THE ROLE OF GOD, SPIRITS AND ANCESTORS
At the end of the lesson, you should be able to:
- Write a description of God from an African perspective
God is the creator.
The Akamba community believed that God whom they called Mulungu created man and woman.
He then tossed them to the earth. The Luhya claim God created them from the black topsoil hence their skin complexion.
God is the source of life and giver of life.
Barren women pray to God to ask for children. Human beings depend on God for life, rain, air, and sunshine.
God is the provider.
He gave domestic animals to human beings for their use.
Domestic animals have many uses such as repayment of dowry, food, and sacrifices to God, payment of a fine by an offender.
Many wild animals are used in folk songs and tales to discourage cowardice, and laziness God is a protector of human beings from evil.
God is the giver of moral laws and a judge of people
God offers solutions to man’s problems through mediums, and prophets
God gives power to the specialists such as medicine men, women and priests.
God punishes people for wrong doing
Wild animals such as hyena are used in folk stories to discourage cowardice. Stories of tortoise illustrate the importance of being slow but sure.
Snakes in some communities such as the Luhya were not killed.
The community believed snakes were immortal ancestors coming to visit the living.
Plants were used as food for people and animals.
Trees were used for fuel and building materials. Some trees were used as sacred places of worship.
Non-living things such as the rain, rocks, and rivers had a religious importance.
Rain is seen as a blessing from God. When rain fails, diviner/rain maker was consulted.
Rocks, and mountains were believed to be dwelling places for the living, the dead and the spirits.
The spirits were viewed as neither good nor evil.
Human beings feared them.
Their roles were many.
i Appeared in dreams especially to diviners, priests, medicine men and women, and rain makers to relay information.
ii Were consulted by religious specialists to find the cause of a problem in a given situation.
iii Were bad (naughty) spirits, which disturbed people. African communities believed that bad sprits could call out one’s name but on turning there’s no one. iv Were manipulated by some human beings to cause harm to others.
v Relayed God’s messages to human beings.
vi Sometimes possessed a person causing the person to be sent away from the village to the forest, or away from home.
vii Acted as intermediaries between humans,’ divinities and God.
Role of ancestors is to: –
1) Appear to families in dreams, and visions.
2) Give family instructions i.e. what should be done.
3) Rebuke those who fail to honor them and warn them of impending punishment.
4) Act as mediators between the living and God.
5) Enquire about family affairs as they considered as members of the family.
6) Request for sacrifice of an animal which is slaughtered for them
7) Cause illness or mental disturbance to members of a family if they are disregarded or disobeyed.
8) Preserve the culture of a community
9) Welcome those who die to the spirit world.