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There exists a parallel universe next to ours called the warp, in which inhabit the Gods. These beings don't exist as physical entities, but abstract manifestations based on human emotions. Fear, hate, anger, joy, love, etc., are all represented by these creatures, and are the embodiment of these human emotions. Whenever a god crosses into our world through gaps in our reality, they take on physical forms that are linked to these emotions as well as the myths that surround them, causing the most deepest reactions of those emotions in us. These entities also have a functioning biology, including organs, blood, bones, and everything else that goes with a internal structure. These entities are immortal and can't die permanently, and instead fade into nothing after sustaining heavy damage, their essence fading back into the warp.

When gods manifest on earth, they sometimes have physical relations with humans. These relations lead to offspring with these humans. However, the children resulting from these unions are completely mortal. They have no access to powers, immortality, or any sign of special abilities, simply existing as average people. This is the case regardless of which parent is a god, male or female. If one parent is a god and one is a human, they should be a hybrid of both, resulting in a demi or half-god. This should give them access to certain powers relating to that god. How can this not be the case?

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  • $\begingroup$ What happens if two gods, in physical form, get together? $\endgroup$ – WillRoss1 Jan 9 '20 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ They ought to still produce a fully human child, by any self-consistent theory that matches the above. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Jan 9 '20 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon: Potentially not, assuming humans have no non-physical component equivalent to that of the gods, and that said non-physical component participates in the reproductive act when two gods (physical or not) reproduce. Basically, reproduction with humans could be a purely physical act while god-god reproduction could occur at the metaphysical level as well. $\endgroup$ – ShadowRanger Jan 9 '20 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon - "self-consistent theory" vis-a-vis "Gods" = mental whiplash. I'LL SUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) $\endgroup$ – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Jan 9 '20 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ "they take on physical forms" that happen to have (or the equivalent of) human sperm in their testicles, and eggs in their ovaries. Otherwise this shouldn't be tagged with genetics, and instead: immaculate conception, which has no earthly explanation. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Jan 10 '20 at 0:56
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The children of gods and humans are fully human because godhood is not genetic.

The manifestation process that the gods undergo when they cross to our plane produces a fully normal human genome -- in other words, the body they inhabit while in our world is completely human. What makes the gods, well, gods is entirely a function of their mind, spirit, soul, whatever you want to call it.

Therefore when a god uses its (fully human) manifested body to reproduce with a human, what makes him (or her) a god isn't involved in the biological process of reproduction.

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Why would children be demi-gods?

These entities also have a functioning biology, including organs, blood, bones, and everything else that goes with a internal structure can be found.

So, a god manifests in our world is, for all intents and purposes, human when it comes to biology. Thus, I'd expect them to have human offspring.

I don't see the logical relation that being from the Warp will automatically be passed onto the child. It makes as much sense as one parent losing a finger in an accident and expecting their future child to also miss a finger when its born. Or perhaps, even more abstractly, a learned skill like mathematics or woodworking does not genetically transfer to a child. This is simply not how biology works.

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  • $\begingroup$ Better to be a demi-god than demi-bull or demi-ShowerOfGold, some of them would come out a lot worse off than the Minotaur without that fallback! $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jan 9 '20 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ The lost finger analogy is really good, but genetically a mathematician not so much. Potential and preferences have genetic components, and vocations are often influenced by what you are exposed to when you are young. So, the child of a mathematician is far more likely to become a mathematician or atleast pursue a related career than someone who is not the child of a mathematician . $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 9 '20 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki yet, why aren't we all masters of all trades? If my father was a mathematician, and my mother a doctor, I should be good at both. Then if my grandfather was a carpenter, I'd have those skills, too. And so on and so forth. Yet we don't tend to inherit what our parents pursued in university, for example. I certainly don't have my parents' language skills, either. The biological component is not as great as to make a big difference by itself. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 9 '20 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ Your grandfather needed to use a lot of spatial reasoning to be able to be a carpenter, you dad needs a lot of spatial reasoning to be a mathematician. This means there is a good chance that you inherited spatial reasoning skills and could become a carpenter, mathematician, or similar profession, but if both of your parents had spatial reasoning deficiencies, you would never be able to develop those skills no matter how hard you tried. In this case, the child of a god can never become a god. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 9 '20 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ I think, you meant to say that the learned skills themselves don't transfer, in which case, it could probably just be a bit better worded. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 9 '20 at 18:09
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Consciousness is Metaphysical

In your world, the brain acts as a conduit for consciousness that exists on another plane. Human beings have biological, fleshy brains that "capture" their souls at birth and "release" them to the afterlife at death.

The difference between gods and humans is that human consciousnesses come from one plane of existence, while gods' come from another. The souls that inhabit humans vs gods are vastly different, but they inhabit the same vessels on Earth.

When a god and a human produce a child, the child gets a normal human soul because it has normal human biology.

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We can't really answer the question until we know what a god is. And for religious reasons, people are often uncomfortable examining just what a god is. It turns out that the concept itself, while old, hasn't always been the same.

With what we have to extrapolate from, gods weren't always "gods". Humans in cultures that are unlike the PIE-descendant cultures we're familiar with sometimes have concepts that are much more similar to the original version.

In those versions, the world is full of what you or I would call "spirits". Spirits are formless, they have no bodies. This isn't necessarily invisible, but it's definitely not solid either. Spirits also have location, they have no omnipresence. They have personality, and they have names. They can have individuality but it's not always required. The "antelope" spirit isn't just one (there are many antelope after all), but neither would you know the names of each of them nor would it matter. And unlike ghosts, they weren't ever necessarily alive in the same sense that you or I are alive. Many spirits could be friendly, others could be grumpy or downright hostile. You could ask favors of them, or cause them to become your enemy. They didn't create anything in the absolute sense either... some spirits could create this or that, in the same ways that a particular human might create this or that. But none were credited for creating the entire universe, for creating everything. They could be wise or foolish. They might know something that a human wouldn't or couldn't know, but there was no omniscience either. They might wield magic, or might even be able to do powerful things inherently, but there was no omnipotence. Clever or heroic humans might very well best them.

At some point in prehistory, things changed. At least in some parts of the world. Some cultures adopted particular spirits as their patrons. They believed that these spirits interceded on their behalf, at least when they were appeased. That their patron spirits might be more powerful than a competing tribe's patron spirits. Arms races ensued, of a sort. Many mechanisms, but the obvious ones are through more extreme appeasement... this becomes worship. Another is aggrandizement. "My god is more powerful than your god!" That is the seed which will eventually become omnipotence and the myth of "creating everything" in monotheism. We're probably not finished at this point, but we're well into the place where spirits are starting to turn into gods. And while their characteristics will still change a bit, they tend to (even today) retain many of the early characteristics too. They are still formless, though perhaps only when it suits them. They still have presence and location. Heck, they not only have location, but they're still bound to it. If your tribe migrates 1000 miles away, their god probably hasn't come with them and they'll need to worship a new one. Omnipresence will only come later, with the last few final aggrandizements, with monotheism.

So, what you really need is a difference concept of what a god/goddess is. And you don't have to invent a new one, you can just borrow back from the earlier concept. This is also borrowing from the time period where there is less difference between "human" and anything else. If your monotheist deity isn't the only god, and if he didn't create people "in his image", there's just that much less difference between humans and everything else. If you go on your hunt and request from the antelope spirits to be successful, you're sort of talking to them as if they're people anyway. A person who did that wouldn't blink at the notion that the son or daughter of a spirit might not be distinguished from the son or daughter of another person. But they wouldn't be surprised either if they were heroic or clever or long-lived or could even take on characteristics of a spirit again in ways that people couldn't.

If you told them a story about the offspring of a spirit and a human, they wouldn't scoff at that child being normal, nor would they scoff at it being unusual. And I believe that there is enough popularity in these older ideas even today that you don't have to change the story for us either. If it feels as if this isn't good enough, you may be trying to hard to "science-fiction" yours.

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I really like the answers regarding their physical bodies being 100% human genetically. After all, it appears that their physical body is perfectly mortal, which would be passed on to their offspring. Any immortality, longevity, resilience, etc. is due to their eternal essence, which has nothing to do with their genetics.

However I want to call particular attention to one aspect of this that could affect the "perfectly normal genetics" idea.

Whenever a god crosses into our world through gaps in our reality, they take on physical forms that are linked to these emotions as well as the myths that surround them, causing the most deepest reactions of those emotions in us.

This, to me, indicates 2 things:
1) Their physical form has specific characteristics based on the emotion they embody (fear = disfigured and horrifying, love = flawlessly perfect, etc.)
2) It is these physical features that cause our emotional reaction, NOT their immortal essence

These physical features are most certainly genetic and would be passed on to their offspring. Of course, they would be far less potent, having roughly half the effect (and half again for each additional generation, if any) and would lack any control over the effect.

In the end, I don't see this "problem" being much of a problem at all. It's more of a point of intrigue than anything else. It makes sense that there would be SOMETHING special about their offspring, but the drastic reduction in power combined with a complete lack of control takes this from being a superhuman ability to a strong attribute. After all, the feelings of love (or fear or whatever) felt around them are influenced solely by their nearly flawless (or terrifying or whatever) physical features and have nothing to do any mystical or supernatural powers.

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Let's start by noting that calling an abstract manifestation of emotion a god is a bit rich.

At best they sound like mindless extremes of human behaviour, quite possibly without any self and personality, certainly nothing to write home about.

As such, they only exist in "mortal form" by possessing and adapting/twisting an existing human being. The resulting child from a liaison of the possessed and another human is thus simply a human born of two humans for all practical purposes.

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