Design And Disorder In African Religious Thought

Chris Ukachukwu Manus


  1. Introduction
  2. Nature
  3. Creation
  4. Perceptions of Design in the African Cosmos
  5. Disorder in African perception
  6. Science
  7. Man and the Environment: The Nigerian Scenario
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

In the African world, and elsewhere, nature and creation are constituted of a variety of marvelous and breath-taking events that appall a caring observer. There are in existence great marvels that Africans wonder about. For example, at the Victoria Falls, in Namibia, one is thrilled by its thundering majestic waters; on a clear night, above is displayed an infinite canopy of stars in creation. By day, the mind boggles at the sights and sounds of Namibia’s night world and the wonders of Brandberg, a standalone mountain in a desert region of that country, whose evening, usually lightened by the setting sun, turns into myriad hues of red. The Kalahari is a scrub desert. What of the moon that hangs like a ripe grape in the ink-sky of most Southern African lands? What a Disney land in Africa!

In West Africa, shades of towering forest trees are pierced occasionally by shafts of light. Our coasts frighten one with the roar of the Atlantic and the surging wind tossed waters add to the eerie silence of the beach-line in Lagos, Cotonou, Accra, Abidjan, Lome, to name but a few. Are we not thrilled by the intelligence of a swarm of warbler birds that fly over the Atlantic at the height of 20,000 feet as they make their way via Africa to South America? What Intelligence has directed and guided the swarm’s migratory instincts to cover 2,400 miles in search of warm environments? How wondrous is nature and creation!

The African man is astonished by the presence of jugged ranges of the Cameroun mountains and those of Moshi, Tanzania and Cape Town, in South Africa, whose icy summits glister in the sun of Africa. In the North, the Sahara Desert is a massive wasteland of intense heat, dust, sand and inhabited by unkind reptiles.

What about the presence of contrariness and opposites? How about the large masses of volcanic magma which had, some 120 million years ago, erupted through the earth’s crust and are now nothing but big brilliantly hued hills? How about lightening and thunder that rumble in the atmosphere and electrocute down bellow, several people in open farmlands and fields in Africa? How can one wrestle with the problems of floods and gully erosions that eat deep into the soil of coastal Africa? When one thinks of the prevalence of these mystery-packed phenomena and those that strike wonder in one’s eyes, several questions agitate the mind such as: Where is the Creator?

Over the years, philosophers have approached the task of their discipline in various ways. For both ancient and modern thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, philosophy is a dialogical activity. Socrates minced no words in instilling in his Athenian compatriots the teaching that “the unexamined life was not worth living”. (Schmidt: 1980: 282). It was Plato who further advanced the dialogical character of the Socratic tradition by employing dialogue as a literary device; this type of convention was adopted by Paul in his major epistles (Manus 1983: 251-268). Dialogue and its dramatic finesse moved philosophy into the realm of a second order activity in which philosophy came to be seen as an interaction of people as well as a critical subjection of life to rational study. Since philosophical concerns are of topical importance in the quest for knowledge, i wish to invite you to join me probe in a dynamic and open-ended format of the subject-matter of this topic. In order to present a rational discourse about the universe in the perspectives of African religious thought-forms, my objective is to clarify the concepts used in traditional religious language of African theists. The approach taken is that of philosophy of religion, a discipline which sees its task, inter alia, as the critical examination of religious beliefs, their truth-claims and the battle against the enchantment of our intelligence by means of language (Wittgenstein 1953:47e). As a philosopher-theologian, my intention is to systematically reflect on the content of the belief of Africans about nature and creation, the universe and its laws and to unpack the implications of such beliefs for a responsible eco-theology considered ad rem in our environment.


African religious traditions and belief systems were replete with the sense of the numinous in the environment. The Supreme Being is held as the author of order that replaces chaos in the African natural world. Traditional African theology and religious customs are quite consistent in their perception of nature as meditating divine presence and reality. Traditional African theology recognizes and corroborates God’s revelation through nature with evidence from human modes of discovery. Thus African Traditional Religious thought does not advocate the separation of man from the sacred cosmos as is the case in the industrialized and secularized West. In Africa, there is therefore a strong belief in the sacredness of nature. Nature is so permeated by the sacred that every part of nature is believed to possess a touch of sacrality. Through nature, traditional Africans had caught glimpses of divine reality at work and had perceived the presence of God in ecological terms. However, this does not mean that Africans of today lack the idea of the profane but they rather believe, like their forebears, that in every object in nature, besides its physic-chemical components, there is something central to existence: that is, an Absolute being through which life is vitalized. The cosmos is believed to be endowed with spiritual forces which can affect man positively or negatively. Nature is believed to be alive and to speak to man. People freely accept that there is an ontological relationship between beings in the universe including humans: hence they believe that purposiveness in nature is real. Nature is therefore not an empty impersonal object to be thrashed and recklessly explained but an entity filled with numinous significance for the health and mind of all beings.

The relationship between the sacred and the natural world has been given expression in several cosmogonic myths and the religious world view of various ethnic peoples in Africa. Most of the narratives tell us something about God as the source and creator of the world and the natural order. Apart from the creation of human beings, other beings including spiritual entities are believed to be created God. Creation is God’s prerogative, no other being creates. By virtue of his creation of the world, Africans believe that all its contents belong to Him. The whole of creation is an expression of God. Thus ownership of creation including humans is a divine right. Creation is held as good in spite of its contingency, finitude and limitation. From the created order, African theology derives its language and symbols to express the mystery of the divine reality (Olupona 1993:3). He is the Great Provider known among the Igbo of South –eastern Nigeria as Chukwu (the Creator-God) (Metuh 1981:27). Among the Yoruba of South western Nigeria, He is Olodimare, the Superlative Deity, the Eleda, that is, the Maker, the Origin and Giver of life (Idowu 1962: Manus 1999:6) The Zulu speak of God as “He who thunders from far-off times”: the Nuer know that God is “Spirit of the Sky”. The Shona of modern Zimbabwe in their praise-poems address his as Mwari (God) and call him the “Piler of the rocks into towering mountains”(Shorter 1979: 40-41). In the religious tradition of the Xhosa of south Africa, Thixo – the Supreme Being, the creator of all that exists – is recognized as an exalted person or absolute being who is identified with the sky. Besides, the Xhosa-speaking Africans see the attributes of the Supreme Being revealed in the construction of the natural world (Pauw 1975:76). For them, the configuration of this universe, especially in the way in which good is inherent in it, though evil exists and coheres in human beings, discloses divine immanence (Hodgson 1982:101). Prayers of African Traditional Religion are dotted with man’s sense of divine presence in the water, the earth and the sky. The Bakongo have a prayer which reads: “Water never sleeps, God made it to be always flowing”. Among the West Africans, D. O. Ogungbile has so eloquently observed that water is the most common natural phenomenon whose sacred quality “has diverse symbolic meanings and applications in Yoruba religious traditions…” (Ogungbile 1997:21).

The Yoruba have a scintillating creation myth which this work misses at the risk of its insufficiency: at the beginning of time, the earth was water-logged and everywhere was nothing but wild marshes. Olodumare, in his creative capacity, decided to turn this marshy wasteland into a useful place for life. He sent Orisanla with a sizeable portion of loose earth to go and make the earth a habitable terrain. To be able to accomplish this task. Orisanla was handed a white hen and a pigeon that would perform the task of spreading the loose earth on the watery expense. Both birds busily scratched and scattered the loose earth. The well-spread spaces became habitable land for human and animal life. The unevenly scattered sections resulted in the formation of hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, seas and oceans. Olodumare sent out chameleon to inspect the work who reported that the work was well executed (Idowu, Awolalu-Dopamu 1979: 64-57). This feat was believed to have been achieved at Ile-Ife, the ancestral homeland of the Yoruba.

Thus African belief systems have kept alive, since time immemorial, the numinous presence in nature’s depth and have offered spiritualities that are in conformity with the rhythms of the divine order known in and through creation. God is not however identical with his creation. He is distinct from, yet involved in his creation (Bishop: 1991:8). For Africans, the world is a religious universe and the question whether or not God exists does not arise. Traditional African peoples were not logical empiricists for whom such a question is a pseudo question. Pre-modern African did not engage their wits in seeking for the verifiability and falasifiability of God’s existence. In their experience, the movement and causal interaction of things in the natural world made them believe that the virility of such phenomena requires a self existent Spirit (Being) who initiates motion and operates the causal chain in order to sustain other realities in the world around them. Therefore, creation is not anthropocentric but theocentric. The provision of times and seasons is to make humans perceive the existence of the power and the greatness of the creator. In this perspective, they can be likened to Thomists who, in their thinking held on to the fact that reason proceeds from an observation off the facts of experience. All things are firmly believed to exist for and have their meaning in God (Horton 1956). Thus for the Africans, creation is the cause of the appearance of living things by God who has so intricately designed the universe and made all basic kinds of life to thrive on earth, Thus, God is fully functional in our ecological circles.

Perceptions of Design in the African Cosmos
The traditional religious world views that had provided a way of seeking the truth about life was based on a system of belief or the conviction that a supreme Being exists as a source of all that there is. This belief impels Africans to believe that there is evidence of purposiveness in nature. They believe in a perfect organizer who had set things in sequence and whose handiwork in nature is free from imperfection. In most African autochthonous thought-forms the portrayal of the wonder of the people on the marvelous adaptations within organisms and between organisms and their local habitats is quite notable (Cohen 1959:287-292). When one reflects upon this sort of impression, it reminds one of the fact that some native Africans share the view common to most generations that animate nature cannot but be the creation of an intelligent cause or mind. They recognize that all the wondrous adjustments could not be “the results of blind mechanical forces” (Cohen: 287). Traditional Africans did not think in abstract terms and as such they did not hold the view that complex vital order in nature arose out of the encounter between purely physical forces. For them, the coming into existence of reality as a result of change encounter of exclusively non living forces is unknown, that is to say, organic evolution or molecule-to-man theory did not belong to their formal thought pattern.
Even family structures, economic activities, political power, royal institutions and judicial decision-making policies were promoted and strengthened by religious beliefs supplied by African Traditional Theology. In such a theology, no formal distinction is made between theories of natural and supernatural causation. Rather design is held sacred everywhere in Africa. It is evident in the humming of insects, the singing of birds, the rustlings of small animals in the undergrowth of the forests, the presence of fireflies that lighten up the dark nights of Africa. Design abounds in the snow-capped height of Mount Kilimanjaro and in the perched Sahara Desert. It is present from the ocean’s sunlit coast to its darkest depths. Right up in the atmosphere, tiny creatures float about. The spider makes its artful and geometrically designed web. On our wet ground off the rainy season, millions of micro-organisms are at work in the soil, making it fertile for the growth of green plants which sustain other forms of life. The weaver bird’s nest, so intricately woven in a booth-shape usually picked up by people after a heavy rain-storm in tropical Africa, behest people to conclude that some intelligence guided the contrivance of such an edifice. The chameleon that crawls and changes colour as it adapts to every environment or the tortoise that moves slowly and yet steadily to win the race makes Africans conclude that a much greater intelligence is behind the origin of these animate beings. The idea that life, both animate and inanimate, shares in the decoration of the divine creativity unites the Rundi with a more theistic African race – the Yoruba of South west Nigeria, whose pantheon includes the Creator-divinity in a common faith. Among the Kikuyu of Kenya, God is the maker of the fertile land of the people; and for the Pygmies of Congo, God is the cause and owner of all things (Mbiti 1970: Shorter: 36-41, 80).

Do these primal explanations of reality in the African world not come close to the teleological argument or the design argument typical of the 16th and 17th centuries physic-theologians such as Henry More, John ray and William Derham who studied God’s design and order of the natural world in order to understand and to prove Divine Wisdom in the whole of the universe? Besides, did these men not employ the developments in the thoughts of Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton and Boyle to justify and to reinforce Christian faith? (Lewis 1992:314). Along the ideas generated by these crop of scholars, was that of William Paley who is his Natural Theology (19th c.), had persuasively argued that the natural world was intricately designed as a watch. That the African thought about the existence of a mind can be related to this most persuasive off the traditional arguments for the existence of God is by no means a chance idea. Africans belief-system is fully rooted in the order or design that is believed to be present in the world. This same order is known to exist in human institutions. There is no doubt that each African culture has a form and a logic of its own. African communities are comprehensible because they have some web of intricate designs. Traditional civic and communal organizations provide an alternative to civil unrest and anarchy. Wherever order is found in their communal settings, African do not doubt that there is a mind at work, planning, designing, intending and executing. This finding indicates that the order reflected in the African culture is paralleled by the order of nature. In this perspective Roger Schmidt’s eloquent assertion of the presence of design in the universe is quite ad rem.

If the movement of the planets was not predictable, space travel would be impossible, the moon flights are not only a monument to human genius but a testimony to the order of nature. What is true of the stars is equally true of the earth. Our planet is a chain of interdependencies and functional adaptations. The ocean, the wind and the earth’s surface combine in a play of forces to replenish the earth with life-nourishing rain. The anatomy of man, of every species of animal, is likewise a prodigious display of proportion, intimacy, and adaptation (Schmidt: 1980:291-292).

Thus, one can argue that teleological argument asserts that the order which exists in nature is best explained by attributing it to intelligent design. In other words, like Paley of old, Schmidt correctly insists that “the order, adaptability, and interdependencies of nature, which far exceeded that of the watch, must likewise be the work of intelligent design” (Schmidt: 292). Seen therefore from the African perspectives, the orderly arrangement of every part of nature is the strongest proof of God’s existence. The argument from design still captivates the African mind. In addition, it would function as a mode of discovery which can assist European theists to come to a fuller understanding of God.

Disorder in the African Perception
Nevertheless, traditional African mind is not impervious to the presence of occasional mishaps or disorder in the world of humankind. The occurrence of abnormal events are quite numerous. In the African world, life is often vitiated by intense competition, strife, hatred, wars, genocide and death. Pre-contact Africa had its fair-share of hegemonic dominations which led to violent overthrow of monarchs and the eventual annihilation of whole subjects. While fear of global disaster and doomsday was hardly dreamt of, death which terminates a person’s life-span and renders his or her non-existent in the physical world for ever is considered the ‘mother’ of disorder. Such contradictions in nature did not leave the belief of the African traditionalists unchallenged. Their fears can be articulated in the following existential questions how come the normal course of a river overflow its banks, inundate the land sack whole villages leaving many drowned, cattle and farmlands swept away and houses submerged with property worth millions of dollars? When these sorts of mishap happened, they cried and bemoaned themselves and raised further critical questions that are still raised today: if there is a necessary being, how can one explain the occurrences of distortions in the created order? Why is order often dismantled and chaos let loose on mankind? Besides, the regularity of the occurrence of disorder forces people to further raise vital questions: if there is an all-powerful creator, why is there so much decay, war, famine and disease that send millions of people to an early grave? Why would such a Creator permit so much poverty? Is there, at all, any mind and Purpose in the universe? These physic-theological questions are not based on solutions proffered by biological adaptations of living matter but on the Africans’ experience of natural causes that thwart design. On a rather philosophical sense, disorder is this allowance of the occurrence of misery, calamity and suffering. In other words, disorder is the manifestation of a condition where nothing but chaos and confusion reign in the world around us. However, despondent disorder may cause man to become man needs to keep an open mind and take consolation in the philosophical reasoning that affirms the existence of “the absolutely supreme perfect, unique and infinite being”. (Hayes 1985:43)

As African societies were opened up to the influence of Westerners and as communities began to develop their life-style to conform to western patterns, traditional social institutions began to loosen their attachment to religion. With the advent of Western education, traditional religion ceased to be a major force that shaped African world views, and in turn, religion began to be influenced by other institutions. Not much too long, religion began to interact with other forces acting on the other institutions in the society: and one of the forces that affected religion in modern Africa is science. There is no doubt that modern Africans are aware of the amazing accomplishments of scientists in today’s world. They know that scientific skills have fantastically improved man’s knowledge of the universe, the earth and living things. Advances in the biological sciences have, for example, led to improved ways of treating illnesses and injuries. Genetic engineering has led medical doctors nowadays to establish with a modicum of precision for sex selection. Rapid progress in electronics has ushered in the computer age and global computer literacy is altering man’s work patterns of life. While scientists have been performing astounding feats such as the sending of men to the moon and back: yet in the post-modern age, it is the same science that is eroding the traditional religious world views and values of Africans.

The primal order suggested by African Traditional Religion and theology is indeed one of a different degree. The impact of modern science, especially the view that the only reality that there is, is that disclosed through the methods of the empirical sciences, has dealt a fatal blow to African theology and spirituality. Still, and in spite of the Design and Disorder arguments derived from man’s observation of the natural world, the act of creation is, for the Africans, an act of divine disclosure. God’s eternal power and supremacy are perceived despite Polinghorne’s caveat that Darwinism had seriously challenged the credibility of the Design Argument (Polkinghorne 1995:42). Perhaps, it is important to remind ourselves that Darwin himself admits of this theory’s limitations when he concludes, inter alia, that on the subject of origins, the “view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into few forms or into one” remains open to further examination. (Darwin 1859), 1958” 450). In sum, it is my submission, that while Africans do not necessarily turn their backs on science and reason, they so religiously cling to the traditional belief in the wholeness of nature and see it as the reservoir of divine presence, where God’s self-disclosure in history can be appropriated.

Man and the Environment: The Nigerian Scenario
The new millennium looks as if it is going to be one ridden with ecological crises as some contemporary scholars and environmentalists are drawing attention to the serious damage the environment is undergoing (Gaba-Waye 1997). And in an Inaugural Lecture delivered last January at the Obafemi Awolowo University, professor T. A. Fasokun eloquently and audaciously stressed that “progressive degradation of the earth’s environment poses a threat to its very existence.” )Fasokun 2000:24). Today, environmentalists believe that there exists too large a hole in the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. In Nigeria, deciduous and evergreen forest zones, for which the country is known, are becoming extinct due to reckless and uncontrolled forest exploitation and unguarded lumbering. Vast arable lands are over-used and chemicalized with artificial fertilizers. The handiworks of the man of our age on the environment favour the persistence of erosion that washes away the topsoil to the detriment of our agricultural output and economy. All these, including the pollution of air and water “constitute vital questions on the ecological agenda.” (Boff Elizondo 1995x).
The concern for the care of the environment has assumed a very high priority today in the international community. Besides, the importance of protecting the ecology has drawn the attention of scholars of religion and Christian Theology since 1960s, by 1961. Joseph Sittler, at a World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly in New Delhi, spoke of the increasingly visible degradation of nation around the world and invited the World Church to seek unity in the name of the cosmic Christ (Sanmire 1995:270). Elfan Rees, a respected member of the WCC Commission of the Churches in International Affairs, had demonstrated that the 1st UN International Conference on the Environment. Stockholm, 1972 roused Christian conscience from slumber to the realization of the terrible implications of the environmental problem (Elsdon 1992:13-14). Collective ecological consciousness of the Church has been expressed in a Seminar held at Vellore, India in 1983 on the theme: Christian Perspectives on Stewardship of the Earth’s Resources. Other Christian campaigns include those of the Inter-Church Consolation on Peace with Justice for the Whole creation which produced the 1989 Basel Declaration: the 1990 Seoul, Korea, World Convention on Justice, peace and Integrity of Creation: the 1991 WCC Conference at Canberra on the same theme and the Rio de Janerio Earth Summit, Brazil 1992 where the so-called “sustainable development” was first mooted). And on the political level, at the G-7 Summit held in June, 1997 at Denver in the United States, the world leaders showed serious environmental concern on the need to reduce green house gases in order to minimize global warning (Kamagaraj), 1998:291-292).

In the light of these concerns, it is sad to note that in Nigeria, man’s aggression against nature systematically goes on unchecked day after day. To my mind, the relationship between economy and ecology had grossly been misrepresented in our own context. The Military administrations of Nigeria have tended to let economic advantages (of course to only a few) be preferred to the rape of our rich and sacred environment. The Nigerian earth has been reduced to natural capital. In their reckoning, Nigeria’s environment had been perceived as an accumulation of resources for profit for the ruling elite. The recent agitation off the Egbesu boys has brought to our awareness the level of neglect and the impact of ecological degradation in the Niger Delta today. In the plants, animal life and the whole of creation, human beings inclusive, are pitilessly polluted, exploited and despoiled. Both land and waters, that is, rivers and the ocean, are taken as mere economic commodities. Is not time the “groaning of creation” which is being heard everywhere in the contemporary world became attentively listened to in Nigeria? According to the Yoruba cosmogonic myth narrated earlier in this paper, the earth is Olodumare’s creation. It is a common heritage which God had freely commissioned his creative agents to bring into existence and had the human family inserted in it. But the selfish economic interests of neo-colonialist entrepreneurs, with the support of local political powers and protagonists of the so-called technology transfer to the Third World, have combined forces to exploit the resources of Nigeria’s earth to such an extent that the Niger Delta and the Oil Producing states are daily confronted with serious ecological disaster and pollution.

An eco-theological evaluation of the conduct of the oil companies operating in Nigeria and the interests of their local cronies indicate that the use of creation in Nigeria is not so much guided by human need but by callous human greed. Insights from African religious thought on the environment and the place of the divine in the sacred place impel us to raise critical ecological questions and to argue that the consciousness to care for creation must be recognized as urgent theological concerns by the Nigerian theological community. Therefore, a critical re-reading of our traditional religious thought-forms against the backdrop of design in our universe draws our attention to the needs to hasten to rediscover the nexus between humanity and nature. As it stands on our various folktales and mythologies, creation is a gift of God to the whole human family that occupies this geographical expressions known as Nigeria. Philosophical reflections should alert us to the injustice indirectly that affects the promotion of a virile human society that Nigeria is seriously looking forward to developing in her current march towards National-Re-birth. Ecological aggression of our environment compels us to recognize the sinfulness of man who abdicates his responsibilities to render good stewardship of creation as he fractures “the dynamic equilibrium that exists in the overall ecosystem.”(Boff-Elizondod 1995:x). The attention of the man of the technology of petro-business must be drawn to his responsibility towards integral ecology, that is, the preservation of the dignitas terrae and the lessening of the deprivation of the poor of the Niger Delta and the rest of the oil0producing states.

The paper concludes, inter alia, that it is time the world came to recognize the relevance of the wisdom and values inherent in the cosmocentric African traditional thought for the good of global human civilization. This recognition is considered essential in this third millennium as it has become necessary to retrieve this sort of wisdom if mankind must avoid further deterioration and the increasing degradation of nature and it’s bounties. African traditional thought embodies traces of eco-theology that encourage our age to address unequivocally the imminent ecological crises (Lewis:309). For me, unless science is made to control the vagaries of high technological progress and the concomitant consumerism and put an end to humanity’s war against nature, modern western industrial civilization may collapse and humanity made to face extinction. The rejection of traditional world views as unscientific and primitive and the concomitant disdain of the structures if proffers for organizing human society and the natural world should no longer be seen as irrational. The technocratic industrial societies of the west pride themselves as being lords of nature than being partners with nature. If the West continues to be caught up in the boastful or the triumphalist attitude as the master of the natural world and to wallow in her current wave of anthropocentricity, as Bryant forecasts, “her future is not only at risk but negatively sealed” (Bryabt 1995:50). Truly, man has become estranged from nature. He has put himself up too much to the centre, dominating nature, disturbing the natural order thereby upsetting nature’s balance (Bishop:11). Any eco-theology that claims to be African initiated cannot shy away from the fact that nature is sacred and is not just an object for reckless exploitation (Metuh 1991:2-3). Destruction of nature is tantamount to rebellion against the maker. African ancestral lore and sages had taught posterity that nature was mankind’s natural home. Africans had been enjoined to live in harmony with nature. This means living in contact with the vital sources of divine life that enhance man’s totality and well-being (Collins 1988:156-159). For African Christian theologians, it is so because humanity is inextricably linked to the earth. Africans do not doubt that a great bond exists between mankind and his Maker. In sum, I wish to affirm that African perception of nature and creation promotes reverence and respect for the earth (Ala) and its eco-system because God reveals himself in what he has created. In Africa, both orders belong to one family. This insight is identical with the clarion-call raised by physical scientists (David 1983: 1992: Polkinghorne 1988: 1991: Montefiore 1985) so researchers to revive and to return to natural theology. For these thinkers, and I agree, natural theology makes modest claims. It proffers insight rather than demonstrations and proofs of the existence or non existence of God. Natural theology, the type African traditional religious thought embodies, contains a theology of revelation anchored in the laws of nature where God’s self-disclosure is unambiguously discernibe. While Western mind haggles at the question whether the universe is God’s creation, this paper makes hold to state that Africans believe that the universe contains some non-rational indications of its Creator. The hints otherwise described as “awareness of God” by some African scholars are however veiled and subtle (Imo 1997: 11-15). The hints are found in the supposition of a Mind and Purpose behind the universe. As Polkinghorne rightly assesses such phenomena in western conceptual frame of mind (Polkinghorne 1005:41), like him, my contention is that Africans mince no words in affirming that there exists the “One who is the ground of all that is”.


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