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Falade’s ‘The Origin of Man …”: Why is the narration of Yoruba’s sacred origin less superior/tenable to other creation claims despite its scientific credibility? – A.O. Ajetunmobi

I have taken a hard look at Professor Falade’s lecture, The Origin of Man and the Human Races, delivered during a Symposium held at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Nigeria, on April 4, 2014, following my earlier terse comment on it.  Although the lecture attractively illustrated the work of GERMAN-BORN Oskar Ernst Bernhardt in his book, In the Light of Truth, The Grail Message, bringing together Scriptural creation myth from evolutionary perspectives, the focus is certainly on spirituality, not science. This seems more problematic. Why?

 

Because, if the spiritual origin of human being, as claimed in the lecture, is preferable to scientific evidence provided by the fossil record, homologies, morphological and genetic data, and demographic analysis, then we must be prepared to accept the fact that a number of anthologies of creation myths had existed in every part of the world, including Nigeria and Germany, and people had grappled with their existence, contemplated their mortality and their origin based on those myths.

 

In Nigeria for example, in the beginning, according to Yoruba cosmogony, water was everywhere and Olurun, the Supreme Being, who lived in the sky with many orishas (smaller gods) sent Obatala (God’s aide) down to create some land from the chaos. He went down on a chain for seven days until finally he reached the end of the chain which dropped to a new land, which he called”Ife”, the place that divides the waters. Gathering gasses from the space beyond the sky, Olorun sparked the gasses into an explosion that he shaped into a fireball. He sent that fireball to Ife, where  it dried the lands that were  still wet and began to bake the clay figures that Obatala had made. The fireball even set the earth to spinning, as it still does today. Olorun then blew his breath across Ife, and Obatala’s figures slowly came to life as the first people of Ife. That, in brief, is a Yoruba narration of spiritual, not scientific, origin of human being on earth.

 

Yet a Yoruba proverb says, Ohun ti a nwa lo si Sokoto, o wa l’apo sokoto (What we are going to Sokoto (a city in northern Nigeria) to look/search for, is inside our Sokoto (pocket of our trousers). Meaning that we do not have to go helter-skelter in all directions for something that is readily available around us. Leaving science evidence aside, if spirituality, individual and institutional, has played a crucial role in human evolution, and remains a determining characteristic of our very being, what is the need for a Yoruba person to go in search of spiritual explanation of human origin elsewhere when s/he already has own cosmogony that spiritually expresses the same overall human place and role in time and space in the world and the cosmos and in other places. To put it another way, why should an ethnic group embrace a foreign narration to the detriment of its own sacred history?

 

Even so, in terms of how to find solutions to the problems facing us, Prof. Wande Abimbola, the former Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University has this to say, in response to a question put to him on the reason why he never bothered changing his faith from traditional belief system to Christianity as it was fashionable then even at over 80 yrs old now:

 

If you look around, even now, if you encounter anyone worshipping Ifa, Sango, Oya or any of those divinities, they don’t steal, they don’t tell lies and they don’t do any bad things. I prefer to move with such people because I think if there is a high God somewhere looking at us and He wants us to lead a moral life and a life of caring for our neighbours, they are perhaps the kind of people Olodumare will regard as good example. … One of the taboos of Ogun is that you must not tell an untruth. …. Sango does not like eke. . Also, Sango does not like thieves. … And I think if a nation as big as ours and an ethnic group as big as the Yoruba who are about 50 million cannot sustain its own belief and value system, there is something wrong. (Punch newspaper (Lagos), May 18, 2014)

 

As a rational, probability-calculating person, I’m more used to facts, inferences, natural laws, and appropriate well-tested hypotheses, than mythological statements, guesses, speculations, or opinions. But, on the question of comparative spiritual cosmogony, I cannot but make recourse to a Yoruba proverb which says, Bí Ògún ẹní bá dánilójú, à fi gbárí. (If one is sure of one’s Ògún’s divine/supernatural power, one taps one’s head with the representing object of worship). That is, if one is sure of one’s position, one can confidently swear by anything. In this respect, the narration of Yoruba sacred origin may be scientifically credulous, but in terms of its spiritual content, I will be happy to be convinced, albeit, by the APPLICATION OF REASON AND SCIENCE, why this narration is less superior or tenable than any other creation claims being made elsewhere, scripturally or otherwise.

 

MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014.  7:26 p.m. [GMT]

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2 Comments on “Falade’s ‘The Origin of Man …”: Why is the narration of Yoruba’s sacred origin less superior/tenable to other creation claims despite its scientific credibility? – A.O. Ajetunmobi”

  1. Adegoke G. Falade Says:

    I’m responding only for the sake of people who might be confused with the ‘intellectual’ and convoluted explanations and assertions proffered by prof. Ajetunmobi, my good friend!

    Science is only a minutest part of the Truth. No real conflicts between the Truth and well grounded science. For instance, the nature of gravity had been fully explained spiritually before Albert Einstein, through his Theory of Relativity, gave us a glimpse into what gravity is, which supersedes the great work of Isaac Newton.

    All gods and goddesses are servants of our One God. They are lower than us in their origins and must not be worshipped; notwithstanding the fact they are our helpers. Dogs, horses, cows etc. are lower animals that ‘help us’; must we worship them because of this?

    Animism as practiced by the Yorubas is not spirituality. Get this right!

    The account of creation as enunciated in Genesis and certified in the Grail Message is scientific, and accords very well with archeological, paleontological and genomic evidences available to us up to date. You only need to interpret the accounts in the Bible intuitively, and not intellectually.

    A. G. Falade
    23 February 2017, 5.01 am

    Like

    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Prof.,

      Thanks for adding this codicil to your essay of nearly three years ago that continues to draw readers through search engines.

      I’m sure it would enlighten readers more.

      Sincere regards,
      TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

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