Holy Spirit, is a term found in English translations of the Bible, understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures; the word spirit appears either alone or with other words, in the New Testament. Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ"; the word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. In its Aramaic parts, the term is rûacḥ; the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates the word as πνεῦμα. This is the same word, used throughout the New Testament, written in Greek; the English term spirit comes from its Latin origin, how the Vulgate translates both the Old and New Testament concept. The alternative term, "Holy Ghost", comes from Old English translations of spiritus; the Hebrew Bible contains the term "spirit of God" in the sense of the might of a unitary God. This meaning is different from the Christian concept of "Holy Spirit" as one personality of God in the Trinity.
The Christian concept tends to emphasize the moral aspect of the Holy Spirit more than Judaism, evident in the epithet Holy Spirit that appeared in Jewish religious writings only late but was a common expression in the Christian New Testament. According to theologian Rudolf Bultmann, there are two ways to think about the Holy Spirit: "animistic" and "dynamistic". In animistic thinking, it is "an independent agent, a personal power which like a demon can fall upon a man and take possession of him, enabling him or compelling him to perform manifestations of power" while in dynamistic thought it "appears as an impersonal force which fills a man like a fluid". Both kinds of thought appear in Jewish and Christian scripture, but animistic is more typical of the Old Testament whereas dynamistic is more common in the New Testament; the distinction coincides with the Holy Spirit as either a permanent gift. In the Old Testament and Jewish thought, it is temporary with a specific situation or task in mind, whereas in the Christian concept the gift resides in man permanently.
On the surface, the Holy Spirit appears to have an equivalent in non-Abrahamic Hellenistic mystery religions. These religions included a distinction between the spirit and psyche, seen in the Pauline epistles. According to proponents of the History of religions school, the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit cannot be explained from Jewish ideas alone without reference to the Hellenistic religions. However, according to theologian Erik Konsmo, the views "are so dissimilar that the only legitimate connection one can make is with the Greek term πνεῦμα itself". Another link with ancient Greek thought is the Stoic idea of the spirit as anima mundi—or world soul—that unites all people; some believe that this can be seen in Paul's formulation of the concept of the Holy Spirit that unites Christians in Jesus Christ and love for one another, but Konsmo again thinks that this position is difficult to maintain. In his Introduction to the 1964 book Meditations, the Anglican priest Maxwell Staniforth wrote: Another Stoic concept which offered inspiration to the Church was that of'divine Spirit'.
Cleanthes, wishing to give more explicit meaning to Zeno's'creative fire', had been the first to hit upon the term pneuma, or'spirit', to describe it. Like fire, this intelligent'spirit' was imagined as a tenuous substance akin to a current of air or breath, but possessing the quality of warmth, it is not a long step from this to the'Holy Spirit' of Christian theology, the'Lord and Giver of life', visibly manifested as tongues of fire at Pentecost and since associated – in the Christian as in the Stoic mind – with the ideas of vital fire and beneficient warmth. The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH, it means "spirit of the holiness" or "spirit of the holy place". The Hebrew terms ruacḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit", ruacḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" occur; the "Holy Spirit" in Judaism refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It refers to the divine force and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.
For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity: The "Triune God" manifested as Father and Holy Spirit. Two symbols from the New Testament canon are associated with the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography: a winged dove, tongues of fire; each depiction of the Holy Spirit arose from different historical accounts in the Gospel narratives. Called "the unveiled epiphany of God", the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers the followers of Jesus with spiritual gifts and power that enables the proclamation of Jesus Christ, a
In religion, a prophet is an individual, regarded as being in contact with a divine being and is said to speak on that entity's behalf, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the supernatural source to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy. Claims of prophethood have existed in many cultures throughout history, including Judaism, Islam, in ancient Greek religion, Zoroastrianism and many others; the English word prophet is a compound Greek word, from the verb phesein. In Hebrew, the word נָבִיא, "spokesperson", traditionally translates as "prophet"; the second subdivision of the Hebrew Bible, TaNaKh, is devoted to the Hebrew prophets. The meaning of navi is described in Deuteronomy 18:18, where God said, "...and I will put My words in his mouth, he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." Thus, the navi was thought to be the "mouth" of God. The root nun-bet-alef is based on the two-letter root nun-bet. Cf. Rashbam's comment to Genesis 20:7.
In addition to writing and speaking messages from God, Israelite or Jewish nevi'im acted out prophetic parables in their life. For example, in order to contrast the people’s disobedience with the obedience of the Rechabites, God has Jeremiah invite the Rechabites to drink wine, in disobedience to their ancestor’s command; the Rechabites refuse, wherefore God commends them. Other prophetic parables acted out by Jeremiah include burying a linen belt so that it gets ruined to illustrate how God intends to ruin Judah's pride. Jeremiah buys a clay jar and smashes it in the Valley of Ben Hinnom in front of elders and priests to illustrate that God will smash the nation of Judah and the city of Judah beyond repair. God instructs Jeremiah to make a yoke from wood and leather straps and to put it on his own neck to demonstrate how God will put the nation under the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. In a similar way, the prophet Isaiah had to walk stripped and barefoot for three years to illustrate the coming captivity, the prophet Ezekiel had to lie on his side for 390 days and eat measured food to illustrate the coming siege.
The prophetic assignment is not always portrayed as positive in the Hebrew Bible, prophets were the target of persecution and opposition. God’s personal prediction for Jeremiah, "Attack you they will, overcome you they can't," was performed many times in the biblical narrative as Jeremiah warned of destruction of those who continued to refuse repentance and accept more moderate consequences. In return for his adherence to God’s discipline and speaking God’s words, Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers and put into the stocks by a priest and false prophet, imprisoned by the king, threatened with death, thrown into a cistern by Judah’s officials, opposed by a false prophet. Isaiah was told by his hearers who rejected his message, "Leave the way! Get off the path! Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel!" The life of Moses being threatened by Pharaoh is another example. According to I Samuel 9:9, the old name for navi is ro'eh, רֹאֶה, which means "Seer"; that could document an ancient shift, from viewing prophets as seers for hire to viewing them as moral teachers.
Allen comments that in the First Temple Era, there were seer-priests, who formed a guild, performed rituals and sacrifices, were scribes, there were canonical prophets, who did none of these and had instead a message to deliver. The seer-priests were attached to a local shrine or temple, such as Shiloh, initiated others as priests in that priesthood: it was a mystical craft-guild with apprentices and recruitment. Canonical prophets were not organised this way; some examples of prophets in the Tanakh include Abraham, Miriam, Samuel, Ezekiel and Job. In Jewish tradition Daniel is not counted in the list of prophets. A Jewish tradition suggests that there were twice as many prophets as the number which left Egypt, which would make 1,200,000 prophets; the Talmud recognizes the existence of 48 male prophets who bequeathed permanent messages to mankind. According to the Talmud there were seven women who are counted as prophetesses whose message bears relevance for all generations: Sarah, Devorah, Abigail and Esther.
The Talmudic and Biblical commentator Rashi points out that Rebecca and Leah were prophets. Isaiah 8:3-4refers he married "the prophetess", which conceived and gave to him a son, named by God Mahèr-salàl-cash-baz, her name isn't elsewhere specified. Prophets in Tanakh are not always Jews; the story of Balaam in Numbers 22 describes a non-Jewish prophet. According to the Talmud, Obadiah is said to have been a convert to Judaism; the last nevi'im mentioned in the Jewish Bible are Haggai and Malachi, all of whom lived at the end of the 70-year Babylonian exile. The Talmud states that Haggai and Malachi were the last prophets, nowadays only the "Bath Kol" exists. In Christianity, a prophet is one inspired by God through the Holy Spirit to deliver a message; some Christian denominations limit a prophet's message to words int
Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to: help them better understand Christian tenets make comparisons between Christianity and other traditions defend Christianity against objections and criticism facilitate reforms in the Christian church assist in the propagation of Christianity draw on the resources of the Christian tradition to address some present situation or perceived needChristian theology has permeated much of Western culture in pre-modern Europe. Systematic theology as a discipline of Christian theology formulates an orderly and coherent account of Christian faith and beliefs. Systematic theology draws on the foundational sacred texts of Christianity, while investigating the development of Christian doctrine over the course of history through philosophical evolution.
Inherent to a system of theological thought is the development of a method: one which one can apply both broadly and particularly. Christian systematic theology will explore: God the attributes of God the Trinity as espoused by trinitarian Christians revelation biblical hermeneutics - the interpretation of Biblical texts the creation divine providence theodicy - accounting for a benign God's tolerance of evil philosophy hamartiology - the study of sin Christology - the study of the nature and person of Christ pneumatology - the study of the Holy Spirit soteriology - the study of salvation ecclesiology - the study of the Christian church missiology - the study of the Christian message and of missions spirituality and mysticism sacramental theology eschatology - the ultimate destiny of humankind moral theology Christian anthropology the afterlife Revelation is the revealing or disclosing, or making something obvious through active or passive communication with God, can originate directly from God, or through an agent, such as an angel.
One who has experienced such contact is called a prophet. Christianity considers the Bible as supernaturally revealed or inspired; such revelation does not always require the presence of an angel. For instance, in the concept called of interior locution by Catholics, supernatural revelation can include just an inner voice heard by the recipient. Thomas Aquinas first described in two types of revelation in Christianity as general revelation and special revelation. General revelation occurs through observation of the created order; such observations can logically lead to important conclusions, such as the existence of God and some of God's attributes. General revelation is an element of Christian apologetics. Certain specifics, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, are revealed in the teachings in the Scriptures and can not otherwise be deduced except by special revelation; the Bible contains many passages in which the authors claim divine inspiration for their message or report the effects of such inspiration on others.
Besides the direct accounts of written revelation, such as Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, the Prophets of the Old Testament claimed that their message was of divine origin by prefacing the revelation using the following phrase: "Thus says the LORD". The Second Epistle of Peter claims that "no prophecy of Scripture... was produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit". The Second Epistle of Peter implies that Paul's writings are inspired. Many Christians cite a verse in Paul's letter to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, as evidence that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, is profitable..." Here St. Paul is referring to the Old Testament, since the scriptures have been known by Timothy from "infancy". Others offer an alternative reading for the passage. A similar translation appears in the New English Bible, in the Revised English Bible, in the New Revised Standard Version; the Latin Vulgate can be so read. Yet others defend the "traditional" interpretation.
Christianity regards the collections of books known as the Bible as authoritative and written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Some Christians believe that the Bible is infallible. In addition, for some Christians, it may be inferred that the Bible cannot both refer to itself as being divinely inspired and be errant or fallible. For if the Bible were divinely inspired the source of inspiration being divine, would not be subject to fallibility or error in that, produced. For them, the doctrines of the divine inspiration and inerrancy, are inseparably tied together; the idea of biblical integrity is a further concept of infallibility, by suggesting that current biblical text is complete and without error, that the integrity of biblical text has never been corrupted or degraded. Historians note, or claim
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities. Some religions have religious texts which they view as divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired. For instance, Orthodox Jews and Muslims believe that the Torah was received from Yahweh on biblical Mount Sinai. Most Christians believe that both the New Testament were inspired by God. Muslims believe. In Hinduism, some Vedas are considered apauruṣeya, "not human compositions", are supposed to have been directly revealed, thus are called śruti, "what is heard"; the 15,000 handwritten pages produced by the mystic Maria Valtorta were represented as direct dictations from Jesus, while she attributed The Book of Azariah to her guardian angel. Aleister Crowley stated that The Book of the Law had been revealed to him through a higher being that called itself Aiwass. A revelation communicated by a supernatural entity reported as being present during the event is called a vision.
Direct conversations between the recipient and the supernatural entity, or physical marks such as stigmata, have been reported. In rare cases, such as that of Saint Juan Diego, physical artifacts accompany the revelation; the Roman Catholic concept of interior locution includes just an inner voice heard by the recipient. In the Abrahamic religions, the term is used to refer to the process by which God reveals knowledge of himself, his will, his divine providence to the world of human beings. In secondary usage, revelation refers to the resulting human knowledge about God and other divine things. Revelation from a supernatural source plays a less important role in some other religious traditions such as Buddhism and Taoism. Inspiration – such as that bestowed by God on the author of a sacred book – involves a special illumination of the mind, in virtue of which the recipient conceives such thoughts as God desires him to commit to writing, does not involve supernatural communication. With the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, beginning about the mid-17th century, the development of rationalism and atheism, the concept of supernatural revelation itself faced skepticism.
In The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine develops the theology of deism, rejecting the possibility of miracles and arguing that a revelation can be considered valid only for the original recipient, with all else being hearsay. Thomas Aquinas believed in two types of individual revelation from God, general revelation and special revelation. In general revelation, God reveals himself through his creation, such that at least some truths about God can be learned by the empirical study of nature, cosmology, etc. to an individual. Special revelation is the knowledge of God and spiritual matters which can be discovered through supernatural means, such as scripture or miracles, by individuals. Direct revelation refers to communication from God to someone in particular. Though one may deduce the existence of God and some of God's attributes through general revelation, certain specifics may be known only through special revelation. Aquinas believed; the major theological components of Christianity, such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, are revealed in the teachings of the church and the scriptures and may not otherwise be deduced.
Special revelation and natural revelation are complementary rather than contradictory in nature. "Continuous revelation" is a term for the theological position that God continues to reveal divine principles or commandments to humanity. In the 20th century, religious existentialists proposed that revelation held no content in and of itself but rather that God inspired people with his presence by coming into contact with them. Revelation is a human response; some religious groups believe a deity has been revealed or spoken to a large group of people or have legends to a similar effect. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Yahweh is said to have been revealed upon giving the Ten Commandments to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. In Christianity, the Book of Acts describes the Day of Pentecost wherein a large group of the followers of Jesus experienced mass revelation; the Lakota people believe Ptesáŋwiŋ spoke directly to the people in the establishment of Lakota religious traditions. Some versions of an Aztec legend tell of Huitzilopochtli speaking directly to the Aztec people upon their arrival at Anåhuac.
Some emperors, cult leaders, other figures have been deified and treated as though their words are themselves revelations. Some people hold that God can communicate with man in a way that gives direct, propositional content: This is termed verbal revelation. Orthodox Judaism and some forms of Christianity hold that the first five books of Moses were dictated by God in such a fashion. One school of thought holds that revelation is non-verbal and non-literal, yet it may have propositional content. People were divinely inspired by God with a message, but not in a verbal-like fashion. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has written, "To convey what the prophets experienced, the Bible could either use terms of descriptions or terms of indication. Any description of the act of revelation in empirical categories would have produced a caricature; that is.
Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, in spreading the Christian message; the movement has had a long presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries. Its origins are traced to 1738, with various theological streams contributing to its foundation, including English Methodism, the Moravian Church, German Lutheran Pietism. Preeminently, John Wesley and other early Methodists were at the root of sparking this new movement during the First Great Awakening. Today, evangelicals are found across many Protestant branches, as well as in various denominations not subsumed to a specific branch.
Among leaders and major figures of the evangelical Protestant movement were John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Billy Graham, Bill Bright, Harold John Ockenga, John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The movement gained great momentum during the 18th and 19th centuries with the Great Awakenings in Great Britain and the United States. In 2016, there were an estimated 619 million evangelicals in the world, meaning that one in four Christians would be classified as evangelical; the United States has the largest concentration of evangelicals in the world. American evangelicals are a quarter of the nation's population and its single largest religious group. In Great Britain, evangelicals are represented in the Methodist Church, Baptist communities, among evangelical Anglicans; some evangelical Christian denominations are grouped together in the World Evangelical Alliance. The word evangelical has its etymological roots in the Greek word for "gospel" or "good news": εὐαγγέλιον euangelion, from eu "good", angel- the stem of, among other words, angelos "messenger, angel", the neuter suffix -ion.
By the English Middle Ages, the term had expanded semantically to include not only the message, but the New Testament which contained the message, as well as more the Gospels, which portray the life and resurrection of Jesus. The first published use of evangelical in English was in 1531, when William Tyndale wrote "He exhorteth them to proceed in the evangelical truth." One year Sir Thomas More wrote the earliest recorded use in reference to a theological distinction when he spoke of "Tyndale his evangelical brother Barns". During the Reformation, Protestant theologians embraced the term as referring to "gospel truth". Martin Luther referred to the evangelische Kirche to distinguish Protestants from Catholics in the Roman Catholic Church. Into the 21st century, evangelical has continued in use as a synonym for Protestant in continental Europe, elsewhere; this usage is reflected in the names of Protestant denominations, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
In the English-speaking world, evangelical was applied to describe the series of revival movements that occurred in Britain and North America during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Christian historian David Bebbington writes that, "Although'evangelical', with a lower-case initial, is used to mean'of the gospel', the term'Evangelical', with a capital letter, is applied to any aspect of the movement beginning in the 1730s." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, evangelicalism was first used in 1831. The term may be used outside any religious context to characterize a generic missionary, reforming, or redeeming impulse or purpose. For example, the Times Literary Supplement refers to "the rise and fall of evangelical fervor within the Socialist movement". One influential definition of evangelicalism has been proposed by historian David Bebbington. Bebbington notes four distinctive aspects of evangelical faith: conversionism, biblicism and activism, noting, "Together they form a quadrilateral of priorities, the basis of Evangelicalism."Conversionism, or belief in the necessity of being "born again", has been a constant theme of evangelicalism since its beginnings.
To evangelicals, the central message of the gospel is justification by faith in Christ and repentance, or turning away, from sin. Conversion differentiates the Christian from the non-Christian, the change in life it leads to is marked by both a rejection of sin and a corresponding personal holiness of life. A conversion experience can be emotional, including grief and sorrow for sin followed by great relief at receiving forgiveness; the stress on conversion differentiates evangelicalism from other forms of Protestantism by the associated belief that an assurance of salvation will accompany conversion. Among evangelicals, individuals have testified to both gradual conversions. Biblicism is a high regard for biblical authority. All evangelicals believe in biblical inspiration, though they disagree over how this inspiration should be defined. Many evangelicals believe in biblical inerrancy, while other evangelicals believe in biblical infallibility. Crucicentrism is the centrality that evangelicals give to the Atonement, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, that offers forgiveness of sins and new life.
This is understood most in terms of a substitutionary atonement, in which Christ died as a substitute for sinful humanity by takin
Private revelation is, in Christian theology, a message from God which can come in a variety of types. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, public revelation was complete in New Testament times, but depends on interpretation and deepening understanding of this foundational or "definitive" revelation: 97 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God" in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches.66 "The Christian economy, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away. Yet if Revelation is complete, it has not been made explicit, they do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment. Divine revelation was fulfilled and perfected in Christ, the fullness and mediator and interpreter, purpose and center of public revelation. Hence, public revelation is the deposit of faith and rule of faith and must be lived by all Catholics. Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that all public revelation ended with the death of Saint John the Apostle. Private revelations cannot surpass, improve, complete, or perfect public revelation. Divine revelation, since it is contained in the Word of God and in Christ includes the living tradition or sensus fidelium, the magisterium, the sacraments, Catholic dogma; because the living tradition and the magisterium are a part of divine revelation, they both have divine authority. Because the sacraments are a part of divine revelation, their natures cannot be changed but their ways of celebration can be changed; because Catholic dogma is a part of divine revelation, the saving truths of Christ are immutable.
But what truths are dogmas has needed to be clarified by church councils, the much more numerous doctrines have yielded to varied and increased understanding based on solid study of the Biblical roots and of the history of the topic. For this the work of theologians is indispensable, since the charism of the bishops is not to receive revelations but to determine what is Catholic teaching, the more so in doctrines that are more central to the faith and dogmatically taught; the Second Vatican Council of Bishops maintained a careful line between the "two source" and "one source" explanation of revelation, careful to acknowledge the ultimate priority of the original deposit of faith: "For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, make it more known."The revelations in the Word of God – such as the apparition of the three angels to Abraham and the angel who wrestled Jacob.
The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar to Saint James the Greater is a private revelation, since it depends on facts not contained in the original deposit of faith. It, along with the canonization of saints, will never be dogmatically taught, but are taught as safe for Christian belief; because Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would lead the church into every truth, the Lord leads the church into a deeper understanding of the original deposit. To suitably apply the truths of revelation to the needs of each age, the magisterium examines private revelations, to assure that they are in accord with church doctrine. Christ warned that the tree will be known by its fruit. Private revelation is a heavenly message. Various types of private revelations have been reported in the Catholic Church. Private revelations can come to anyone for so long; some address the visionary. For instance, Our Lady of Laus appeared to a young shepherdess for many years, while Our Lady of Kibeho addressed the leaders of the nation of Rwanda.
The appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary are called Marian apparitions. These include a vision of the Blessed Virgin, accompanied by brief messages; these are by far the most reported form. W
The concept of the supernatural encompasses anything, inexplicable by scientific understanding of the laws of nature but argued by believers to exist. Examples include immaterial beings such as angels and spirits, claimed human abilities like magic and extrasensory perception. Supernatural entities have been invoked to explain phenomena as diverse as lightning and the human senses. Naturalists maintain that nothing beyond the physical world exists and hence maintain skeptical attitudes towards supernatural concepts; the supernatural is featured in paranormal and religious contexts, but can feature as an explanation in more secular contexts. Occurring as both an adjective and a noun, descendants of the modern English compound supernatural enters the language from two sources: via Middle French and directly from the Middle French's term's ancestor, post-Classical Latin. Post-classical Latin supernaturalis first occurs in the 6th century, composed of the Latin prefix super- and nātūrālis; the earliest known appearance of the word in the English language occurs in a Middle English translation of Catherine of Siena's Dialogue.
The semantic value of the term has shifted over the history of its use. The term referred to Christian understandings of the world. For example, as an adjective, the term can mean'belonging to a realm or system that transcends nature, as that of divine, magical, or ghostly beings. Obsolete uses include'of, relating to, or dealing with metaphysics'; as a noun, the term can mean'a supernatural being', with a strong history of employment in relation to entities from the mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The metaphysical considerations of the existence of the supernatural can be difficult to approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, will have to be inverted or rejected. One complicating factor is that there is disagreement about the definition of "natural" and the limits of naturalism. Concepts in the supernatural domain are related to concepts in religious spirituality and occultism or spiritualism. For sometimes we use the word nature for that Author of nature whom the schoolmen, harshly enough, call natura naturans, as when it is said that nature hath made man corporeal and immaterial.
Sometimes we mean by the nature of a thing the essence, or that which the schoolmen scruple not to call the quiddity of a thing, the attribute or attributes on whose score it is what it is, whether the thing be corporeal or not, as when we attempt to define the nature of an angle, or of a triangle, or of a fluid body, as such. Sometimes we take nature for an internal principle of motion, as when we say that a stone let fall in the air is by nature carried towards the centre of the earth, and, on the contrary, that fire or flame does move upwards toward firmament. Sometimes we understand by nature the established course of things, as when we say that nature makes the night succeed the day, nature hath made respiration necessary to the life of men. Sometimes we take nature for an aggregate of powers belonging to a body a living one, as when physicians say that nature is strong or weak or spent, or that in such or such diseases nature left to herself will do the cure. Sometimes we take nature for the universe, or system of the corporeal works of God, as when it is said of a phoenix, or a chimera, that there is no such thing in nature, i.e. in the world.
And sometimes too, that most we would express by nature a semi-deity or other strange kind of being, such as this discourse examines the notion of. And besides these more absolute acceptions, if I may so call them, of the word nature, it has divers others, as nature is wont to be set or in opposition or contradistinction to other things, as when we say of a stone when it falls downwards that it does it by a natural motion, but that if it be thrown upwards its motion that way is violent. So chemists distinguish vitriol into natural and fictitious, or made by art, i.e. by the intervention of human power or skill. We say that wicked men are still in the state of nature, but the regenerate in a state of grace; the term "supernatural" is used interchangeably with paranormal or preternatural — the latter limited to an adjective for describing abilities which appear to exceed what is possible within the boundaries of the laws of physics. Epistemologically, the relationship between the supernatural and the natural is indistinct in terms of natural phenomena that, ex hypothesi, violate the laws of nature, in so far as such laws are realistically accountable.
Parapsychologists use the term psi to refer to an assumed unitary force underlying the phenomena they study. Psi is defined in the Journal of Parapsychology as "personal factors or processes in nature which transcend accepted laws" and "which are non-physical in nature", it is used to cover both extrasensory perception, an "awareness of or response to an external event or influence not apprehended by sens