This is also called ‘revelation,’ an idea found in most religious traditions.
One definition points to knowledge disclosed or uncovered about God’s plan of Salvation or the Divine essence; this knowledge could influence a person’s interpretation of observable events.
General revelation is often differentiated from special revelation. General revelation asserts that God’s existence and attributes may be partly understood through observation of God’s creation.
Specific revelation points to the belief that individuals receive divine communications.
In Catholicism revelation is understood as a truth communicated to a person by God; this revealed knowledge initially bypasses but does not contradict the intellect and differs from inspiration–although the recipient may subsequently think about and be inspired by a revelation.
From the study of mystics it seems that revealed knowledge is often initially misunderstood. Mystics are only human and seem to interpret revelations according to their limited perspectives. Over time the full meaning of a true communication should become apparent while a false communication – e.g. from the devil - would prove to be a sham.
This idea is closely linked to the notion of true and false prophets, as we read in the New Testament:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them (Matthew 15-20, New International Version).
A potential problem arises here, of course, in that some genuine prophets could appear ‘false’ because not enough time has passed to adequately test the revelation given to them by God. And by the same token, some false prophets could be regarded as ‘true’ by believers claiming that more time is needed to verify the revelation apparently given by God.
Clearly, this is not an easy area and many mistakes could be made by overly zealous, wish-fulling individuals and groups.
Akashic Records Derived from the Hindu (Sanskrit) and Buddhist (Pali) understanding of akasha (= ether, subtle space, the forms of space), the Akashic Records is a term used by Theosophy and Anthroposophy to denote a cosmic memory bank of all that ever was.
The term is often used uncritically by believers, not unlike any item of religious dogma.
Alleged psychics, intuitives and New Age enthusiasts often claim to be able to tune in and ‘read’ from the Akashic records.
Edgar Cayce apparently was gifted in a similar way, merely holding books to his stomach to automatically absorb their information.
Rudolf Steiner believed that he accessed the Akashic Records to learn about the legendary city of Atlantis.
Recently, the term Remote Viewing describes the supposed inner seeing of objects at a distance – that is, beyond the normal senses - by accessing a kind of ‘holographic memory bank.’
Somewhat like the Akashic Records, this holographic database is said to reveal the past, the present and future probabilities. The term probabilities is important here as scientific psi researchers like Dale Graff and Russell Targ maintain that future events may never be remotely viewed with 100% accuracy.
Some see the holographic mind (or holographic mind levels) as a metaphor or theoretical construct while others seem to present the idea as fact–the latter group perhaps having more in common with uncritical believers in the idea of the Akashic Records.
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Augustine of Hippo, St. (354-430) St. Augustine is one of the most influential figures in Christian history and one of the four Latin Doctors of the Catholic Church. Another theological luminary, St. Thomas Aquinas, often refers to Augustine.
In his Confessions Augustine says that prior to his conversion he was a libertine, flatterer, hedonist and dabbler in just about every philosophy in existence during the early years of Christianity.
Before converting he was a leading scholar and teacher. He had read Plato and Cicero, and became especially fond of Manichaeism.
In 372 he had a son, Adeonatus, out of wedlock.
After years of intervening prayer from his mother, St. Monica, Augustine allegedly “saw the light.”
A passage from the New Testament utterly changed him and he quickly embraced his new-found faith. Adeonatus followed.
Augustine was ordained in 391 and leveled an attack on the non-Christian religions of his day, especially Roman paganism.
In The City of God (413-426) he asks: If the Roman gods are so powerful, why did they allow Rome to fall?
He writes of two cities: one ruled by God and inhabited by the chosen people, the other ruled by the Devil and inhabited by those lost to darkness.
Augustine also refuted the Christian heresies of Donatism and Pelegianism.
His understanding of time is sometimes likened to that of Albert Einstein and Carl Jung‘s but this is a mistake. Augustine’s view of time is rooted within primitive, old-world thinking.
For Augustine God exists above and beyond creation in an eternal present but this does not mean that the past and the future always exist within creation, as some New Age and New Physics thinkers believe.
Rather, time for Augustine is a subjective experience discerned through motion and change.
If the past and future do exist…they are not there as future of past, but as present.” He continues “…it is only possible to see something which exists. So when we speak of foreseeing the future, we do not see things which are not yet in being, that is, things which are future, but it may be that we see their causes or signs, which are already in being.” From this he concludes, “…it is abundantly clear that neither the future nor the past exist, and therefore it is not strictly correct to say that there are three times, past, present, and future. It might be correct to say that there a that there are three times, a present of past things, a present of present things, and a present of future things.
Saint Augustine Of Hippo, Confessions. Trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1961. pp. 267-269.
For Augustine, God knows every event that has happened, is and will happen, not because God is all events and all time but because God creates and exists above and beyond all events and time. God, therefore, has perfect knowledge of past, present and future or, as some writers put it, such knowledge exists “in the mind of God.”†
Thus Augustine’s view of God differs from theorists who tend to associate God with a so-called “world soul” (anima mundi) and from pantheistic philosophers claiming that Creator and Creation are identical or two interconnected phases of one unified process.
For many Christians and other monotheists, God is above and beyond but also immanent within creation–this being a very different conceptualization (with equally different ethical and perhaps experiential implications) that merely saying God is “All That Is.”
On the issue of Free Will vs. Determinism, Augustine essentially says that we are free to make personal choices but God knows in advance how we will choose.
Atheists find this standpoint unsatisfactory, while those who have taken a leap of faith do not. The former tend to want to understand everything with their intellects first. The latter believe that they will be taught by God what they need to know when the time is right.
It seems the two positions (atheism vs. faith-based) represent qualitatively different approaches-that is, different modes of being, experiencing and understanding. Although this claim is complicated by the fact that many say that atheism is founded on belief and furthermore, that the word “faith” has a variety of connotations among believers.
Augustine is also known for articulating the idea of the Just War, a view which some Christians find appalling, regarding it as a Satanic distortion of Jesus’ message, perpetuated by various man-made religious doctrines purporting to be divinely inspired.
†This may seem a trivial distinction to some but it has important implications for discourse on memory, intuition, insight, premonition and precognition and, in particular, the hypothesized mechanisms which would enable these faculties.