Divine inspiration is the concept of a supernatural force, typically a deity, causing a person or people to experience a creative desire. Divine inspiration has been a commonly reported aspect of many religions, for thousands of years. It was described by Socrates as a form of madness (although not necessarily a bad form), and was a recurrent theme in the writings of Plato. Divine inspiration is described in a number of forms, including epiphany, the sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something, possibly from an internal prompting by a deity; theophany, an appearance of a deity to man; and hierophany, a manifestation of the sacred. Divine inspiration is often closely tied to the concept of revelation, the belief in information being revealed or disclosed through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.
The The Ancient Greek Muses were said to be supernatural forces that gave artists their skill, while the Ancient Greek oracles were said to be subject to supernatural forces. The religious texts of traditions including Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and the Bahá'í Faith are all claimed to be divinely inspired to some degree. In Hinduism, for example, music has historically been considered a medium through which performers can become a vehicle for divine inspiration. Both Jews and Christians claim Biblical inspiration for the parts of the Bible to which they adhere. Some religions, however, reject divine inspiration as a guiding force. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses have at times disclaimed divine inspiration with respect to their doctrine. although at other times they propose that "divine guidance" is provided to individuals.
- M. F. Burnyeat, Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy, Vol 2 (2012), p. 240.
- Bruce M. Sullivan, Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (1997). p. 143.
- "Do We Need Help to Understand the Bible?". The Watchtower: 19. February 15, 1981.
True, the brothers preparing these publications are not infallible. Their writings are not inspired as are those of Paul and the other Bible writers. (2 Tim. 3:16) And so, at times, it has been necessary, as understanding became clearer, to correct views. (Prov. 4:18)
- "Do You See the Evidence of God's Guidance?", The Watchtower, April 15, 2011, pages 3–5, "How, then, do we react when we receive divine direction? Do we try to apply it “right afterward”? Or do we continue doing things just as we have been accustomed to doing them? Are we familiar with up-to-date directions, such as those regarding conducting home Bible studies, preaching to foreign speaking people, regularly sharing in family worship, cooperating with Hospital Liaison Committees, and conducting ourselves properly at conventions? ... Do you clearly discern the evidence of divine guidance? Jehovah uses his organization to guide us, his people, through “the wilderness” during these last days of Satan’s wicked world."