the next wave of life on Earth is the next release wave in his Internet of Things.

Every time he re-seeds life on Earth, he introduces new 'features', new 'meatware architectures', new 'Etherealnet protocols', etc. How big the changes are would be entirely up to the developer's whim; we'd never know, since none of the previous iteration of humans would be around to compare with. Who(other than Dea) knows what the changes actually are either? Siamese twins with cerebral palsy? That's not a bug, that's a feature.

In the meantime, Dea has asserted that telepathic humans who can rotate their heads 360 degrees will survive and flourish against giant armoured fire-breathing cockroaches in the Jira-ssic Age. What will happen? Maybe the return will be exceptional

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    $\begingroup$ Changed "hardware architectures" to "wetware architectures". $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 29 '18 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps I'm an incompetant programmer, but this doesn't make any sense. SaaS implies Dea providing someone/something else with a service. If I could liquidate all my customers to gain power, I wouldn't be a SaaS developer, I'd be an Aztec monarch. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Aug 29 '18 at 19:34
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    $\begingroup$ If Dea is a developer, who's the customer? $\endgroup$ – Mast Aug 30 '18 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Mast a lot of developers wish they had the time and money to work on their own applications without the hassle of dealing with customers and managers. Software is its own reward, we only put up other peoples requirements because we need to eat :) $\endgroup$ – Douwe Aug 30 '18 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ "Jira-ssic...." Ask me how I know your projects aren't keeping you busy enough. $\endgroup$ – UIDAlexD Aug 30 '18 at 14:37
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Harvest.

scythe harvest source

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

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    $\begingroup$ "What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the Reaper Man?" $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Aug 30 '18 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruadhan you forgot your capslock key :) $\endgroup$ – ivanivan Aug 30 '18 at 16:32
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Knowledge and Competition

When the humans become part of Dea, he gains all of their knowledge. This means that he knows what drives them to worship him, so he can remake the world in a way that makes them more eager to worship him next time around. He draws power from multiple worlds across the universe/parallel dimensions and can survive without the worship of one of such worlds.

Dea needs this small amount of additional power because he competes with other beings in an eternal game to control the rest and their spheres of worship in the multiverse. Only a certain amount of these spheres can exist because power gained through worship increases with the intelligence of the beings worshiping. If two worlds of these intelligent beings are too close to each other, they will figure out about each other, and therefore might be able to figure out the presence of the Creators when another world gets destroyed, and stop worshiping the creator. The beings could also become Creators by gathering the worship of another world that are less technologically advanced than themselves and take spheres of worship for themselves, making all other Creators have a worse chance of winning.

By gaining the small amount of power, Dea can spark religions in the sphere of influence of other Creators, and potentially gain control of more worlds. Dea can also defend his world better from hostile religions, as power can also destroy the roots of religions, which is why Dea favors having multiple religions around the world instead of just one where people are more pressured into worship. This is that religions are constantly being born, and often do not last for very long. Destroying the world also lets him get rid of any foreign religions.

An optional add-on is that Dea could work for a more powerful Creator (let's call him Mil) and is using his power to experiment to get more worship in time. While Dea does this, Mil supplies him with the power to stay alive and remake the world. As Dea is newly ascended, he only had control of two worlds (the world that worshiped him, and his homeworld), but he lost one in a fight with another Creator and lost one of these worlds. He banded with Mil to ensure that he does not lose another world, and therefore become a race that is experimented on by the Creator that took that last world over (and probably destroyed, as a race that knows not to worship will not worship as much.) Mil promised Dea protection and a world after a sufficient amount of results as long as Dea continues to experiment with this new world and advance the economic theory that both he and Mil possess (and others that are working for Mil.)

Another option is that empires of Creators would form as the Creators let races ascend, but still worshiping their original Creator, allowing the more powerful creator to be able to focus on areas besides research and to gain knowledge of worship theory. Dea is either forced into this contract by Mil, his Creator, or Dea is an older Creator that is making another sub-Creator (humans) as a platform for more research. The second option would mean that there is (intelligent) life on another planet in this solar system that humans will soon be guided to find and convert.

In this system, the Creators might experience a rapture of a greater power, and that power would experience one of a greater power, until you got to the scale of the universe, in the case that the rapture would be the big bang, meaning that the universe would be cyclic.

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To give the worshippers a reason to worship.

If the people know they were created by Dea, well and good. But what kind of a god is Dea, and why would the people consider him worthy of worship? Out of fear of punishment? In hope of a reward? In expectation of a Christian-esque loving relationship?

If the cycle of raptures is a system that elevates people to a higher level of existence, or makes them happy, or somehow "completes" them, then the cycle of raptures would help motivate the people to worship the god who is depending on their worship.

(Alternatively, if Dea is not in fact a loving god and the "rapture" does no good to the people involved, the scheme still works as long as Dea can convince the people it's good for them)

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There may be several different reasons why a deity would re-seed a community with life. Let's go through a few:

Possible reason 1: Resistance

Oh, your God builds a resistance to worship from a specific group and/or species. The more faith he collects from that specific group/species, the less effect the faith has on him, and this reduction in effect is PERMANENT. That means that once the resistance gets to a certain point, he must destroy that group/species, and start over with a new one!

Possible reason 2: Wavering Faith

You start a religion. However, the further that religion evolves and changes, the less faith is actually going to you! When did these creatures start praying to a mountain? Do they think that it's your ancestral home? Over time, the religion wanders from your core tenet of "give me faith, you peasants!" to different tenets which don't actually have anything to do with you. And the only way to really reinforce the religion is to start over.

Possible reason 3: Technological progress

The population increases and so does your faith! However, as population increases, technological innovation has to increase as well, to feed the people! Your worshippers get more and more technologically advanced, and sooner or later, you know they're going to become advanced enough to be able to measure you in some way. Whether that way is to measure what you are, or where you live, or maybe finding a way to harvest faith themselves. At that point you might as well start over, technology is never good for religions.

Possible reason 4: Faith poisoning

All things are good, in moderation. Like Alcohol, Faith is AMAZING, but too much can poison your system, inducing sickness in your body, soul, and/or mind. Keeping a well regulated intake of faith is ESSENTIAL for a healthy lifestyle. (This one however, would be better for raptures which only take a percentage of creatures, that way you can keep the intake at a certain rate)

Possible reason 5: Cuisine

Honestly, maybe the god just has a feast every 100000 years from the year he was born, and it just happens to include sentients as the main dish. The population is unrelated.

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Dea is practicing the equivalent of slash-and-burn agriculture. It is not the most effective way, but that what he does. It is in His (or is it Her) nature to do so, an action that is neither moral or immoral. It simply is.

Another take is that Dea is just one infant from an infinitely more powerful group of beings (infinitely more powerful from our POV.)

His way of feeding off our souls is just a plaything - we are a play garden that he tends and trash and resets in a timeline that appears infinite from where we stand.

Either way, I would not attach a sense of purpose to Dea's actions. He is omniscient and omnipotent and yet mechanical. His actions are a function of his nature. He does what he does because he is who (or rather what) he is, in a Lovecraftian way.

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Dea is molting. Dea doesn't actually have a limitless capacity for absorbing worship. He needs to alter himself slightly in order to increase this maximum, and in order to do that he requires a great deal of power all at once.

The temporary decrease in worship is unfortunate, but it will only take a few millenia to rebuild, especially since he can make some improvements on humanity with the next seed round.

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“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God “for proof denies faith and without faith I am nothing”.
“But,” says Man, “the Babel Fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own argument you don’t. QED.”
“Oh, dear”, says God, “I hadn’t thought of that”, and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

That was Adams' take on God. Dea's response is a hair different:

“It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own argument you don’t. QED.”
“You cheeky little monkey,” says Dea, “Okay, have it your way,” and hits the "recall" button.

There's a million reasons why Dea might instigate these raptures. I'm personally a fan of the answer being "we asked for it!"


There is, however, some prior art, based on your description of Dea. It sounds very similar in nature to that of Hindu deity Brahma. Brahma is seen as a creator of sorts. Now I know the Hindu faith is a widely varied one, so I can't speak for all Hindu on their world myth, but I love Alan Watt's rendition of it because his is so incredibly literary, so it is the version I will channel here, as I remember it.

He describes Brahma as a god with many faces, one in front, one for each living creature in back. He describes Brahma as the dream and the dreamer, all in one. All of reality is him, and he's dreaming about all of reality. He dreams up a play so extraordinary that somewhere along the line he gets lost in the beauty of it all and forgets that he is dreaming. Thus we all forget that we are all Brahma, dreaming. We all forget that we have the face of Brahma on the backs of our heads, being dreampt wherever we go. We all become so invested in our characters that they become us and we become them.

In the Hindu faith, the world goes through four phases, each one less beautiful than the last, and the last is the Kali Yuga. In this phase, the demon Kali emerges and reigns. And from this, great chaos is sown, until Vishnu, incarnated as Kalki, his 10th and final avatar, comes forth to do great battle with Kali. And as Kali and Vishnu battles, Shiva dances. Shiva dances the Tandava, the dance of the cycle of life. This Tandava is the source of all creation, preservation, and dissolution that is life. It is the cycle of life itself, at some level. Now this dance comes in two forms. For most of the course of creation, Shiva dances the Anada Tandava, a joyful dance celebrating life itself. But in this dark hour, as Shiva watches his friends fall, he becomes more and more distraught. He dances the other part of the dance: The Rudra Tandava. The pounding drums of his dance would shake you to your very core as the reality of the dance comes forth. He dances this with such ferocity that the ground begins to crack under his feat. The world begins to break as the dance goes on. Fires erupt from below, consuming all those under him. It consumes Kali, Kalki, all of their combat, and the whole sum of everything. All consumed in the final dance that is the Rudra Tandava.

And thus, when he stops, he is alone, on the stage. No other gods survive. No mortal survives. Even the reality of the dream does not survive. This finds him center stage, peering out at the house of seats in the theater we've been performing in.

And to draw the scene closed, he takes a bow, turns, and moves to exit the stage. And as we see him turn away, there's the face of Brahma on the back of his head. Just as it had always been. Just as it has always been for all of us, our whole lives.

And thusly, the cycle begins again.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that literally interpreted, this also means there is a Babel Fish somewhere in each iteration of the universe. ;) $\endgroup$ – Wildcard Aug 30 '18 at 18:59
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It is not Dea triggering the rapture.

The rapture is actually a different deity who triggers the rapture. It's like a bully destroying an ant farm, or an invading army exterminating a helpless village, or a gamer in a multiplayer match wiping out an opponent's base. Dea actually doesn't want this to happen, but he has no choice but to watch helplessly as his creation is destroyed by someone more powerful than him.

And just like in the real world, there are many reasons why this can happen. Maybe Dea is fighting a war with another deity. Maybe this is a high stakes competition. Maybe his neighbor had enough and snapped. There are many ways to go with this, but now instead of needing to find a reason why someone would destroy something he owns, you just need a reason why someone might destroy one of your things.

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Exhaustion

He might get more power from more believers and the number of those living believers increases with time. This does not change. Because he feeds from literally any religion all that matters is that the number of people with some sort of belief is there. So technology or whatever doesn't stifle or kill the religion. If that was happening he could send a "divine prophet" or do something to spark the creation of a religion of some kind. Even cults would count (although the actual cult leader may or may not be an actual contributor if they are just conning people). Regardless of what those religions are there is a steady increase. the problem here is the percentage of the population worshiping and the complexity of the universe itself.

There are two problems that occur. One is that human souls are increasing in number and because Dea is literally everything or essentially controlling-not-controlling everything in some weird way it means that each person takes effort to make exist. It has to compute certain things. Same with every particle in the universe. Unfortunately the way Dea likes to do things while energy might be a fixed value the complexity of the system is not. Entropy destroys order and therefore this means that any universe with life and death that is somewhat interesting to Dea is finite by nature. So that also limits Dea but regardless of that consider this thought experiment.

Suppose I give you a string of letters to memorize that is 104 letters long. Now I could give you the alphabet repeated exactly 4 times. I could also give you the sequence "ab" repeated 57 times.

Now what if I gave you the following string:

efihrfierugfberuigbedigbdkvndfivbawsuidhnedfvbisdhdogsrgfhargioharioghargihdghsrgorhguipsdrgbbfvnodgbgbv

It is exactly 104 characters. Trust me I counted. Can you memorize that and remember it? This is what Dea has to do for the entire universe. When things are orderly (every atom is perfectly symmetric, every region has uniform mixing of particles) it doesn't need to memorize or remember every single atom or particle. It only needs to know the pattern. It can effectively compress the data representing the universe to a manageable quantity. However, when entropy increases more and more patterns stop existing. The universe becomes harder and harder to remember. To compute. This means that a rapture is necessary not because of technology or humans but because the universe itself has become unmanageable. There are of course other benefits some in other answers as this is multi-faceted but I believe this is the primary reason why Dea cannot continue to sustain the universe. It just happens to be that most systems reach that point of needing a reset after several hundred thousand years.


I had more thoughts after posting....

The other possibility here is that Dea is a 4th dimensional being and to it time doesn't exist as time in the way it is for us. It is the same for Dea's worship feeding. Every believer believes in a thing, whether it be eternal torment for 100% of the population including themselves because of some weird reason or being ascended to become like a deity. Dea does not feed just off of worship exactly. It feeds off of the fulfillment of the promise of belief. So if someone believes they will usurp Dea and become the new Dea, Dea can reject that belief entirely and it won't feed off of it. Hence the raptures don't occur because of Dea but rather because many believers of religions all believe in a rapture and it is what Dea is fulfilling. It is worth noting that the belief has to be religious but one could play with this even further. It could also be the fulfillment of scientific beliefs as well. However, in 5th dimensional time (what Dea considers to be time for it) it has conducted many such experiments. It has tried fulfilling any desire whatsoever but chaos emerged. It essentially became a wish granting genie with a few basic restrictions attempting to please everyone at once. It also bent science to people's desires. It may have even done a mix. Perhaps the belief of magic wasn't because magic existed in the current universe but is somehow an fragment of some knowledge of a previous universe being passed down by Dea. Perhaps Dea tried to convey stories about those universes and the cycle it does to try and install what it has found to be successful and enjoying: the fulfillment of religious beliefs about the afterlife. Of course, these beliefs only involve the believer. Dea might condemn someone if a very large number of people believe otherwise but this is a rare circumstance and only reserved for those so evil that granting their belief would be an insult to literally all of the other believers (e.g. Hitler would be a prime example of this).

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Dea comes closer to being omniscient the more power it gets.

Problem is omniscience is very boring, there are no more surprises in life which makes Dea bored after a while (possibly a century or more) so in a desperate attempt to no longer be quite so omniscient Dea clears out the faithful. Setting the stage for a new cycle as Dea equally abhors feeling powerless

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A few explanations I can think of;

Fun: You build something into something magnificent and then it becomes boring, so what do you do? You destroy it on a spectacular way. A meteorite makes a big boom, a natural disaster is immensely satisfying to watch, world war is a great betting game. In short humans are both needed for him to have power and a source of amusement. Basically Dea plays Sim city on global scale.

Rapid influx needed: Perhaps there's a need for him to quickly get a lot of human souls. Perhaps some other entity challenges Dea every so often and he needs an immense power boost to defeat said entity.

Blunt force only: Maybe he doesn't want to create these massive disasters, but they're simply the only tool he can or is allowed to use to fix somekind of problem. Maybe the problem is solved by wiping out a single city block, but he can't create an earthquake for example that can only level that specific city block.

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The System has become corrupted

Occasionally, the system goes off and becomes economically irrecoverable. The easiest thing to do is Ctrl-Alt-Del and reboot everything. Hopefully, you have made a useful backup.

Still, it is a lot of work, waiting 10 million years, and the answer turns out to be '42'.

https://cdn.windowsreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/8664.New-BSOD-in-Windows-8_5A7DB394.jpg

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If a rapture event is an all-at-once event that transfigures humans into aspects of a divine being, releasing energy in the process, some possible reasons are:

  • Greed, impatience, and maliciousness. Nobody said a god had to be a good being. It just likes seeing the little mortals squirm for a while, and enjoys the periodic influx of energy.
  • Needs to feed. This implies that the god's energy level gets depleted over time. This is why humans raise cattle and plant vegetables.
  • Has some celestial task to perform that requires increasing energy reserves each time. I.e., expand the scope of the universe, or keep the universe from collapsing back down to nothing.
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Maybe those souls aren’t going to heaven like the priests say? Maybe it’s just God’s once in a millennia feeding time where he feasts on the devoted souls of the faithful (sinners cause indigestion)

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This strikes me as a very organic phenomena. Thus it could be some kind of divine parallel to something a living thing might do like sleep during the "night".

More over, Dea might go into hibernation or chrysalis when they don't need to eat. The rapture is like one final meal to fuel the long sleep when prayers (of anyone some how left behind) go unconsumed and the universe becomes unpredictable without Dea's will to guide it.

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Euphoria

Dea gains sustenance from worship, but rapture gets him high AF.

Every few millennia he goes on a bender, gets loaded off all them fresh living souls, and spurts out a new world order in a creative frenzy, and then spends a while sleeping it off until he's ready to begin preparations for the next big party.

You can also spin this with a less comedic tone with a bit more gravitas, but I think the undercurrent of "mostly, this all powerful being that we owe our existence to uses us in about the same way a hollywood producer uses nose candy" is a pretty rich basis for a variety of stories.

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Limited resources

The earth can only maintain an X amount of people, by killing humans off he is thinning out the herd so to ensure a long time for us to exist and worship him, if we get to plentiful we will destroy the planet via global warming and resource overuse and once that's gone we go with it, which means no one would be left around to keep worshiping him.

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You need some motivation besides "power" and "battery" - To explain the motivation you need to worldbuild some context for which in the god exists. Why does a god outside of the mortal world need to do anything, really?

This might include something that actually puts the god firmly in the real mortal world as a concrete being from the viewpoint of the reader but not from the viewpoint of the people living in the world.

One could be keeping the species living on the planet quarantined on a planet, while still having some motivation to keep the species alive.

For example, maybe your god feels the need to breed a perfect specimen to become another god for another planet and he can only do big resets when things start to go wrong or right. In this scenario you wouldn't need to have a backstory for where it came from, because it doesn't even know - or maybe the god is of some alien species that is supposed to do that(as a natural trait) but got orphaned for unknown reason at a young age and doesn't really know how the process is supposed to go so keeps experimenting and resetting.

Or he is a caretaker, but also has outside orders to keep the species limited to the one planet they are on - "wait here with the humans and wait for rescue ship" - only the rescue ship never comes and it's been millions of years already, but the omnipotent intelligence is hellbent to stay here and wait for the rescue ship and while at it keep any of the souls to be taken care of from leaving the planet as well(so they can be taken to the "mothership"), thus making a purge necessary every now and then to keep them from attaining technology to leave the planet(or galaxy) - that the souls merge in the god is just a way to keep them waiting for the rescue ship, perpetually. That he put them on the planet to wait and breed could be because the original stasis fields could have kept them alive only for so long. This would provide a motivation and means also for people to try to break the cycle, as the way you tell it there would be no way for the people to even attempt to break the cycle.

Now, you don't need to even tell all of it to your audience but it would help to decide such stuff beforehand so you can keep some consistency depending on your story that takes place - if the people are trying to keep the purge from happening (like in some final fantasy type of a story, quite a few japanese rpg's have some ancient being or computer try to end the world for whatever reason).

Of course, a lot of it would depend on which direction you were intending to take your story, I'm just guessing that it would have to do with one or more of these purges and perhaps some people trying to stop one from happening or with some cultists trying to accelerate it.

If you firmly intend to keep the god as a god outside of the mortal realm, you really don't have too many options besides inventing more things to exist in the same level as it exists on, to provide a motivation why the god needs power and tie that mechanism to the purges.

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Culling

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/de/worterbuch/englisch/culling

Or, in simple terms: Population control.

Over time the population develops weak, ill or otherwise undesireable individuals. The regular "rapture" cleans the gene-pool.

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It's like Cell Division

Once Dea's gathered enough power it Ends all things and redistributes its power over an increased number of planets / planes of existence / dimensions. This expanded pasture then slowly refills to contain more worshippers than the previous cycle could have contained.

The different places (planets, planes, whatever) can either be the same Dea stretched to cover all or separate instances of the same Dea, slowly seeding out across infinity.

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protected by L.Dutch Aug 30 '18 at 14:16

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