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Catholic Dictionary


THEOPHANY (biblical)


A direct communication or appearance by God to human beings. Instances: God confronting Adam and Eve after their disobedience (Genesis 3:8); God appearing to Moses out of a burning bush (Exodus 3:2-6); Abraham pleading with Yahweh to be merciful to Sodomites (Genesis 18:23). These theophanies were temproary manifestations. They were not like the Incarnation, which, though it began in time, will continue for all eternity. (Etym. Latin theophania; from Greek theophaneia: Theo-, God + phainein, to show.)