THE IGBO IDEA OF SUPREME BEING CHUKWU BEFORE CHRISTIANITY
THE IGBO IDEA OF SUPREME BEING CHUKWU, BEFORE THE ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY
The Igbo’s strongly believe in existence of the common supreme being known to them as chukwu or chineke. For them, he is responsible fr everything that exists both physical and metaphysical, in this world and the next world. How ever the Igbo’s are of the belief that above all the deities, is a supreme High God who created the universe. From hence comes the idea of hierarchy of spirits, ranging from the descending order of the highest spirits to the lowest kind which human beings interact with. For Igbo’s, the supreme being is the originator of all that exists. Here, one can say or see that, to some extent the Igbo’s are Aristotelian in their belief system. This is because their belief that God is the originator and the one who sets in motion all that exists, proves God, on Aristotelian parlance as “uncaused cause” and “unmoved mover”.
The Igbo nation and their belief in the supreme Being substantiate and gives credence to the Thomistic stand on the cosmological argument on the existence of God which is rooted on the principle of causality. This proof of the first cause has it that there cannot be infinity of causes rather there must be a first cause, and this first cause is God who is himself uncaused. He is seen as the Actus purus i. e the pure act.
Some scholars, who have written on Igbo traditional religion, have argued that the Igbo’s have idea of the supreme God (chukwu) Is Prominent among them” j. oguejieofor” in his book the influence of Igbo Traditional Religion on the social political character of the Igbo, argued conclusively that the Igbo’s had no idea of the supreme being before the advent of the Christianity. From this argument one can deduce that it is the Christianity, the idea of god in the mind of Igbo’s. His arguments go thus: there is no alter and organized worship for the worship of the supreme Being, there is no function assigned to him in the Igbo pantheon and that his designation as a creator is disputable. Here he denied the existence if the supreme Being chukwu, among the Igbo’s, and thereby the existence of God. From the above, the idea is that God is foreign and his worship, the idea of supreme God was introduced in Igbo Religion only when Christianity came into Igbo land. The possible conclusion one can make from this is that Igbo’s started referring to Chukwu only from the advent of Christianity around nineteenth century. This implies that prior to the nineteenth century when catholicism entered Igbo land, the Igbo’s never referred to name Chukwu.
However prior to the advent of Christianity in Igbo land the Igbo’s had been answering certain names which suggests and portrays their knowledge of the supreme God and his favours to them. All this deals came after the white came to Nigeria in the 19’s and believe Me the Igbo’s are happy because of the transformation in there chi believe.