Fr George ADIMIKE
Fire is, arguably, the most significant discovery of humanity without which human civilisation would have been a mirage. The discovery of fire and its mastery unbounded man’s developmental possibilities. It is such that all scientific and technological development runs on man’s ability to exercise dominion and control over fire. The preeminent value of fire serves as a compelling foreword to the discourse on the Holy Ghost fire. Many religionists often seem not aware or negligent of the essential role of fire, and more precisely the Holy Ghost fire, in driving civilisation and development. Devoid of any facile assumption, the Holy Ghost, who is the creative power sustains the world, and leads her to survive, thrive and flourish. As the kinetic energy of God, the Holy Ghost is the creative fire of love and motor of civilisation.
In the history of ideas, one early indication of the importance of fire is the Heraclitus’ attribution of it as the primal element in creation. He argued that fire, as it were, is the ultimate urstoff (original material out of which all things came) of reality. Earlier than that, various mythologies of nations had presented fire-god as the foundation of creation. For instance, Greek mythology had regarded fire as the cause of civilisation and development. Narrative has it that the Titan Prometheus (foresight), credited to have created humanity, stole fire from Zeus, the principal god in the Greek pantheon, and offered it to mortals, which was responsible for civilisation. In his reaction, Zeus sent Pandora (woman) to Epimetheus (hindsight) for marriage, who then by opening her baggage unleashed evil to the world. Similar stories of theft of fire for the benefit of humans abound in mythologies of various nations and peoples. From such mythologies, we glean the fact that the It underscores the great importance of fire in the ancient world attached a great importance to fire. It was regarded as fundamental to the existence of the world, and even today, the entire developmental system of the world runs on fire.
Fire goes beyond the physical realm to the metaphysical and spiritual realms. Different religions have different narratives, mysteries and beliefs associated with fire. Cultures and peoples encapsulate their value and significance relative to fire in myths, legends and deities. The importance of fire is accentuated in Igboland with Amadioha , in Yoruba with Shango , in Roman mythology with Vulcan, in Greece with Hephaestus, in Celtic mythology with Aed, Brigit and Grannus, in Albania with En, etc. The memory of some of these gods of fire, thunder and lightning still exercises pervasive influence in the religious psyche of the people. In the Nigerian setting, often does one hear expressions like “thunder fire you”. Such an expression or its Igbo equivalent, ‘ Amadioha magbuo gi’, reveals the level of its diffusion in the society. In religion as well as in science-tech, a fire has an overarching influence. It interweaves with our daily life such that without it, survival would be almost impossible.
Such indispensability of fire in daily life has an even greater equivalence in the Christian life of faith. Being a metaphor for God, its importance is crucial to Christianity. From the witness of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, who is the love between the Father and the Son, is the eternal fire that burns love in-between them, which overflows into creative activity. He was the holy fire caused Christ’s incarnate existence and empowered his earthly ministry, and He is the dynamism of Christian discipleship. He is the creative and consuming fire, which, above all, is the fire of love. He is th…