Change or Decay?
Throughout this book, one fact stands out with unmistakable clearness: that is, Olódùmarè is of vital, absolutely indispensable, significance to the Yoruba. It is well that this has been emphasised; because in that way we have seen justice done to the one essential Factor by which the life and belief of the Yoruba cohere and have sustenance; by it we have come to the indubitable knowledge that it is a wrong notion to describe or refer to Olódùmarè in any way which suggests that He is a deus incertus or deus remotus, since He is so urgently real.
In consequence of the position and status of Olódùmarè, and the added evidence which we have gathered, we can with confidence predicate that the religion of the Yoruba was, or consisted in, a "Primitive Monotheism". We notice with interest that other investigators before us have been confronted impressively by this fact.1
The question of the historical origin of this monotheism, or of how "pure" it was originally, is a rather debatable one to pursue, one which is quite capable of leading us astray in a wilderness of theories and conjectures. Nevertheless, we have every confidence in stating categorically that the ultimate origin of such a lofty conception can be none other than the revelation of the living God Himself Who has never left Himself without witness in any age or generation. As to the question of its primitive purity, we can only repeat here that there are Yoruba elders who have the notion that the crowd of divinities which now inhabit their pantheon is a later accretion the effect of which has not altogether been to the benefit of their religion.2 And we have implied the possibility that the present position in which Olódùmarè appears in the system is a later development when we stated that it is a reflection of the social pattern of the Yoruba.3
Now, if the religion as it is now is a departure for the worse from a____________________