Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaMonday, September 22, 2014




uman life begins at conception and ends at death. Initially God created man immortal. This can be established from God's own words before he created man. He said, "Let us make man in our own image and likeness" (Gen. 1:26). One of the images of God is immortality. Therefore, if man was created in God's image, then he (man) is also immortal, QED. Is this conclusion not logical? Of course, it is. The Philosophy I studied for four years is not in vain. I neutralised my philosophical reasoning with my theological ingenuity. But one must be very careful to avoid falling into heresy.

Where am I? Yes, I am proving that human life is a risk. However, it was not so from creation. It was at the site of the Forbidden Tree that risk began. The devil appeared in the form of a cunning serpent and enticed Eve to eat fruit from the Forbidden Tree. The devil asked Eve, "Did God really say you were not to eat from any tree in the garden?" (Gen.3:1). The woman curiously answered, "We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden. But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden God said, 'You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain of death'" (Gen. 3:2- 3). The devil-snake laughed and seduced the woman saying, "No! You will not die! God knows in fact that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good from evil" (Gen3:4-5).

Sweet words are powerful and they work like magic. I still recall the tragedy that befell a sick seminarian in our days at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu. He was on his way to UNTH Enugu old site. He came across Ogbete Main Market and saw some magicians doubling money. The sick seminarian, despite his feverish shivering, tried his luck to double the money for his hospital bill with the hope to use the extra lucky money to buy radio and fan. Unfortunately he was tricked and abandoned like a waste product. He went to the extent of offering his shoes and shirt to the magicians to make sure he won the dubious game. But it was also in vain. He became penniless and his sickness doubled. He came back to the seminary driven in wheel-barrow and he wore only trouser and singlet. Consequently, he was expelled from the Seminary with immediate effect. Do you see what greed can lead into? If such a seminarian becomes a priest, he can go to the extent of offering his bishop for sale.

Let's go back to the bone of contention. Eve saw that the fruit was good to eat, pleasant to the eyes and that it can endow one with much wisdom. What followed? Eve took the risk and ate the forbidden fruit. This is the origin of risk in human life. It did not end there. She sought for her husband Adam, who took a risk to leave his wife alone. It is a risk for husband and wife to abandon each other. Eve found her heartthrob and gave him some of the forbidden fruits. Without questions, Adam took the risk to eat the forbidden fruit. Please mind what your wife or husband brings home for you. You should even buy Ebola torch to examine him or her before he/she goes into your bedroom.

After eating the forbidden fruits, Adam and Eve saw themselves stark naked and they were ashamed of themselves, such that they took leaves to cover their nakedness. This was the origin of clothing. Whenever we take risk to commit mortal sins, we see ourselves naked and shameful, even though some of us have lost the sense of sin. It is even a greater risk to lose the sense of sin. "After all, everybody is doing it" is not an excuse.

From the moment of the Fall of Man, human life became a risk. God caused Eve and all women after her in these words: "I shall give you intense pain in childbearing. You will give birth to your children in pain. Your yearning will be for your husband and he will dominate you" (Gen.3:16). When I was coming out from my mother's womb, I was very careful not to cause her too much pains. But I couldn't help it because my big head was full of ideas of what I would accomplish in life outside the womb. Giving birth is a risk. Many women have died thereby. Thank God my mother survived my nativity.

Some years ago I was admitted in a hospital as a result of sickness. A cabin separated my apartment from the labour room. As I was wreathing in pains on my sick-bed, I heard the cry of a woman about to give birth. She was shouting and shouting. She went to the extent of calling her husband 'idiot' for impregnating her. Even though I was dying with pains and fever, I couldn't help laughing sickly. The woman continued shouting painfully until I heard the cry of a baby. The next moment I heard the woman laughing and cuddling her baby, "Oh, my lovely child!" Despite the risk in giving birth, married couples pray for the fruit of the women.

On the other hand, God caused Adam and all men saying: "Accursed be the soil because of you! Painfully will you get your food from it as long as you live. It will yield you brambles and thistles as you eat the product of the land. By the sweat of your face will you earn your food, until you return to the ground, as you were taken from it. For dust you are and to dust you shall return" (Gen. 3:17-19). No wonder men suffer more than women in seeking after daily bread. The other day I saw a man whom suffering has bent down four-fold. His neck has stiffened that he can no longer turn back. Many men take the risk to labour and labour; before they could eat the fruits of their labour, they are dead. Man's disobedience to God's command brought suffering and death. Yesterday I met a man along Zik's Avenue Awka walking like death. I pitied him. I shed tears for him. Behind him I shouted, "Rest in peace!" The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. We have all taken a risk to sin. Therefore death is awaiting us at an unexpected time. Yesterday I admired myself at the mirror and I saw the shadows of death behind me. I shouted, "God forbid!" To console myself I took a bottle of cold stout from my fridge and drank it like a mad man. Then I closed my eyes and started seeing visions.

To reach his destination as quick as possible, man invented cars. Road accidents came in as a risk. Consequently, man looked at the birds flying on the air and an idea struck him. He vowed that he must fly also. As a result he invented flying engine with a body for passengers which he called Aeroplane. Hence it became the safest means of transportation in those days. But today, it is no more. It is even a greater risk to travel by air. Many have perished in local and international flights. Personally whenever I board a flight, I normally say my last prayers and make a perfect Act of Contrition. My heart is never at peace until the aeroplane's wheels touch the tarmac. Only then do I return from Limbo. In March this year, a Malaysian Airliner with 230 passengers disappeared mysteriously and has not been traced till this day. How I wish the pilot of the plane flew the passengers into heaven so that they rest from the risks in this world. As if that is not enough, another Malaysian Airliner which took off from Amsterdam on 17 July 2014 heading to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by Separatist Terrorist between Ukraine and Russian border. Instantly, 283 passengers and 15 crew members all died like that. Indeed, human life is a risk. When I come back in the next world, I shall borrow wings from the Angels of God. If the world becomes so risky, I shall fly into another planet.