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Evil, Death, and Some African Conceptions of God

Hasskei M. Majeed


The age-old philosophical problem of evil, especially prominent in Western philosophy, as resulting from the intellectual irreconcilability of some  appellations of God with the presence of evil – indeed, of myriads of evil – in the world, has been debated upon by many African religious scholars;  particularly, philosophers. These include John Mbiti, Kwasi Wiredu, Kwame Gyekye, E. B. Idowu and E.O. Oduwole. While the debate has often been about  the existence or not of the problem of evil in African theology, not much philosophical discussion has taken place regarding death and its implications for  African conception(s) of God. This paper attempts to contribute to the discussion of those implications. It explores the evilness of death, as exemplified in  the African notion of “evil death,” and argues that the phenomenon of death presents itself in complex but interesting ways that do not philosophically  ground its characterization as evil. Therefore, the problem of evil would not arise in African thought on account of the phenomenon of death.