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African peoples define God above all creation, as the most Supreme in the Spiritual realm, but in order to express certain concepts, they employ languages and images about God as an aid to their notion of him whom they have not seen and about whom they confess to know little or nothing. Africans perceive God as an all-pervading reality. To them, he is a constant shareholder in the affairs of human beings. Academics who study religion in Africa tell us that all African communities have a belief in God. This essay aims at an in-depth study of these beliefs.
God is the Supreme entity to the adherents of the traditional religions of Africa and is considered to be the origin of everything in this universe. In Africa, God is viewed in both immanent and transcendent dimensions. This very idea of Oneness of the Supreme Being is core to the followers and this belief creates no place for the atheists in their traditional concept of God.
There is no sacred text in written
form, but the root of this traditional idea of God is mainly taken from proverbs, short statements, stories, religious rituals, prayers, songs, myths, etc. The knowledge of God is a gift given at the time of birth to a newborn baby. According to an Ashanti proverb, ‘No one shows a child the Supreme Being’. Knowing about God is believed to be an instinctive knowledge to the religious adherents.
God is characterized by many prime attributes including concrete knowledge. According to John S. Mbiti, “It is tough for a person to be detached from his/her religion, for to do so is to be served from his roots, foundation, his context of security, his kinship and the entire group of those who make him aware of his own existence”2 . There are several examples of this thought. Human beings are limited in all aspect, but God is designated to be great, supreme, omnipotent (Almighty), omniscient (All-Knowing), Sustainer, Transcendent and Immanent, Self-Existent and Pre-Eminent, etc. No entity or being is comparable to God.