Biblical Analysis of Causes and Effects of Necromancy Practices in Contemporary Africa
Antoine, On'okoko Tolela
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This thesis is about necromancy as depicted in the Bible and as practiced in Africa today. The research began by studying a key biblical passage that describes an incident of necromancy in the Old Testament: 1 Samuel 28. The message contained in 1 Samuel 28 has been a subject of much scholarly debate. Scholars did their exegesis on 1 Samuel never reaching a point of agreement about what the writer intended the reader to understand to have taken place between Saul, Samuel, and the medium woman. The key to this challenge of the studied biblical text has been motivated by one's understanding of what necromancy is. How it was done and how one can understand it i the context of both Israel understanding and modern understanding of the event. Scholars are deeply divided in developing theories about 1 Samuel 28. Among several theories which have been developed, there are six main theories. These six theories or understanding of the text are: real appearance of Samuel, an illusory appearance produced by demonical power, a mental impression or representation, a superstitious self-deception, a conscious deception organized by the medium, and God's judgement. each theory depends on the class of thought of its scholar. When it comes to contextualization of the 1 Samuel 28 in African context one needs to clearly understand the text in the light of the primary audience of the writer of this biblical text. This understanding of the text is based on one interpretation of necromancy practices rather than the reading of the text alone. Often, the text is violated with the bias of the one theological understanding of the Bible. However, no matter what the biblical interpretation might be, all agree that effects and consequences of necromancy are negative in life of its victim. Therefore, this thesis aims at contextualizing the text within an African understanding by finding causes and effects which highly might lead one onto necromancy practices. The thesis research discovered thirty one causes and twenty one effects which generally might lead an African to practice necromancy. The finding of causes and effects helps one to determine the right response which is both biblical and Christian. There are three major causes observations which can be drawn from the study : (1) the five main causes of necromancy are: poverty, the need for guidance, childlessness, death, fear of the unknown; (2) the five main negative effects which result from necromancy practice are: unbelief in God, spiritual captivity, death, incurable diseases, and lack of spiritual growth; (3) The Bible which is relevant to all aspects of human life does address all the five main prevailing causes of necromancy and also all the five main negative impacts of necromancy can all find the solutions in the Bible. The research also assumed that since the Bible addresses all aspect of human life: it must effectively address even the remaining causes and effects which have not been addressed in this research. This research aimed at proposing solutions which can be helpful not only to deal with causes or cure effects but also preventing the ongoing challenge of necromancy in the studied field.