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The Yorubas are one of the ethnic groups of the people of South West of Nigeria. Yorubas are very rich in stories about religion and culture. Among these is the famous story of creation of earth by Oduduwa, and the creation of humans by Orishanla. The story narrates the meaning and existence of God and the universe. The almighty God is known in Yoruba language as Olodumare, Olorun, Obangiji, Eleduwa, Eleburuke, Babaluaiye and many other connotations given to his ...
The Yorubas are one of the ethnic groups of the people of South West of Nigeria. Yorubas are very rich in stories about religion and culture. Among these is the famous story of creation of earth by Oduduwa, and the creation of humans by Orishanla. The story narrates the meaning and existence of God and the universe. The almighty God is known in Yoruba language as Olodumare, Olorun, Obangiji, Eleduwa, Eleburuke, Babaluaiye and many other connotations given to his mightiness. Yorubas have a pantheon of deities who are incarnates of the almighty God. In Yoruba pantheon, God exists in the embodiments of deities who perform different divine functions. My Creation Story is based on one of the most inspiring stories that narrate the existence of Olodumare and the creation of earth from Ile-Ife. I have been deeply inspired to imagine on how and why the earth was created from this version of the story.
In the beginning Olodumare decided to create earth. He asked one of his deities, Orishanla, to perform this mission with a calabash filled with sand and a five toed chicken. On his way, Orishanla decided to take a rest and he fell asleep. Before he woke up, Oduduwa, who is also a deity in heaven took the calabash and the five toed chicken from him and headed forward to create earth as Olodumare had directed. Later, Orishanla woke up and found out that Oduduwa had performed the mission, which Olodumare assigned to him. He went straight to earth and challenged Oduduwa. Not long, Olodumare appeared to both of them and settled the argument. He compensated Orishanla by assigning him the work of creating humankind.
Over time, people have read different versions of this story as just an entertainment or a joke. But l reasoned that this version and many others are not just told to entertain us but to imply a meaningful idea to us. Heaven does not always give messages to us in its face value. Lots of folklores have beyond their literary meaning. Only when they are explored with insight can we know their actual message. I have expanded this version of the most popular Yoruba folklore to give my opinion on how and why God created earth and mankind.
Creation Story of the Yorubas
The pantheon in heaven before the creation of earth
Heaven is the beginning of all that exists, and life is only in the person of Olodumare and his deities who reside in heaven above. Earth is an image of Olodumare, God that Yorubas uphold. Olodumare, also known as Olorun, Babaluaiye, Oyigiyigi, Obangiji, the most high God, the creator of all things decided to create the earth beginning from Ile-Ife, which means extending. This extension of land is from the formless seas that formerly occupy the earth. This creation of earth is to include man and nature and it is to be established through his deities who dwell with him in the excellence of heaven. Thus the most high God decides to manifest his creation through his divine powers personified in the spirits of his deities. Olodumare is the wholeness of all divine powers who are to inspire mankind in a relationship him. These deities are also to mediate between man and the forces of nature for a world of harmony. Thus Olodumare proceeds to extend his presence from heavens beyond heavens and kindle his light through his deities. In this proceeding, he decided to convene the presence of his deities. These are the first set of deities to descent on earth: Orishanala, Oduduwa, Ogun, Orunmila, Olokun, and Esu Elegbara. They all acquiesce to his orderliness and will.
Olodumare, the most high God speaks to his deities
"Deities of heaven's glory as it holds the existence of all. You have been empowered to divine upon all that exists in heaven but are yet to move beyond. In my person, heaven is fulfilled with creations arrayed with glory and wisdom that will also fulfill the existence of an earth with a new creature, called man in a new place called earth. Man is to be created with knowledge of all things that is to
Posted January 7, 2009
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