Soteriology: A Comparative Study of Yoruba Ifa Mythology and Christianity (Series no. 12)

Summary of the Comparative Study:

 The True realities of Salvation of Mankind are as follows

  1. There is only one God; this one God is worthy to be praised and worshipped.
  2. Salvation of humankind comes only through Jesus Christ that He sent to humankind.
  3. God’s Salvation is by His Grace and not by any good deeds or works of humankind.
  4. This Supreme Being (God) will not share His Glory with any deities.
  5. The existence of Deities is a Reality; these Deities are fallen angels under the leadership of Lucifer (1 Cor. 10: 19-20; 1 Cor 8: 4-6; Lev 17:7; Deut 32; 16-18. True angels of God do not accept worship from man: – Judges 13: 12-21; Rev. 22: 8-10 & Rev. 19: 9-10 say, “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.’ At this, I fell at his feet to worship him, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.”
  6. Some ministering Spirits are sent on an errand by God and cannot offer or give Salvation to humankind, nor do they take worship from man.
  7. God’s great love for man made Him send Jesus Christ to die for our sins, and only those who believe in Jesus Christ are offered the Assurance of Salvation that leads to eternal life.
  8. The only way to God as revealed by God is through His Son, Jesus Christ; John 3: 16 says For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
  9. All authority to judge humankind is vested in Jesus Christ.
  10. Ifa is a divination system to foretell circumstances; past, present, and future but never a way of Salvation but a way to manipulate situations and use the powers of the Orisas’ to live a supposed ‘successful’ life on earth.
  11. The secret things belong to God who has the singular honor and right to reveal to whom He pleases – (Deut. 29:29).
  12. The only direct ‘way’ to God Almighty is through Jesus Christ; He is the way, the truth, and the life.
  13. This knowledge though simple, can only be revealed to man through the inspiration and intuition of the Holy Spirit; evangelism is only the harbinger of the good news but not the converter.
  14. Demons are spirit beings without bodies; therefore, they seek to dwell in humans or animals, so most Orisas are avenues for manifestations of demons and demonic power. 

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Yoruba theology emphasizes the unique status of Olodumare. He is supreme over all on earth and in Heaven, acknowledged by all as the head to whom all authority belongs, and all allegiance is due. His status of supremacy is absolute. In worship, the Yoruba holds God as the ultimate pre-eminence. To be saved in the Judeo-Christian sense presupposes the lost condition in which Salvation or deliverance is needed.

In A.T.R.’s concept of Salvation, what one is saved from determines the nature of the Salvation. My recommendations after the research are:

  1. That Exegesis of the original Greek manuscripts of Jesus’ direct sayings and teachings, especially on Individual Salvation in the Gospels, should be done for greater knowledge on the topic.
  2. That Knowledge of A.T.R., especially Yoruba Ifa Mythology, should be compulsory for Student theologians.
  3. A thorough overhaul of the training in Seminaries and Religious Departments in Universities.
  4. Spiritual Formation to be an essential and integral part of studies for any student of Christian Theology or Biblical Studies.
  5. Future research on Theological-Hermeneutical framework for a Biblical and Contextual Ecclesiology in Africa.
  6. Effective Ecclesiology; God is not a private possession of an individual or group of people, and he is no one’s commodity.
  7. An in-depth study of Ifa/Orunmila with a comparative study of Jesus Christ. wiring, Wireless App or Timer Control

An in-depth study of the beliefs and practices of the African people is necessary. This study will lead to the theological observation of African traditional religion vis-à-vis Salvation and Wholeness Theory. Africans believe that life is a complex web of relationships that may either enhance and preserve life or diminish and destroy it. The goal of religion is to maintain those relationships that protect and preserve life. The threat to life, both physical and spiritual, is the premise of the quest for Salvation. The threat is so near and actual because, for the Africans, life is a continuum of power points transformed into being, and life is constantly under threat from evil forces.

Ifa Mythology is real. Belief in witchcraft is also fundamental, so there is a need for further studies on these Beliefs. Ifa as a subject is presently studied in the Universities, so it is necessary to research its efficacy or otherwise. God does not want anybody to perish; the vision is to transform people to make them righteous and have eternal life. The belief in the relics of Orunmila in Ifa Mythology as Son of God who sacrificed himself for the world needs to be researched into for factual analysis in Orunmila’s relationship with Jesus Christ; to either debunk the assertion or clarify the reasons for the assertion.

Comparative studies of different religions will help in proclaiming the true gospel. They should be carried out in theological studies to help spread the gospel and exclude weird intrusions from the Christian Faith. Finally, the origin of nations’ deities and their relevance in today’s world need to be looked into for further research.


[1] ‘Wande Abimbola, Ifa –an exposition of Ifa literary corpus, Ibadan: Oxford University Press, 1976, 3

[2] ‘Wande Abimbola, The place of Ifa in Yoruba traditional religion, African Notes Vol 2, Ibadan: Oxford University Press. 1965, 4

[3] Abimbola, 1965, 3-4

[4] Needham 2002, 45

[5] James Hastings, Hastings Dictionary of the Bible. U.S.A.: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2001, 128

[6] Hastings 2001, 128

[7] Hastings 2001, 128

[8] Michael Grant, Emperor Constantine (England: Orion Books Ltd, 1998), 126-127, 129; John Julius Norwich, Byzantium: The Early Centuries (England: Penguin Books, 1990), 34; Warren Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society (California: Stanford University Press, 1997), 25

[9] Grant, 127-128, 137, 155; Norwich, 34; Treadgold, 25.

[10] Grant, Emperor Constantine, 159-161

[11] J. O. Awolalu, and Dopamu, P.A., West African Traditional Religion, Ibadan: Onibonoje Press and Book Industries (Nig) Ltd., 1979, 186

[12] Bolaji, E. Idowu, African Traditional Religion: A Definition. London, S.C.M. Press Ltd., 1973, 139

[13] Awolalu and Dopamu 1979, 34, 240


[15] John, Pemberton, A cluster of sacred symbols: Orisha worship among the Igbomina Yoruba of Ila Orangun, History of Religions 7, no. 3, JSTOR, 1977. 1-29; and Karin, Barber, How a man makes God in West Africa: Yoruba Attitudes towards the Orisa, Africa 51, no. 3, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981, 723-745

[16] William, Bascom, Ifa divination: Communication between Gods and Men in West Africa,  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969, 80

[17] Alexander and Rosner 2000, 762

[18] Alexander and Rosner 2000, 762

[19] Idowu 1962, 19

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