Possible Impossibilities

by Segun Akinyode

Since antiquity an entity has been regarded as omnipotent, omniscient, invisible,invincible and indefatigable. He is adored, revered, respected and worshipped by all animates and inanimates in varied dimensions.

He is timeless. In the morning, he is constant of descriptions. Come noon, the perception of His disposition is unshakable. At night, this nonpareil remains a northern star, unshakable of motion and potentials.

The combined susceptibilities of space, clime and attitude have not in any way diminished the shining qualities and profound esteem in which this gargantuan feat is regarded by Man. This abstraction is so real yet so amorphous that he has been interchangeably described as divine, nature, providence, awesome, incomparable etc. All sorts of description implying larger than life traits have been established as being apt for identifying him.

So complex and excitingly complicated is this cynosure that a particular religion identities him with ninety-nine names. He is so pervading, indefinite and undeterminable that man’s successes and failures are believed to result from his whims.

This being is called God in English Language. Yoruba, a language spoken by about 10million persons in Western Nigeria and in the Diaspora variously sees Him as Olorun, Olodumare, etc. The Igbo language describes him as Chineke.

When these frighteningly relevant qualities of God are juxtaposed with human foibles and susceptibilities, can we conveniently conclude that God is capable of all we have attributed to him? Are we not endowing him with more than He merits? Indeed, are the proofs of his potentials incontrovertible?

These posers started agitating my mind, the day I heard some of my students arguing about certain incidents that bore close affinity with their studies.

They were actually praying. In the course of the Prayer, one of them calmly insinuated to the effect that, there is nothing God cannot achieve; another one retorted that there was not a feat God cannot achieve. And the group then sang series of songs praising God’s infinity.

I got into my car and drove off. However, as much as I tried to push the effects of the group’s observations from my mind, the more it stamped the authority of its pertinence on my consciousness. Of course I began a critical reappraisal, and my first port of call was the student’s domain.

A candidate registers for an examination, he is given a timetable, and instead of preparing for the exam by swotting reliably and honestly, he plays his time away. It is incontrovertible that the candidate will fail the exam; it is a logical conclusion. If for instance, the candidate passes, it should be obvious to any rational mind that, the candidate has cheated one way or the other.

Now, would it be right to ascribe the “success” of a student who passed an examination through cheating to God’s handiwork? I am sure the candidate would have sighed, after he must have successfully cheated, and said something like “thank God”. Is God to be thanked in such a situation?

Take the case of a home where the parents do not care two hoots how the children feed, how they get the other basic things of life, the children education and other welfare do not concern the parents. Yet the mother of the house prays daily for a successful adulthood for the uncatered, unmothered, and unfathered children. It is glaring that such children’s end has already being ordained in the present. In other words one does not need a Reinhard Bonke to know that the future of the kids has been ruined by the neglect of their parents. The only logicality is that the children will turn out to be dregs.

Suppose one of these hapless children becomes rich and prosperous, would it be rational to attribute such development to God? It has been almost conclusively proved that excessive cigarette smoking, heavy drinking lack of rest can be stressful, a condition which may lead to high blood pressure and allied conditions. Now a man freely indulges in these acts and in no distance future gets himself entangled in a health problem. In a fit of support and concern, his family members take him to a church for prayers. He experiences a reprieve after a couple of weeks only for him to recur to his old ways.

Soon, his health deteriorates again and he is rushed to the same spiritual home; he quits his habit and in no time he is fit as a fiddle. Would it be right for me to conclude that God has done wonders. September 11 will forever remain sadly green in the memory of America. A particular family in America looks forward to that day became the family see it as a red letter day; one of the members of the family was in one of the floors and he survived; in actual fact, he did not sustain any injury, minor or major.

Can one say that God aided the terrorists to succeed and allowed the survivor to come out of the debris alive?

I was once a heavy smoker. I was taken aback one hot afternoon when my nostrils caught a whiff of tobacco odour on the breath of my eleven-year old son. I was not totally convinced but I became watchful. I caught him on the third day with a live butt of a Benson and Hedges smouldering in his young fingers. My wife instantly became prayerful. A once indifferent to religion party – goer became a thoroughly convinced fast-lover. Three months into her charade my son remained constant; I was still a smoker.

Then it hit me: A father is a veritable role model to a son; whatever the father does is permissive to the son. I stopped smoking and my son also quit. Practical solution to practical problem you would conclude? But my wife till today believes her prayer made my son stop smoking. The most curious of the phenomenon occurred of recent. A religious body organized a seminar where it intended to invoke the spirit of God to touch Nigerian’s hearts so that the second most corrupt country in the world may not graduate to the first position in 2005. This is a society where everybody knows the people in power steal t

he country’s wealth with impunity. That is not all, they flaunt this stolen monies without respect for the sensibilities of the governed. It is a society where budgets are read but only 10% or less of the projects are executed and they are poorly done. Questions are asked by the concerned but politically less powerful ones; no answers are forthcoming. It is an environment where justice is sat on its head and forced to walk with the arms. The most ludicrous index that galvanized corruption into a national delicacy is that everybody is aware that these things are happening. The students in the tertiary institutions, the so-called future leaders, are aware; they are very conscious of the rot going on at the crannies of government offices. Anywhere the issue is raised, these growing elites always conclude that “we are waiting for our time” it is in this kind of environment that God is being invited to fight corruption. Is this call for divine intervention apt? My circle of reasoning is topsy-turvy! I am not too sure.

I think the line of demarcation between what is physical, and natural should be clearly established in our attempt at rationalizing development that have to do with our existence. All forms of passion, and sentiment, should be discarded when asking the Supreme Being to intervene. Indeed, I think those of us in the habit of calling God to witness where and when He is not needed are a bunch of blackmailers. Are you with me?

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Enitan Doherty-Mason November 22, 2005 - 4:57 pm

It is delightful to read when people of good sense engage in serious thought and attempt to lead others to examine the obvious. Hiding behind God never made a decent human being or a mighty nation. Perhaps if each man/person took more responsiblity for his own life and actions as opposed to placing it in the hands of unseen deities, we would all be a little more responsible. As more Nigerians move from the "born again" craze to an age of reason, we will see an improvement in values and the quality of life in Nigeria. Hurray for clear thinking among more Nigerians!

Rosie September 9, 2005 - 5:34 pm

I support the writer here. My understanding is that God gives us all just enought to finish off the rest on our own. We can't rest out our oars and expect God to do everything we have to figure most of it out for ourselves. My disagreement with the writer is that he alludes to the fact that God is a man. Have you seen God. Who knows God might be a woman. Gender-neutrality is something I have learned to use when discussing God. No one has seen the supreme being. And if you want to insist on quoting the Bible remember the Holy Book was written by men.

Anonymous August 20, 2005 - 10:49 pm

It is troublesome to think of the awesome powers of God to witness corruption in the world is He All that is ascribed to Him. He is. God is not the problem man has been granted the solution; however how many of us truly obey His statutes. How many of us truly acknowledge Him in ALL How many of us truly allow the counsel of God to stand without interfering with our own free will. God sets before us evil and good blessing and curse He says "Choose Life". To the few who sincerely take God at His Word they shall experience the Fullness of Him. To the measure we meet is the measure we shall be met. When we see evil corruption in our world it takes the faith of the believer the knowing that God will hear and reward their plea; God has a way He seeks those who will adhere to His way…our world testifies that not many adhere to His way His statutes as written as prescribed. We pick and chose what we desire to obey; we take His grace for granted; however He will not be mocked. When that last Trumpet sounds we all must give in account to the Creator of Life our portion He has equipped us ALL for a particular purpose it is our reasonable service to perform it. I can not stand in judgment for you on that day you can not likewise stand in judgment for me on that day; however while it is still day I need you to seek God to perform that which He has released you into the EArth to accomplish and I shall do likewise. If you desire to know if He is ALL…request with a sincere heart for Him to manifest Himself to you…He shall undeniably…However I urge you know what you are asking for…He knows what we each need to know without doubt that He is REAL. HE is ALL that is ascribed to Him.

Anonymous July 12, 2005 - 9:37 am

thank so much for this advice. I pray that may we all Nigerians be able to make a positive turn-over so dat God can help us. 2 back-up what you said God Almighty said in the Glorious Qurian that "He will never change the situation of one community until they themselves change what is in their mind". May we be able to help ourselves. (Amen). 4rm Soyinka Sulaimon (Secretarial study MAPOLY) 2002/2003 ND set. Thank you.

Anonymous July 11, 2005 - 10:44 am

The author of this article has isssues with God but my fear is that he confuses the deeds done by man good or bad and then is comfortable blaming the bad on God and the good he ascribes to himself and his "hardwork". The author has forgotten that God's best gift to man was free will and whatever we choose to do is our choice BY THE GRACE OF GOD. So I say to him quit your whinning and SUCK IT UP! and by that I mean life.

Sabella Ogbobode Abidde July 9, 2005 - 9:30 pm

This is one of the best articles I have read in the last three months. I love it…I love it…I love it! Thank you!


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