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DJSlayer0791's Speculation on God in Demon's Souls

Aight, so some people like to think that God in Demon's is just the Old One, clear cut, end of discussion, but as you mentioned, there's more to it than that. The opening video says:

"On the first day, man was granted a soul, and with it, clarity. On the second day, upon Earth was planted an irrevocable poison; A soul-devouring Demon."

This ties into a couple things. Firstly, King Allant, at the very end of the game, basically reaffirms this, saying that God saw Man's suffering and created the Old One to "fight poison with poison," effectively ending mankind's suffering by having the Old One destroy everything. Assuming that Allant and the opening video aren't just flat out lying, that would mean that there is a God of some sort beyond the Old One, one that actually created both the Old One and mankind (or at least gave humans their souls).

Secondly, there's the story told by the Monumental in the beginning of the game. Here, he says that "In the distant past, under a benevolent rule, the world was united, owing to the Soul Arts." As he says this, you see an image of a tree that's green and healthy looking, and glowing with some sort of mystical luminescence. But then, the Monumental says "Until a lust for power caused the awakening of the Old One." As he says this, that green, healthy looking tree transitions into a picture of the Old One, who as we know, is basically a giant pile of twigs.

What this seems to imply is that the Old One was not always a soul-devouring demon, but rather was an entity through which mankind achieved the Soul Arts (we know that the Old One is where the current Soul Arts are coming from, so that's not surprising), and humanity's greed corrupted it into the monstrosity that it is now. Combining this with the opening cinematic, one could assume that the "clarity" achieved through the gift of a soul allowed mankind to commit evil, in this case, a lust for power, and their sin turned the Old One from a benevolent, gifting being into the "poison" that it has become.

Moreover, I don't think that the Old One is actually the god that St. Urbain and his followers worship. I think that they do worship the real "God," the one that created the Old One in the first place, and that the Old One itself was originally the link between God and man (though it seems like they aren't aware of that fact, if it is indeed true). If you look at a lot of real world religions, the symbols that represent them are rarely an actual depiction of their primary deity, but rather something to represent what their god means to them. In Christianity, for instance, the Cross is the symbol of the church, but what it represents is the sacrifice made by Jesus, the act upon which the religion is founded.

I think there's something similar going on in Demon's Souls. The Old One was the link between God and the human race. It was through the Old One that humans achieved sorceries and miracles and other Soul Arts (and remember, the Soul was the gift that Man was granted), and thus it's image became the symbol representing the relationship between God and mankind. But! Human greed corrupted it from its original purpose, and it became the demon that it is now.

I have a couple more points to support this, or at least, that relate to this. Once you've killed all five Arch Demons and have opened the way to the Old One, you begin to hear its cry. If you talk to Urbain after this, his dialogue changes, and he says that it doesn't sound like a demon, but rather a "poor hungry child." The fact that he calls it hungry is kinda funny, since the Old One hungers for souls and all that, but what really interests me is that he calls it a "poor child," which I think is further reinforced by the Maiden in Black at the end when she calls the Old One. As she's beckoning it, she speaks to it like it was a child, with her "Come now, be good" line. Not the sort of thing you would typically say to a demon of apocalyptic strength.

What's all this have to do with anything? Well, just saying "The Old One is God, crazy ol' Freke was right, and everything Urbain and his disciples believe is a giant farce" seems a little too clear cut, black and white for me. It doesn't really fit with the overall tone of the Souls' series style of storytelling, which tends to revel in ambiguity. Here's my theory:

The Old One and mankind were both created by the mysterious God that's talked about by King Allant and hinted at in the intro video. The Old One was originally something akin to the World Tree that's common in many mythologies, and served as the link between God and man, granting humans the gift of the Soul Arts. God gave humans miracles and magic and whatnot through the world tree, and everyone was super happy and farted rainbows and whatever.

Sometime later (the next day, according to the intro video, but I think it's safe to assume they were speaking metaphorically there), human avarice corrupted the tree, turning it into the Old One and giving it an insatiable hunger for souls (mankind's lust for power instilled the Old One with a similar lust for souls).

Here, I believe that the Old One was cut off from God. Tainted by human sin, it was either unable or unfit to talk with God or have any sort of relationship with Him, and it feels frightened and alone as a result (going back to Urbain saying it sounds like a "poor hungry child.") It's effectively a child without a parent, hungry and alone without anyone to give it guidance, and all it knows is the lust for soul power felt by the humans who corrupted it.

As for why "The symbol of God was nothing more than the Image of the Old One," (description from the Talisman of Beasts) as I explained, the Old One (back before it actually was the Old One) was how mankind communicated with God. It's image represents the testament between God and Man, though I would wager that Urbain and co. don't actually know that, and they probably just think of the Old One as nothing more than another demon to be destroyed, so while they are unaware of some aspects of their beliefs and the role that the Old One plays, I don't think that they're blindly worshipping the devil like some fans would have you believe.

So yeah, that's my long-winded theory on the nature of God and the Old One in Demon's Souls. If you actually took the time to read all that, awesome, if not, I can't say I blame you.

The real question is, what is up with the Maiden in Black? The fact that the Soulsucker spell says that she was once "the oldest, most dangerous demon herself" and that the Old One actually obeys her commands is all sorts of unsettling. Actually, there's an idea that I've been toying around with in my head for some time. A lot of fans will tell you that the Old One is "God," but I say that, if any character in the story is really God, it would be the Maiden in Black. She's immortal while bound to the Nexus, allegedly super powerful, manages and maintains what is effectively the afterlife, can manipulate souls and grant the gift of soul power, and she talks to the Old One like it was a child (though that point hinges on my earlier theory that the Old One is a lost child of God). Either that or she's the Slayer of Demons from the previous scourge who became an extremely powerful demon herself, or something else entirely, I dunno. Just something to think about.

So yeah. I hope this was helpful or at least interesting. Let me know what you think, bro.

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