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The God Beyond


Honorless

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I'm afraid I'll have to post a wall of WoBs to get to it, so bear with me here

Here's what we have regarding the God Beyond:

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triforceorder

Is the God Beyond related to “the Beyond” place that was talked about?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Calamity Chicago signing (Feb. 22, 2016)

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Trae

The term "the God Beyond" is used across several worlds and stories set in the cosmere. Is this piece of terminology one that has spread across the cosmere through the intermingling of worldhoppers and native populations? And if not, is it merely a conceit that the translation into English we read encapsulates similar convergent ideas?

Brandon Sanderson

What an excellent question. I have been expecting that question for a while. So... various people are using this phrase, "The God Beyond." And, what Trae is asking is, "Is that a translation artifact?" ...Like, our conceit is, when you are reading a book from the cosmere, I (or someone) has translated it into English. So when you see someone make a pun, it doesn't necessarily mean they made that exact pun, it means they made a pun in their language that worked, and I am looking for one in English that expresses the same concept or the same humor. Or lack thereof, if you don't like puns. In our language. So, you're asking, the God Beyond: do they all say "the God Beyond"? Or the saying some entity that I am translating all as God Beyond. And they are actually all saying "God Beyond." It is the same, in their language, same thing. So, like worldsinger, worldbringer, things like this; the linguistic ties there are intentional, as opposed to just an artifact of the translation. There are things that are artifacts of translation very commonly, but that is not one. I am doing that intentionally.

JordanCon 2018 (April 21, 2018)

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Ten

The Carriage Ride to the Forge

Note that Wayne sleeping here is a side effect of him getting really sickly for a short time, trying to recover a bit of healing power. Marasi thinks he's just relaxed, which . . . well, he kind of is, but he wouldn't be sleeping right now save for the effects of his Feruchemy.

As another side note, the city really is as miraculous as Marasi thinks to herself. Sazed created an Eden-esque little section of land here, a place of extreme bounty and fertility, in order to cradle the regrowth of mankind. The actual science (such that it is) of it has to do with the mists bringing fresh water and hugging the ground extra strongly here, as well as some molds that refertilize the ground.

Marewill flowers are named after Kelsier's wife. (Spook, the Lord Mistborn, came up with the name—as well as naming a lot of the things that held out until this time, such as the months of the year.) The other little worldbuilding item of note here is the idea of what Wayne calls the "God Beyond," which is an idea that has begun to creep into society, the idea that there is a greater God of the universe beyond people like Harmony or Kelsier. It's somewhat analogous to some of the Gnostic beliefs in early Christianity.

The Alloy of Law Annotations (March 14, 2014)

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Questioner

Is the God Beyond, or the Unknown God, one of the Adonalsium Shardholders or is it another godlike entity?

Brandon Sanderson

You got [a RAFO card].

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Chaos

You have once said, with regard to a question about Shards being the most powerful thing in the cosmere, that some would say that other "subtle forces" are being manifest. Are these subtle forces related to Adonalsium's opposition?

Brandon Sanderson

There is belief in a God who is not one of the Shards.

/r/books AMA 2015 (June 5, 2015)

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Questioner

In Stormlight, Dalinar mentioned the God *inaudible* And throughout the cosmere, gods *inaudible*. Is there an omniscient, omnipotent, actual God in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Is there an omniscient, omnipotent God in the cosmere? Some people believe that there is. You guys laugh about this, but I don't mean it to be a laughing thing. There are certain questions I will not answer in the cosmere, specificlaly because it will too much underline some of the characters' beliefs. And I want to characters respectfully. So whether there is life after you pass into the Beyond, and whether there is a God of gods, an onnipotent, as we would define "monotheistic God," are questions that I don't answer, and I let the characters deal with. Because if I answer that, then the character discussions about this are meaningless. Not really, but they kind of are. So there are a couple things I won't answer about the Cosmere, because the characters don't have these answers.

Questioner

<Do you know the answer>?

Brandon Sanderson

I know the answer, yes.

Arcanum Unbounded release party (Nov. 22, 2016)

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Questioner

After people die, in this universe, where exactly do they go? Because, at first they appear in this one world, and then they go somewhere else.

Brandon Sanderson

So where do people go when they die. *laughter* In the cosmere. One of the things that's very important to me as a writer, when I am writing stories, is when we get to these kind of fundamental questions about faith and religion and things like this, that the narrative is allowing multiple characters' viewpoints to be plausibly true, if this makes sense. For instance, I am not gonna come out and say, "Is there a capital-G God of the cosmere, is there an afterlife?" These are not questions I'm gonna answer, because in-world, they can't answer them. What they can say is, your Investiture will leave what we call a Cognitive Shadow, which is an imprint of your personality that can do certain things. And that most of those fade away, and you can see them, glimpse them, and then watch them go. But, are they going somewhere? Or are they not? Is that simply the Investiture being reclaimed, Is it more of a Buddhist thought, where your soul is getting recycled and used again? Is it nothing, you return to, you know, being-- yeah, is it a different type of matter? Or is there a Beyond, is there a capital-G God? Things like this. These questions are not answered. I'm never gonna answer those.

Now, the characters will try to answer them. But it's important to me that both Dalinar and Jasnah can exist in the same universe, and that the story is not saying "This one is right, and this one is wrong." The story is saying "This is how this one sees the world; this is how this one sees the world." It's very important to me from the beginning to do that, just because-- Like, I hate reading a book where someone espouses my viewpoint only to get proven wrong by the entire structure of the narrative, and in that universe, that person is wrong. But I'm like, "In our universe, I don't think that I am. Just the way you constructed everything makes it so that I have to be wrong, if I were living in your universe, even if it's a universe that's not a sci-fi/fantasy one." If that makes sense.

This is just kind of for respecting my characters and for the people who hold the viewpoints of my characters, in particular if they happen to be different from my own viewpoints. I feel there are certain lines I'm not gonna cross.

So, the answer is: who do you believe? Which of the philosophies in the books do you look at and say "Yeah!" Or, even better: listen to lots of different ones, and maybe these different viewpoints are all gonna have interesting points that'll give you things to think upon.

JordanCon 2018 (April 21, 2018)

I understand that a lot of people connected the idea of the God Beyond with the Beyond, which Brandon has said he's not going to talk about in any manner that might make one side or the other correct and the other incorrect. I didn't find any WoB that says that the God Beyond is connected to the Beyond. Brandon talks about capital-G God when he talks about this.

The God Beyond doesn't necessarily have to be a capital-G God analogue, I couldn't find any WoB that definitively made a connection between the two ideas.

This could be up to interpretation, I think.  I took some of those WoBs to mean that that's how people in the Cosmere who believe in the God Beyond view the entity.

I have floated the idea around that the God Beyond might be an entity similar to Adonalsium from beyond the Cosmere, which is, after all, a small star cluster in the deep black

People have also speculated on the possibility of the mysterious light and warmth Dalinar feels originating from the God Beyond

 

I've also seen the idea that the God Beyond might be the opposite to Adonalsium, citing these WoBs:

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dgenio8 (paraphrased)

If the force opposing Adonalsium is an entity like him/it (?), have we seen any magic that is related to this entity?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. All the magic you see come from the shards of Adonalsium.

Lisbon signing (Nov. 7, 2016)

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claytonphillips

Before Adonalsium shattered, was it consciously opposed by something, be it people or another cosmic force? Is whatever opposed it still around?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. Yes.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 (April 15, 2013)

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Eric

In Secret History we learn the 16 Shards that Shattered Adonalsium. Was that done [on behalf of the anti-Adonalsium force]?

Brandon Sanderson

You’re focusing too much on this idea of an anti-Adonalsium. It—the original question I believe that was asked me was “is there a force that is opposed to Adonalsium” and it left me a lot of wiggle room. In other words, the people who killed Adonalsium, you could say were a force, any person who opposed Adonalsium... What they were trying to get was a “devil” but to do that you must assume Adonalsium was a more Christian-style God, and I haven’t confirmed any of that.

Calamity Chicago signing (Feb. 22, 2016)

So what do you guys think? Is the God Beyond an idea or an entity? Which one do you prefer?

Edited by Honorless
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You... kind of answered your own question on the anti-Adonalsium thing there. And given that Brandon has been crystal-clear that anything in the books about the Beyond and the God Beyond is just what the characters themselves believe, there's not really much to discuss. Both are ideas, both are subject to different interpretations in-universe and we're never going to get a definitive answer to any of it.

Now, if you're curious about what the in-universe belief in the God Beyond entails, it's similar to the Gnostic conception of the supreme being (God, the One, the Monad and a whole bunch of other names) with Adonalsium occupying a role similar to that of the Demiurge.

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Billy Todd

How closely does Adonalsium map to the gnostic demiurge?

Brandon Sanderson

A little bit.

Billy Todd

So, not completely? I'm not completely off?

Brandon Sanderson

That's not off at all. 

Billy Todd

So, not the urge, but the demiurge. 

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, well I'll have to go read to make sure what I'm talking about then. Your answer is: I will go read and make sure I know. I thought I knew what I was talking about.

Billy Todd

So, there's the creator, which is the urge, which is the creator of the Universe. *large hand gesture* The demiurge is actually God. The demiurge is the one that creates [its] universe, *small hand gesture inside larger gesture* and entities living within the universe need knowledge of that which is beyond what the demiurge has created.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, that matches pretty well.

JordanCon 2018 (April 22, 2018)

Again, this is just what Brandon has told us people in-universe believe, it's not endorsing the belief. Note that he said this at the exact same event where he made the 'no definitive answers, ever' statement.

Edited by Weltall
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Brandon said anything regarding the Beyond and capital-G God would remain unanswered, I do go over that, my point was so many people see it as fact that the God Beyond is this idea of the capital-G God. Many people within the Cosmere do make that connection, but is that necessarily true?

I'm just speculating if it might be an actual entity

Looks like it is very much a theory that people think could be cool but don't actually hold out much hope for. I've gotten pretty much a uniform response of something along the lines of "that would be cool but probably not" when I pitched this idea before.

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2 hours ago, Honorless said:

Brandon said anything regarding the Beyond and capital-G God would remain unanswered, I do go over that, my point was so many people see it as fact that the God Beyond is this idea of the capital-G God. Many people within the Cosmere do make that connection, but is that necessarily true?

I'm just speculating if it might be an actual entity

Looks like it is very much a theory that people think could be cool but don't actually hold out much hope for. I've gotten pretty much a uniform response of something along the lines of "that would be cool but probably not" when I pitched this idea before.

So first to make sure I understand what you are saying correctly. Your theory is that the entity named "The God Beyond" could potentially be an actual entity that exists within the confines of the Cosmere? And that entity could be shown to not be the idea of the capital-G God? (using your terminology)

If that is what you are saying, I believe the reason you are getting the responses you are getting, is because that would be the stance of some in-world scholars. I could have sworn that there was a WoB that stated that within the Cosmere there was never a greater "being" than Adonalsium, but all I was able to locate is that all magic within the Cosmere is shard based, and ultimately sourced at Adonalsium. So if this entity "The God Beyond" did actually exist within the confines of the cosmere, could be proven to be the entity that people refer to as "The God Beyond" and not just some entity pretending to be it, and proven not to be the idea of the capital-G God (using your terminology), then by its nature individuals like Dalinar, Silence, and Wayne (I think he mentioned it?) would be proven wrong. This would not intrinsically mean individuals like Jasnah as an atheist would be proven right. Just the entity known as "The God Beyond" would be proven to not be that idea of the capital-G God. There could still theoretically be a "The God Beyonder". Personally I do not think "The God Beyond" could be an entity within the Cosmere, and be proven to not be the idea of the capital-G God, because I feel that narrative has already occurred, and is still occurring. It occurred with Dalinar in Stormlight. His faith in the Almighty as Vorinism represents it was proven false. But Dalinar did not lose faith. He knew in his heart that there was still something out there that was to him the idea of the capital-G God. Just Vorinism mislabeled it persay. Or more accurately he ultimately disagreed with their representation of it. So the idea of the capital-G God always existed for him, and didn't change. His idea of the capital-G God was not proven wrong. It did not die. Just the representation he chose to assign to it. Now he assigns "The God Beyond" to it. If "The God Beyond" was shown not to be the idea of the capital-G God, that again does not mean Dalinar was wrong, because the feeling he holds in his heart is true to him. His faith is true to him. Just because whatever entity is present is proven not to be "it", does not intrinsically mean "it" does not still exist out there. 

So I guess the TLDR version is the theory that the God Beyond is not actually a capital G God is perfectly valid. The reason I think it has not gotten more traction is as you have said, and others have said, Brandon has said he will never confirm or deny it. By the theory of the God Beyond being shown to not actually being the capital-G God, it would be clearly denying it, and result in characters like Dalinar seeking what they see as the "true" entity that is the being with the capital-G God. Conversely characters like Jasnah, assuming they had the same personality traits as her, would react the same way she already did with him. With compassion and understanding. 

 

Jeff (paraphrased)

Was Adonalsium’s power original to Adonalsium?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes. As far as anyone knows, there was no predecessor to Adonalsium. Good question. 

DragonCon 2019 (Aug. 30, 2019)

 

 

Phantine

Are there any magic systems in the cosmere that aren't shard based?

Brandon Sanderson

This depends on definitions. The effects of Adonalsium permeate everything, and Adonalsium is also the source of the Shards. It is possible to find a magic that isn't DIRECTLY powered by a specific shard, however, though most of these would have been set up before the shattering and would be much smaller in scope than things like Allomancy and Surgebinding.

/r/fantasy AMA 2013 (April 17, 2013)

 

 

dgenio8 (paraphrased)

If the force opposing Adonalsium is an entity like him/it (?), have we seen any magic that is related to this entity?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No. All the magic you see come from the shards of Adonalsium.

Lisbon signing (Nov. 7, 2016)

 

edit:

10 hours ago, Honorless said:

I have floated the idea around that the God Beyond might be an entity similar to Adonalsium from beyond the Cosmere, which is, after all, a small star cluster in the deep black

I went back over your post a few times more just to be extra extra extra sure, and I saw this line. I believe we have confirmation that Brandon's Cosmere will only be focused on the Cosmere itself. If the God Beyond was an entity within that reality, but outside the Cosmere, (as in for example if we were only looking at a city within a state, and there is an entity in the next city over influencing the city we are looking at) I think that could potentially be, but again I think that would result in those that believe in The God Beyond as they believe it to be, would mean it was false. Which would then go back to my post above. 

 

Edited by Pathfinder
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12 hours ago, Honorless said:
  Quote

Chaos

You have once said, with regard to a question about Shards being the most powerful thing in the cosmere, that some would say that other "subtle forces" are being manifest. Are these subtle forces related to Adonalsium's opposition?

Brandon Sanderson

There is belief in a God who is not one of the Shards.

/r/books AMA 2015 (June 5, 2015)

Honestly this WoB is kind of redundant.

Many peoples across the cosmere believe in "god/s" who aren't a shard.

It could be a Returned.

Or an Elantrian.

Or even Hoid

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I'm thinking the God beyond is an invention of worldhoppers or ppl from Silverlight.

They know about the Shattering and like Dalinar they might have trouble believinh a god that can be killed is an actual God.

Hence they believe there is a super God whose realm extends far beyond the star cluster or more possibly into the Beyond. Whatever that is. 

 

Does this God exist or not ?

I don't think Brandon will ever answer that question.

That way religious ppl can believe there does and athiests like me can believe there isn't .

I think the Beyond was once understood and was accessible by adonalsium but not anymore.

I do believe other adonalsium like entities might exist in other star clusters but I don't think we will ever see them.

It is said that in the SR all places are one , but I wonder if it's true only for the places where's Adonalsiums investiture permeates. The star cluster that is. 

 

In the far future , like millions or billions of years later , the star system might crash into a galaxy or something , but that's too far away in time for our events. 

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Crackpot Theory time:

That the God Beyond is the "Dark One" from the Wheel of Time, and Yolen is earth in like the 5th age or something.

 

How would this work?

1. It would give Adonalsium some context, being the creator of the Pattern (or what I'm just going to say is the Cosmere for theory's sake). And his shattering would be remarkably similar to the Dark One destroying the pattern.

2. The Dark One was remarked to be outside the Pattern, like the God Beyond would be outside of the Cosmere

3. This scenario would leave the Dark one without a complete victory, unless he was lying to Rand when he shows him his perfect world (however he may as well have just been using the vision to manipulate Rand, or maybe to appeal to Lews Therin, who has been remarked to be different to Rand, and the Dark one had no further motive than to break the Pattern. Though I'm just going to assume the Dark One broke the Pattern but was stopped there since it allows for more storytelling and a sort of "final battle" for the Cosmere.)

Now... Time to get even more crackpot:

4. Hoid is the failed hero. He was the Chosen one, that age's iteration of the "Dragon" or "Dragon Reborn". Since the Pattern is broken, but the final battle didn't technically end, it makes sense for the Hero to continue living until the battle is over.

5. The final battle will be the Everyone vs. The Dark one, and will end with the Dark One back in imprisonment and someone (I hope Hoid) becoming the Creator all over again and restarting the Pattern

 

I know this isn't likely at all and it probably won't happen.

But you gotta admit, this would be really cool.

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On 2/19/2020 at 11:56 PM, Eternal Khol said:

Honestly this WoB is kind of redundant.

Many peoples across the cosmere believe in "god/s" who aren't a shard.

It could be a Returned.

Or an Elantrian.

Or even Hoid

Uh, I'll disagree on the basis of how Eric framed his question

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My interpretation of the God Beyond was that it was basically left open on purpose so readers could project their own beliefs onto the books. E.g. If your an atheist you may choose to believe that the characters die permanently, and if you are religious you may choose to believe that the characters in the books go to an afterlife etc. Basically, just like there is no way to prove if there is a god or not in the real world, there is no way to prove it in the Cosmere and no character or being within the cosmere will ever truly know what happens in the Beyond. Thats what I took away from it anyway...

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58 minutes ago, Eternal Khol said:

Which quote?

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JOSH AND ERIC
So are Shards the most powerful thing in the Cosmere?

ADAM
Or is Adonalsium?

JOSH AND ERIC
No, no, let him RAFO the first one first, or he'll lump them together.

BRANDON SANDERSON
It depends on what you believe. The Shards are the most powerful things currently overtly manifest. There are those who would say there are other subtle forces being manifest. Most people in the know would say that Shards are the most powerful thing.

ADAM
Does Hoid believe that Shards are the most powerful thing?

BRANDON SANDERSON
You'll have to ask him sometime. [gives troll grin]. Or see him get asked something like that sometime. There's argument to be made that right now Harmony is the most powerful thing in the Cosmere.

Khriss uses the same line once, but we don't have more info 

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