A goddess decides to create a race of human-like creatures. Instead of leaving them to their own devices, she takes a parental approach and lives among them. She first creates a handful of them who eventually procreate and so-on and so-forth. She literally lives among them as a physical presence and looks like them, aside from being a little taller and, to their eyes, significantly more beautiful/perfect in appearance.

Goddess' Traits

  • Can see into the hearts and minds of her people but cannot physically see them if they are out of her field of vision (just as we humans cannot).
  • If she wished to she could heal the sick, bring the dead to life, teleport across long distances and develop magnificent technologies for them, but she generally chooses not to. These miraculous powers are rarely exhibited, but likely often enough that each generation would have seen at least one.
  • She provides guidance and wisdom, but otherwise does not intercede in the daily life of her people.
  • However, she would intervene if it was necessary for the survival of the whole species (eg. natural disaster, plague).
  • She values justice and fairness above all other things and functions as a judge for her people in disputes. (Though as the population grew she would likely be the "supreme court" to other judges.)
  • She deeply loves her people, but does not wish to shield them against the regular hardships of everyday life.
  • Could conjure anything she wishes from nothing.
  • She is both invincible and immortal and so would be with her people forever.
  • Being a goddess is also a 'learning process' for her - she may change her behaviour over time.
  • In some instances she may deliver justice to people who commit crimes others are not aware of. For example, if she was aware of a particularly terrible murder that no one else knew about, she may take matters into her own hands.
  • She values life (but also the life cycle. ie. she doesn't prolong natural lifespans) and morals that are fairly consistent with our own.
  • She is not omnipresent.

By our standards, whether the goddess is actually a god or not is debatable, but she does have power far beyond anything her people could comprehend or ever do themselves. From the first generation her people revere her as a god, though understandably there would be times in their history where they may not like her.

My question is: How would living with such a powerful being affect the development of a new society? How would such a society be different or similar to monotheistic religious societies on Earth?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, she does allow death and considers it a natural part of the life cycle. I'll edit that in. $\endgroup$ – user17680 Apr 8 '16 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ Is there an afterlife? I ask because if not, her refusal to save the life of, say an innocent baby, could greatly affect how people feel about her. $\endgroup$ – colmde Apr 8 '16 at 8:16
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    $\begingroup$ Also, the Japanese and Egyptians (probably amongst others) viewed their emperors as gods, so you could look to there for how people would feel about living deities. $\endgroup$ – colmde Apr 8 '16 at 8:17
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    $\begingroup$ The Chronicles of Narnia might be provided some in site. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Apr 8 '16 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ I really like the question but can you perhaps narrow the scope of the question, as it stands the answer is it will impact the society in any way you want it to, because she can do quite literally anything she wants to. $\endgroup$ – James Apr 8 '16 at 15:34

Look at the pope in the middle ages and times that by millions and you would understand the place the godess would play in society. The pope at the high point of his power was considered to be the mouthpiece of God on Earth, she is an actual goddess on earth. People from all around the earth would make pilgrimages to ask her for wisdom and justice.

Even if she didn't take politcal power, the populace would hanging on her every word, there would be philosophical and Theological debates over every small comment or slight gesture she made.

Kings would live in fear of her, if she didn't intervene often perhaps some of them might dare to defy her, but given how powerful she is that probably won't end well. Ever time there was a war both sides would send ambassadors to her with reasons for why she should help them defeat the other. Even if she only got involved in one for every thousand Wars it would still be worth it to at least try.

Should probably have some sort of priesthood that would serve as her servants and help take care of the thousands of pilgrims that would come to visit her every year.

Every time there was an outbreak of the plague or a natural disaster people would send for her, depending on how often she would get involved she could potentially prevent most serious threats to human life to such as disease, famine, drought and violent storms. This could lead to rise in population throughout the world. Depending on her knowledge of the physical world ( and her willingness to share it) she could give humans the knowledge that could help them build Advanced machines.

Overtime some people might grow to resent the goddess either because they think she doesn't intervene often enough or that she intervenes too much or both, this group may try to kill or otherwise hinder the goddess, but since she is unkillable and extremely powerful I don't think they will be very successful, and will probably stay the minority with most people loving her or at least loving what she can do for them.

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I would say that eventually the society would be rid of her, especially if your society consists of humans like us.

Some members of the society would strive for greater power and control. They would see the goddess as a hindrance to that goal. So they would probably try to alleviate her influence. They might do this directly by trying to manipulate her or they would try to influence the society itself to reject her. They would probably find a way to manipulate her since they know what she values. And if the entire society were influenced to reject her, your goddess would either have to comply and leave the society alone or become a dictator to maintain her place in the society.

I guess you might want to consider not only how living with a powerful being will effect the development of a new society, but how living with a new society will effect the development of a powerful being.

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    $\begingroup$ @skfjifid well I believe some people would try to do these things it is highly unlikely they would be successful, people have been trying to convince Society to reject religion for hundreds of years without real success I can only assume that having your goddess living among you would only strengthen people's belief in her. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Apr 8 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Even if you succeeded probably would be temporary. Even if the whole world was ejected her and she was alienated from society all she has to do is wait. Eventually some crisis will come along and threatened to wipe out Humanity now all she has to do is swoop in as Humanity's savior. And soon people would start to love her again. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Apr 8 '16 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ Well I'm just considering the situation in our society. In the Old World, religion was a huge player. The Pope was akin to God. We must all agree that today things have changed. Our society has become far more secular than it was in the past as we advanced scientifically. I'm thinking the same thing would happen to a society with an attentive goddess. Their science might explain some of the goddess's powers and maybe their technology would replace such powers eventually. It just might take longer for them than it took for us. $\endgroup$ – skfjifjd Apr 8 '16 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ @skfjifjd there are still many religious people in the west and even more in the east. True religion doesn't have political power it used to, but it still very powerful. How Imation if all religious were part of the same religion and their goddess walked the earth with. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Apr 8 '16 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @skfjifjd Just because you can scientifically explain how something happened doesn't make it not merciless, besides do you know any scientific theories that could explain her power as described in the question? Because I certainly can't. $\endgroup$ – Bryan McClure Apr 8 '16 at 21:26