Supernatural revelation

Supernatural revelation refers to a communication between a living human being and a deity or other supernatural entity, e.g. an angel. Many religions not only accept supernatural revelations, but base their fundamental beliefs on such revelations. For instance, Orthodox Judaism holds that the Torah was received from God on Mount Sinai, Catholics (and many other Christians) believe that the Book of Revelation was supernaturally communicated to the apostle Saint John the Divine and the Muslims consider the Qur'an to have been revealed word by word and letter by letter.

A supernatural revelation does not always require the physical presence of a supernatural entity; for instance, the Roman Catholic concept of interior locution includes just an inner voice heard by the recipient. In Hinduism some Vedas are considered IAST|apauruṣeya i.e. "not human compositions" and are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti, i.e. "what is heard". In Buddhism the devas are considered inaccessible to the physical human eye or ear and can only be observed or heard by those humans who have cultivated extrasensory powers. Some revelations are not just heard or observed, but are reported as having been "dictated". The Qur'an is an ancient example, and in more recent times, the 15,000 handwritten pages produced by the mystic Maria Valtorta were represented as direct dictations from Jesus.

When a revelation is communicated by a supernatural entity that is reported as present during the communication, it is called an apparition, usually within the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Churches. Some revelations go further in that direct conversations between the recipient and the supernatural entity is reported, e.g. Jesus Christ has been reported as present in some visions of Jesus and Mary. In cases such as the famous doubting Thomas conversation (John 20:24-29) between Christ and Saint Thomas the Apostle after His Crucifixion, physical contact is implied. Some revelations are reported along with physical marks such as stigmata and in rare cases such as that of Saint Juan Diego physical artifacts accompany the revelation.


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