from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An appearance of a god to a human; a divine manifestation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A manifestation of a deity to a man.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A manifestation of God to man by actual appearance, usually as an incarnation.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A manifestation of God or of gods to man by actual appearance.
- n. [capitalized] The festival of the Epiphany.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a visible (but not necessarily material) manifestation of a deity to a human person
When I first learned of that correlation in college, I at once associated the idea of theophany with that of vocation and that of baptism with both.
This is what theologians call a theophany—a temporary vision of God given to his people for the purpose of encouragement.
In fact, the so-called theophany doesn't reveal anything that is not accessible to natural theology and a Wisdom perspective.
As I said in a post about Job which appeared here a couple of years ago, I think that the genre of this book, as Wisdom literature, is crucial to interpreting the "theophany" presented at the end.
The 'theophany' thus shows from nature that our claims to understand it all including the sufferings of any given human individual are arrogant and misguided.
The message of the first part of the 'theophany' could be summarized as follows: "If you think you can organize a world better than I have, go ahead!"
So why does the 'theophany' mention the things it does?
His appearance on horse-back is a kind of theophany, cowboys doing him homage with a reverential gesture:
United together in anticipation of the gift promised by the Lord, the apostles and disciples experienced a theophany, or visitation by God.
ÂEastern churches focus on Christ's baptism in the Jordan as the location of his theophany: God the Father announces "This is my Son, in whom I am well-pleased" as Christ comes up from the waters of the Jordan.