Cosmogenesis is the final location in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. It is the realm where Bhunivelze resides and watches over the new world's creation. The area is linear, featuring only a series of circular platforms connected by a glowing stream of green energy.
The location resembles outer space, and Lightning describes it as "a realm known only to the gods". It is an ethereal plane with the new world in the distance. There are few stars to be seen, but small orbs with spikes float in the distance. The focal point of the space is an intricate golden crest with an ominous black silhouette: the shape of Bhunivelze. The numerous platforms depict stylized solar and lunar iconography, as well as the goddess Etro in angelic form.[note 1]
There are two larger platforms with four images: Etro is the lowest of the portraits depicted on these platforms, and a moon and a sun, respectively representing Pulse and Lindzei, appear in the platforms' center. An image of Bhunivelze is positioned at the top. The platforms are broken and crumbling. There are rotating sun images with metallic spoke-like extensions representing rays of light. When the final platform is reached, turning around will cause them to break and be absorbed by the new world, preventing Lightning from going back. The flood of souls, both of the dead and the saved, continually migrates toward the new world.
Lightning travels to Cosmogenesis to release Hope Estheim as well as the souls of humanity from Bhunivelze's control. Bhunivelze reveals his plan to destroy the released souls of the dead, and he prepares to fight Lightning as a final trial before her tenure as the new goddess of death begins.[note 2] He summons Pulse and Lindzei to him to forge the deities into a weapon for himself to wield. Lightning wounds Bhunivelze, and prepares to become the new Etro while trapping Bhunivelze in the unseen realm.
The denied part of herself that had been made manifest by Chaos, Lumina, is reintegrated into Lightning as she finally accepts her vulnerabilities. She is saved by Hope as her friends and allies answer her call for help, and they, alongside the souls of humanity, destroy Bhunivelze together who crystallizes. As Caius and the many incarnations of Yeul agree to stay as the shepherds of the dead in the new unseen realm, Lightning and her friends, including a revived Serah and Yeul's final incarnation from the 700 AF Dying World, depart for the new world.
"Cosmogenesis" is the seventh track on the fourth disc of the game's soundtrack. It plays during the cutscene right before the final boss battle.
Cosmos derives from the Greek term κόσμος (kosmos), literally meaning "order" or "ornament" and metaphorically "world", and is antithetical to the concept of chaos. Genesis is a Greek term meaning "birth" or "origin". Book of Genesis is the first book of the Old Testament.The word
Cosmogenesis can thus be translated as "world creation", "creation of order" or "beginning of the universe". Words concerning "cosmo" have also come to refer to the universe. The root word "cosmos" being antithetical to chaos may allude to Bhunivelze's mission to create a perfect world untainted by Chaos.
The seat where Bhunivelze awaits, the Sanct of Theogenesis, can be interpreted as either the Sanctuary of God's origin, or more abstract as the holy origin of god. Theo and genesis are both Greek and relate to "god" or "deity" and "beginning" or "origin". Genesis invokes the first book of the Bible, and the title of which that was literally translated from the first word in that book from the Hebrew: Bereshith, meaning "in the beginning". Sanct can be a contraction of sanctuary, but this is a fairly modern usage. The root word is Sanctus, Latin for "holy", while sanct is an early use of "saint" but still relates to being holy or made holy.
- Etro's depiction in Cosmogenesis may be Bhunivelze's interpretation of her; a pure, benevolent woman with arms open to greet dead souls. Her depiction is not unlike that of a bird, which seems to be her symbol, as Lightning and Serah had a golden bird on the parts of their bodies where their l'Cie brands used to be in their new outfits given to them by the goddess in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The bird symbolism may allude to the legend of the Phoenix, seeing as Etro was the goddess of both death and rebirth.
- During Lightning's dialogue with Bhunivelze, she is standing on a circular platform with a likeness of Etro on it, alluding to and briefly foreshadowing her role of taking up the throne of the goddess.