According to band founder Sascha Konietzko, the song was originally performed during KMFDM's 1990 tour with industrial group Ministry as a cover of the Patti Smith song "Godlight". When vocalist En Esch, who had been singing the song live, was injured during a fire, Konietzko had to use new lyrics, as he didn't know the original words. He translated a German spoken word piece the band had been using at their live shows into English, and used the translation as the new lyrics.
After the tour, the band recorded a version for their album Naïve with a group of performers from other Wax Trax! Records bands. Later, Konietzko re-recorded a more electronic version for the single.
"Godlike" was originally released as a single in 1990. In 2008, KMFDM Records re-released it as a 7" vinyl single, limited to 250 copies. On September 14, 2010, Godlike 2010, including new mixes of the song, was released, commemorating the single's 20th anniversary.