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twi.bb - Online Twi Dictionary - The Twi Language

LIBATION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND AKAN LIFE AND THOUGHT: A CRITIQUE

by K. K. AMOS ANTI

                           CHAPTER ONE

THE AKAN AND THEIR WORLDVIEW

Libation is the theme of this essay.  However, before delving into this subject-matter, it is necessary to locate the context within which it is practised. 

The Akan inhabit the southern half of Ghana (excluding the south-eastern corner) stretching from the North Atlantic seaboard northwest to the dense rain forest region which generally gives way to the scrubland of Northern Ghana.  They are composed of several sub-groups of which the Ashanti and Fanti dominate numerically. 

The groups possess common political, social, economic and cultural features, for instance, they have a common language, a web of clanship with a matrilineal descent system (except the Akwapim of Larteh and Mampong who are patrilineal).  They are basically agricultural communities with farming and fishing as the main traditional occupations.

Religion is at the root of Akan culture and forms the basis of their life and thought.  It follows the individual from the womb to the tomb, and puts human beings in touch with the unseen powers.  Pobee was right when he singled out "religious ontology" as the most striking feature of the Akan worldview.

(1)  Religion is all pervasive and atheism is unknown.  Besides the physical universe which is obvious to the naked eye, there is an immaterial world hidden from ordinary eyes.  This world is not regarded as beyond time and space: it is behind this physical world; and therefore one of the two faces of the same coin. This makes it possible for the Akan to postulate a world above, a world around and a world below.  However, the world of human beings and the world of spirits are interconnected.

(2)  "The world of natural phenomena may be viewed by the African as part of spiritual reality, but there is no question of one world being real and the other not".

(3)  The universe within which human beings are located is said to be full of spirits, some good and others bad.  These spirits interact and influence human life for better or for worse.  Hence people live in deep relationship with one another and in a relationship of mutual obligation with nature.  the past is always present, affecting everything that happens.

(4)  The key to the understanding of the Akan worldview lies in their concept of God.  

God  The commonly used names of God among the Akan are Onyame (Nyame) and Onyankopon (Nyankopon).  These God-names are used interchangeably and in practically identical senses.  Very often it is used of heaven or sky, probably so called from its splendour or brightness.  Whenever people talk about God they almost always gesticulate towards the sky with the hand or the head.  We must, however, dispel any thought of the identification of God with the sky or any celestical phenomenon, for the Akan never regard the sky as God.  They only think of him as being on high.  The canopy of the sky points to His omnipresence and His transcendence.

(5) Onyame is the bright glorious God of the heavens, independent, personal and in no way to be identified with the firmament or the celestial bodies.  He is not localized for He is believed to be invisible and omnipresent.  This belief is said to underlie the proverb, "If you want to say anything to God say it to the wind".  This proverb implies that Onyame is everywhere, and that wherever one calls on the name of Onyame, He will hear.  Secondly, the proverb indicates that just as the wind is invisible yet its effects are seen, so Onyame is invisible, yet the results of what He does are seen and experienced everywhere.

God ceases to be God when He remains a mere conception and to the Akan Onyame is the Supreme Being because of what He does.  They have several 'praise-names' which attribute something to Him, and these, one might say, are theologically loaded.  They speak about the activities and show Him as an active Being who manifests himself through what He does.  What sets Onyame apart from all others is the fact that He is looked upon as the creator.  In His creative aspect, He is known as Odomankoma, Borebore, and Boade. 

The honorific Odomankoma means God is the author, owner and donor of an inexhaustible abundance of things.  And as the creator of all things, He gives audience to all.  He is the One from whom things derive their architectural origin and shape.  As such He is Borebore (Excavator, Hewer, Carver, Architect).  This attribute suggests creation by imaginative construction or thought.

There is not doubt in the mind of the Akan that all men are created by God as this maxim shows:  "All men are the offspring of God, no one is the offspring of Earth".  This proverb stresses the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.

In Akan religious thought the fundamental relationship between God and man is essentially that of grandparent - child relationship.  For this reason God has the titles, Nana (the Greater ancestor) and Panyin (Elder) reflecting the concept of the family which is the basis of African society.  He has also a distinctive personal name of Kwame, the name given to every male child born on a Saturday.  This does not mean that Onyankopon was born on Saturday, for one of His titles suggests that there was not a time when he was not.  He is thus called Tete Kwaframua, that is "He who is there now as from ancient times".  He therefore endures forever.

The absolute dependence of man on God is further emphasised by the fact that it is He who gives the animating principle, the life soul, called Kra to man, together with man's destiny which the Akan call Nkrabea. (6)  The giving of the Kra and Nkrabea by God is an acknowledgement of the limitation of human power as well as an affirmation of divine providence.  In theory one's destiny remains unalterable, but in the actual worship experience of the Akan this does not seem to be so; for evil forces such as witchcraft and other demonic powers can cause damage to one's destiny and frustrate an otherwise prosperous and happy destiny.

Furthermore, one may consult a divinity to have a good destiny maintained or prolonged, or a bad and unhappy destiny corrected. However, a person's destiny can be affected for the worse by his character.  A good destiny unsupported by character is worthless.  The individual is therefore expected to co-operate to make his destiny successful by acquiring and practising good character.  We should note that it is only the inexplicable habitual traits of a person, either towards good or evil, which are explained through appeal to destiny.

Furthermore, the concept of Kra and Nkrabea, tend to relate man to God and emphasize the spiritual nature of man.  It removes man from the purely biological life of animals and puts him in moral relationship with God.  The Kra (soul) is said to be the small bit of the creator that lives in every person's body, and returns to Him after death.  It is supposed to act as the spiritual force of man's conscience and influence all his actions.  Luck is also attribute to it.  It is thus an object of worship and the part of man which is immortal.

But if God is relevant to the Akan, it is because He gives health and healing, the most important values in African Traditional Religion connected as they are with the fundamental theme of life.  Healing or restoration of life is second only to the giving of life, and he who heals or restores life is regarded highly in African Society which is vitalistic or life-affirming.  Among Africans, a healer is one who not only cures physical infirmities but also spiritual and psychological problems.  He, as it were, becomes a guardian and a protector who guards and protects the people from the insiduous snares of the evil one.  In the final analysis, a healer is one who makes them whole and complete in all the dimensions of life.

God, in African life and thought, is considered as the great healer who brings happiness to miserable families.  It is He who blesses the Union of man and woman with children.  And in appreciation of his wonderful gift, parents give their children born under stress situations, personal "God" names indicating how grateful they are to Him.  For instance, names like Adom (Grace), Nyameama or Nyamekye (Gift or God), Nyame Bekyere (It is not impossible to God) are life long testimonies that God is still active in His creation and cares for the total well-being of man.

The healing aspect of God is better revealed through His kindness, mercy, pity and faithfulness to mankind.  In various ways He provides for the things He has made, so that their existence can be maintained and continued.  Thus the Akan acknowledge the providence of God by calling Him Ama owia (Giver of Sunshine) and Amasuo (Giver of rain); two elements which sustain fertility and growth of vegetation for man and animals.

There is an Akan maxim which suggests that even the lowest of our domestic animals are conscious of the utilitarian providence of God, "When the fowl drinks water, it shows it to God".  God's providence and sustenance are an expression of His goodness and ultimately His love; and as Giver of Rain and Sunshine, God demonstrates His care for the life of living things, particularly human beings.  Commenting on the utilitarian nature of God, Danquah says: "Onyame is, is this sense, pre-eminently the useful God, a God suited to the pragmatists because He works, He gives life a hum and a song.  In the most material and matter of fact sense He opens up for man an appetite for life, makes life worth living for him".

(7)  God's kindness or mercy is felt in situations of danger, difficulty, illness and anxiety, when deliverance and protection are attributed to Him, or he is called upon to help.  Thus to the Akan, Nyame is the one in whom you confide the troubles which come upon you (i.e. Nya amenekose); a consoler or comforter who gives salvation (Abommubuwafre).  He is the deliverer of those in trouble and intervenes in human affairs to save men by averting calamities. Petition for healing is probably the most common theme of African prayers,

(8) and most often they are sent to God directly or through the lesser gods and the ancestors who act as intermediaries between man and the Supreme Being.  This is in accordance with Akan social etiquette which stipulates that before one sees the King or chief one should do so through an intermediary or linguist.  And God is regarded as King among the Akan.  Indeed, He is considered as the only King as in the saying "Nyame ne hene" (God is King).

Thus, in their prayers, the Akan look upon God as the great healer, for He is the giver of life and the one who saves and protects them.  After escaping from danger or misfortune, the Akan exclaim, "If God had not been there, I would have perished".  God's goodness is the most outstanding aspect of His nature.  And His goodness is experienced in what He does to people, like providing rain and children, healing the sick and rescuing from danger.  In this respect He is known as Daasebre, "He who is beyond thanks".  This title is given to Kings, and refers to a benefactor so liberal that he makes one grow weary of returning thanks.

An Akan proverb sees God as the very hope of the hopeless.  Thus when an Akan finds himself in a helpless situation he confidently asserts that "It is God who pounds fufu

(9) for the one-armed person".  God even takes care of the animal without a tail by driving away the flies for it.  Great emphasis is put on the invisible nature and the omnipotence of God.  He is spirit and like the wind, He cannot be seen, though His activities which show Him as a healer may be experienced by all. Since God is the creator (Oboade) and the continuous originator of life (Atoapoma), in public sacrifices, even when they are offered to the divinities and the ancestors, He is usually invoked before everyone else is invoked.  As healer par excellence, He is referred to as Oteanankaduro, i.e.  He who knows the antidote for the poisonous serpent. 

Thus, God is directly appealed to for an effective cure of a patient.  The Akan say:  "If God gives you sickness, He also gives you cure".  Medicine men appeal to Him for support in curing patients.  Sometimes, God may delegate some divinities to heal.  However, in all difficult cases the Akan say it is God who heals.  In Akan life and thought, anything which diminishes life e.g. sickness, disease, loss of property or death, is considered to be destructive; and anyone who causes this is a destroyer.  The Akan say: "If God does not kill you and man kills you, you will not die".  Death, the greatest form of destruction, is therefore said to originate from God.  An Akan myth recounts how a happy state of man in the primeval time was brought to an end when God was driven away by women who were embarrassed by His presence.  God then withdrew from the world and left its government to the spirits.  Afterwards, God sent a goat from heaven to the seven humans on earth with the following message:

  "There is something that is called death. One day, this will kill some of you.  However, even if you die, you will not be completely lost.  You will come after me to the heavens".

On the way, the goat lingered at a bush in order to eat, and when God discovered this he sent a sheep with the same message.  But the sheep changed the message to the effect that men should die, and that as far as they were concerned this would be the end of all things.  When the goat then arrived with her true message, men would not believe it.  They had already accepted the message delivered by the sheep.  Shortly afterwards, the first case of death took place, and God taught men to bury their dead.  He also told them that as a foil to death they should be given the capacity to multiply.

(10)  Several religious ideas emerge from this myth.  Firstly that death is a fundamental modality of living, concrete existence.  In every act of existence death is present from the beginning.  Secondly, that originally, man was intended to live forever, for God was with him.  That death came as a result of God's separation from man which was caused by men's disrespect.  Thirdly, that though death may come, procreation must continue for man's capacity to multiply comes from God.  Fourthly, that death is not an end.  It does not mean annihilation, for man once more joins God in heaven where He is.

God punishes notorious wrongdoers.  To this end, people pray that God would intervene and execute judgement.  The people believe that a good man comes back after death to live in the children who are given his name, whereas a bad man dies completely with his name since nobody wants to give a bad name to his children.

The Akan believe that all evil doers, no matter how secretly they commit their sins, are seen by God and never go unpunished.  The most obvious way in which God exercises such judgement is by lightning.  Hence in curses, Onyame is invoked to send lightning on an evil doer.  The canopy of the sky manifests His all-seeing eye, and the Akan say "If you run away from God, you still live under His influence".

 'Sin' (Bone) convey a sense that the sinner has personally offended a neighbour, the deity or an ancestor.  That which is considered right is bound up with goodness and that which is wrong is also bound up with what is considered evil in the society.  The people contend that the consequences of a thing which is right is joy and happiness and wrong action brings suffering and evil on the person and society.  Both joy or happiness and suffering or evil come in the form of reward and punishment brought about by the deity whose honour is enhanced in right action and who is disgraced and His will trampled upon in wrong action.  These rewards and punishments on grounds of morality had been directed by God and made known through the divinities and ancestors, for the purpose of keeping recalcitrant humanity perpetually in check.

(11)  Conscience is denoted as witness to the moral life of the individual.  The man who tells a lie or steals or commits an evil deed secretly is reminded that his conscience is witnessing against him.  That which is perceived to be part of God in man and influences all his actions is the Kra which comes directly from God and relates man to the Supreme Being.  Man is therefore in direct relationship with God and this relationship affects man's behaviour for in sinning against a neighbour one is aware that even if he is not caught, God is there and He will punish the wrong doer for his evil deed.

The Divinities. Despite the unique position occupied by God the Akan nonetheless recognise the divinities as "precious beings", who play major functional roles in God's theocratic government of the universe.

(12)  They are usually associated with natural phenomena like the sea, lagoons, mountains, rivers, rocks and the Earth, thought to be their customary places of residence.  There are other categories of spirits such as the tutelary gods, or clan gods who led the various Akan groups from their original home to their present settlement.  The next category of gods are those purchased or brought from neighbouring groups for the purposes for war or protection.

There seems to be a general day-to-day veneration of rivers by the Akan.  Many streams have one day in the week when no one draws water from it.  This day is sacred to the presiding spirit of the river.  Menstruating women may not enter streams but must hand their water-pots to others for filling.  The general attitude of the people is that the streams are sacred: "It is significant to note", says Rattray, "that the dominant power in the shrines of the gods is nearly always derived from some object taken from water, and that certain waters themselves are looked upon as holy".

(13) Among the Akan, the geneological trees of the most famous river gods show them as 'sons' of the Supreme Being. A group of deities which are also connected with water are what the Fantis call Egyabosom (father's deity) and the Ashantis Ntoro.

(14)  Every Akan is supposed to inherit this deity from his father who receives it from his water deity. There is thus the idea of a father's sacred protective presence, derived from the deity to whom he belongs and whom he worships.  The divinities in general do not have physical bodies, their personalities, namely their values, attitudes and thoughts, are likened to those of human beings.  Thus, they command the love, attention and respect of their adherents.  They also supervise the workings of the natural order, and are therefore worshipped with the specific aim of soliciting their help for well-being.  Their duty is to look after the welfare of human beings, giving them good harvest, children and attending to other needs.  They also provide moral sanctions for society by rewarding or punishing where necessary.  The cult of the divinities is essentially aimed at achieving harmony between human beings and the cosmic order.

One great phenomena in the modern Akan religious scene is the emergence of new cults which have sprung up in response to a growing sense of insecurity.  They are commonly referred to as Abosom-brafo (Executioner-gods)

(15) or Odomankoma-Brafo, (the Executors of God's justice).  Their major preoccupation is to hunt down evil-doers and help those who are in the grip of evil forces, especially witches, supposed to be the greatest enemies of society.  The gods are regarded as the servants and messengers of God and execute his justice. They are thus the guardians of morality, and in discharging their delegated functions as upholders of the moral order they may be either beneficent or malevolent and may be responsible for catastrophic events. Mother Earth. Like the Supreme Being, the Earth is said to have a personality of her own. She is called Asase Yaa among the Ashanti and Asase Efua among the Fanti, Yaa and Efua being day-names given to children born on Thursdays and Fridays respectively. 

Judging from the order in which the spirit powers are invoked in prayers and sacrifices one is tempted to conclude that the Earth is the next important spirit power after God, for as the Akan proverb goes, it is the head which comes first that is the elder.  We note that in most Akan prayers Asase Yaa is mentioned next to Onyankopon.  Asase Yaa is personalized in the sense that like a mother, human beings depend on her for their sustenance.  It is she who provides food and a home for man, and when death comes she makes available a resting place for man.  Thus for practical purposes man depends on her providence and sustenance for his living. 

Her importance is such that even in some prayers she is the one mentioned first whereas the name of God may be conspicuously absent.  One of her titles is Amponyinamoa (that is 'ampo nyinaa mmoa'), she who does not reject, scorn, repudiate or refuse help to all who seek it.  Even corpses which are taboo to most spirits are not taboo to her.  This point is brought home to us in the Akan maxim which states that ". . . the earth does not hate a corpse" (Asase nkyiri funu).  An exception to this rule are corposes of people who die violent deaths especially those who die in childbirth.  Before she accepts such bodies an autopsy must be carried out and the foetus removed from the womb of the dead mother.  In such a cases purificatory sacrifices must be offered.  The all embracing nature of Asase Yaa is also illustrated by the saying Asa bone nkum asase (The earth is not killed by bad dancing). 

Furthermore, her all embracing influence is held to neutralize the effect of every disease.  Thus when people apply medicine to the sick they touch the ground as they recite the word:  Asase gye yare (Earth receive sickness).  This is aimed at transferring the sickness to the earth and also immunizing the one who applied the medicine.  Another praise-name of mother earth is Asase boa de nsie (The earth creature which owns the world). On her sacred day (which is Thursday in Ashanti and Friday among the Fantis) no one is to go to the farm.  A violation of this injunction is believed to be likely to lead to fatal consequences.  The individual may get lost in the woods or will be picked up by one of the dwarfs who inhabit groves.  Those who cultivated Asase Yaa on her sacred day and thus disturbed her rest were formerly punished by death.

The Ancestors.  The most important aspect of Akan religion is the cult of the ancestors.  They, like The Supreme Being, are always held in deep reverence or even worshipped. The ancestors are the dead forbears of the family.  However, death does not necessarily confer ancestorship on a person.  Rather, to qualify to be an ancestor, one must have lived to a ripe old age and in an exemplary manner, and done much to enhance the standing and prestige of the family, clan or tribe. Ancestorhood among the Akan is therefore premissed on the assumption that those who held authority in life exercise the same authority after death. In other words, ". . . a person has the same social status in death as in life; a chief is a chief, a priest is a priest, and a commoner is a commoner".

(16)  The ancestors, therefore, as dead fathers of the group have a parental authority over their living descendants.  The ancestors founded society; thus they still take lively and active interest in the affairs of the living like providing them with children, giving good harvest and good health.  They also provide the sanctions for the moral life of the group by laying down customs and taboos to govern the behaviour of the group and to maintain its stability.  Anyone who breaks a taboo offends the ancestors,and threatens the stability of the group.  In such a case, the ancestors may intervene to punish offenders in order to maintain the status quo.  The Akan therefore regard their ancestors as spiritual beings with the power to punish, exonerate or reward the living as the case may be.  The ancestral cult provides a strong sanction in the ethnics of the Akan.

Furthermore, since it is believed that the ancestors are spiritual beings with the power to bring good fortune to the living, or if dissatisfied, to show their displeasure by causing ill fortune, sickness etc., prayers and sacrifices are most often offered to them to solicit their blessings and avert their curses.  Finally, there is also the belief in the omnipresence of the ancestral spirits, and this is made evident by daily acts (such as the pouring of libation, and throwing on the ground the first morsel of food) as well as by periodic ceremonies (like festivals which are held mainly in their honour). In addition, the ancestral shades may manifest themselves to the living in human form, or in dreams, or by possession, and their spiritual presence may be invoked to assist the living.  The Akan appeal to the ancestors to intercede with divine beings or to act in their own right on behalf of their living descendants. Hence, the living depend on the ancestors for their well-being, and the dead are inextricably involved in Akan life and thought.  There is therefore a dependence of the living on the ancestors whose authority is nevertheless derived from God. 

Charms  The Akan also believe in a host of spirits that manifest themselves in different ways and work in different capacities.  Each manifestation of a spirit is identified by the sort of function it is manipulated to achieve.  Such spirit include those inherent in charms (medicine), witchcraft and sorcery.  The charm by definition is something that can work but not be seen. 

It is a spiritual force with a more or less fixed abode in some object, which will act for anyone as long as he observes the right procedure.  It can be manipulated for different functions:  fishing, hunting, trading, healing and war.  A charm can be good or bad depending on how it is used.  If it is used for the promotion of the well-being of the individual, it is regarded as a good charm. 

For example, one can use the charm for curing diseases, or helping people prosper in work.  However, when used for destroying people, it is said to be a bad charm.  Thus, the amulets, charms and talismans are collectively referred to as aduro (medicine).  The power of some charms is derived from the magical formulae used in their composition, while others obtain their potency from some gods.

Witchcraft. There is also the belief in witchcraft.  The word commonly used for a witch is ayen.  The word ayen occasionally has a harmless significance.  Many people who are abnormally clever, successful, or charming are believed to be so, not of themselves, but by some beneficent medicine not made with hands, and the word ayen is used of them. Witchcraft is an example of how spirit can be used for destructive purposes. 

Witchcraft can be acquired in various ways:  The worst comes by birth; some are left as a legacy by a dying relative; others are bought.  Witchcraft is usually bad medicine directed destructively against others.  "Its distinctive feature is that there is no palpable apparatus connected with it, no rites, ceremonies, incantations, or invocations that the witch has to perform".

(17)  It is simple projected at will from the mind of the witch.  The motive activating witches is felt to be other than ordinary resentment, hatred or jealousy. Witchcraft is simple not a case of simple wickedness employing super-natural tools.  The motive of the witch is felt to belong to a monstrous sinister order of things that transcends comprehensible goodness and badness. Witches can cause all kinds of calamities to happen to man: barrenness, drunkenness, madness and even death.  It is generally believed that witches work in company usually at night to cause havoc to people and to their property. The Human Person.  Finally, we come to the human person, aspects of which we have touched on in our discussion of the place of God in Akan life and thought.  The human person is at the centre of existence and everything else is seen in its relation to this central position of man.

(18)  Creation according to an Akan myth was for the sake of man, who is himself, a creature of God.  The Akans believe that man has certain material and spiritual elements.  During the sexual act, an element called ntro or Sunsum (spirit) from the father mingles with the blood (mogya) of the mother and this gives rise in the first instance to conception.  It is these two elements which relate the individual to society.  For instance, the blood group (abusua) is traced matrilineally and forms the basis of the individual's security and status, his title to office and right to family property, as well as obligations as a citizen.

The spirit (ntro) inherited from the father relates the individual to a second kinship group and determines his character and individuality.  Respect for the father is therefore a moral and spiritual obligations; for the child's individual gifts, capacities and personal qualities derive from his membership of an ntoro group, usually traced to one of the divinities.  Thus, by birth each person belongs to a family which nurtures him and gives him the necessary protection and security. 

The third element in the composition of the human person is the kra or life soul which comes from the Supreme Being together with one's destiny.  Much has already been said on this.  We only need to point out that the human person is a being in relation, and exists in so far as he is related to his environment which is both physical and spiritual. 

Pobee has rightly said: "Akan man's ontology is cognatus ergo sum - I am related by blood, therefore I exist or I exist because I belong to a family . . . grandparents, blood relatives, in-laws, constituting a dynamic unity, or togetherness, with parents and children, according to prevalent mores.  It ensures the rearing of children, physical security and comfort, economic co-operation and social living".

(19)  There is also another element of man which needs mentioning, and this is the sense of man's finitude.  His finitude is highlighted by his sense of vulnerability to the spirit-beings, particularly the witches and his obsessive fear of death.  His finitude is demonstrated by his proneness to evil, which is largely defined as anti-social.  It is as if a person cannot be human without being frail. 

And it is precisely because of his sense of fraility and finitude that he always invokes the spirit-world to compensate for his own finitude.  This concept of man shows that the human nature is constituted in a way that makes it possible for it to receive external influences other than those coming to it from its own physical milieu.

In summary, the Akan believe in the existence of a physical as well as a spiritual world. There exists in this spirit world a hierarchy of spirit powers, similar to that in the community.  The home of spirits is on the other side of our physical world.  However, a close connection of these two worlds is vital for man's total development and maturity.  Libation, which is considered as one of the most powerful witnesses to the inter-connection and inter-communion of the two worlds it therefore highly desirable and much expected.

In the next chapter, we examine the place of Libation in the Old Testament. The objective here is to point out the fact that Libation is not peculiar to Ghanaian culture and that it has been part and parcel of the Judaeo-Christian Spirituality.  The Old Testament world, which is similar to the Akan world though different in many respects, had a central place for libation in its cultic activities.  What is the Old Testament's  pronouncement on Libation? 

Chapter Two attempts to answer this question.

CHAPTER  ONE REFERENCES:

1. J. S. Pobee, Toward an African Theology, p. 44.

2. Archbishop E. Milingo describes the world of the spirit as The World in Between.

3. K. A. Dickson, Theology in Africa, p. 51.

4. J. B. Taylor (ed.), Primal Worldviews, p. 125.

5. Cf. Bede Griffiths, The Cosmic Revelation, pp. 32-34.  

'Primitive' man could come to an almost total understanding of God simply by looking at the sky, which was a revelation to him. 

The sky was not merely a physical phenomenon which we see;  to him the sky had a psychlological and spiritual meaning.  It revealed the creator present in his creation.  First of all the sky is something vast.  It is infinitely above us - we are very small here on earth, while surrounded by the great vastness.

God has this vastness, this immensity, and it was reveal to early man through the sky.

6. For detailed discussion see: K. A. Opoku, "The Destiny of man in Akan

Traditional Religious Thought", The Conch, Max Assimeng (ed.). vol. vii nos. 1 & 2, 1975.  Also M. Fortes, Oedipus and Job in West African Religion.

7. J. B. Danquah, The Akan Doctrine of God, K. A. Dickson (ed.), p. 55.

8. K. K. A. Anti, The Relationship between the Supreme Being and the Lesser Gods of  the Akan.  Also J. S. Mbiti, Prayers of African Religion, Chapter 3, and Aylward  Shorter, Prayer in the Religious Tradition of Africa, Chapter 4.

9. 'fufu' - a traditional meal which demands pounding and turning at the same time.

10. Hans Abrahamson, The origin of Death, p. 5.

11. I. K. A. Thompson, Aspects of Ethical Thought Among the Bremang, Agonas and Gomoas, pp. 23-24.

12. K. K. A. Anti, op.  cit., Chapter 5.

13. R. S. Rattray, Ashanti, p. 143.

14. K. K. A. Anti, op.  cit., pp. 52-59.

15. ibid. , pp. 68-85.

16. M. Kilson, Kpele Lala. Ga Religious Songs and Symbols, p. 62.

17. M. Field, Religion and Medicine of the Ga People, p. 135.

18. J. S. Mbiti States: 

"Man in some ways considers himself to be the centre of the universe, and this egocentrism makes him interpret that universe both anthropocentrically and anthropomorphysically

. . . African ontology is firmly anthropocentric, and this makes man look at God and nature from the point of his relationship with them. 

We find therefore many expressions which attribute human nature to God". 

African Religions and Philosophy, p. 48. c.f.  pp. 4-5.  

See also K. A. Lystad, The Ashanti:  A Proud People, p. 164.

19 Pobee,  op.  cit.,  p.  49.   

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Last modified: 12/29/16