Good Father-Mother God: The theology of God from the perspective of the Akan matrilineal society of Ghana

George Kwame Kumi, Fordham University


God is a Holy Mystery. God has many names and no one of them nor all taken together can completely exhaust what God is in essence. The Akan people of Ghana had many names of God before they came into contact with Christianity in the fifteenth century. Since then they have incorporated many of these names into Akan Christianity through inculturation. Among the many names of God in Akan Christianity today is Agya Baatan Pa, that is, "Good Father-Mother." This dissertation explores the theological meaning and significance of this Akan Christian notion of God. It tries to establish the thesis that the Akan Christian name of God as "Good Father-Mother" is theologically legitimate, valuable, and desirable. There are seven chapters in this dissertation. The first chapter provides the background to the study. This chapter describes the traditional culture and religious beliefs of the Akan people. It also gives an overview of the history of Christianity in Ghana. Chapter Two outlines the process of inculturation that ensued when Christianity came into contact with Akan traditional religion. It explains the origin and usage of the Father-Mother appellation of God in Akan Christianity. Chapter Three tries to establish the legitimacy or the Good Father-Mother designation of God in two ways. First, it shows that the image of God as Father and Mother is coherent with the notion of God in the biblical, mystical, liturgical and theological traditions of western Christianity. Second, it establishes the Good Father-Mother designation as a proper type of language for depicting the mystery of God. It analyzes the kind of language involved in this designation and explains that the Good Father-Mother appellation of God is a poetic-metaphorical language akin to analogy. Chapter Four describes the method of critical correlation used in Chapters Four, Five and Six to bring the local theology of the Good Father-Mother God into critical dialogue with the western Christian theology. These three chapters provide a third way of establishing the legitimacy of the Father-Mother God designation by elucidating it's doctrinal coherence with the western Christian notion of the triune God. The critical correlation in these three chapters yields valuable and desirable results showing how the notion of the Father-Mother God as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer enriches the West and vice versa. For instance, the West enriches the Akan Christian notion of sin and redemption, while the Akan enriches the Western notion of the Holy Spirit. The dissertation concludes that this religious insight of this small group of African Christians is legitimate and can indeed be a gift to whole church.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Cultural anthropology|Theology

Recommended Citation

Kumi, George Kwame, "Good Father-Mother God: The theology of God from the perspective of the Akan matrilineal society of Ghana" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9628339.