The energy paradigm arises out of the Alchemists Theory of matter. Because the Alchemists were not able to use the religious terminology on pain of death, they developed analogous concepts. The reigning religious authorities declared God as being immaterial. a ghost, that is a Gust of wind or pure power. Tis power was called later not a gust but an essence a spirit.
The refinement from a Gust of wind to an essence was a retraction under scientific pressure. The church had to explain how God was different from his creation, and reason dictated that the synonomous relation between man made power and god made power, explosions and man controlled release of working machines compared with lightning and wind and living things, meant that it was a mater of scale. This was not agood enough distinction, and so the notion of spirit was invented.
In a similar way scientists and Alchemists prior to them wanted to use this abstract notion of spirit, but they were not allowed. Eventually they settled on the measurable notion of work done which in the greek is called energia.
Thus the notion of Energy was synonomous to spirit, but not allowed to be equal to it! This was because it had mans hands all over it as a concept!
The concept of the material world was divided into Earth Water, Air and Fire, Actually it was not quite as neat as this.In some Schemes Wood figured highlyreplacing earth, as did metal. These lists were not descriptions of the reality of all matter, they were descriptions of distinctions Alchemists could make in how matter was structured. More research extended these lists refined these distinctions and fueled further research and reasoning.
Shaking off the religious and Alchemical consensus pragmatic and philosophical investigators began t develop more detailed and complex lists of what came to be called Elements. Light and heat was considered an element, but with subject boundaries light was moved out of the subject of Chemistry and left in the Philosophical subject of physics.
That all these things were aspects of some essential substance which came to be called energy was an analogy driven by the religious model that explained everything in a simple concept called spirit. Simple but profound. That means complexity is hidden behind a simple looking word.
Energy could not take form scientifically until a mathematical definition of it gave it some labels to associate to it . This was "good" because it meant that energy was "spiritual", only perceivable by mathematical symbols! However these labels were symbols for defined quantity measures, and these measures arise out of ratios of magnitudinal experiences. Thus we revert to the sensory perception of our group "mind", and our group mind sets cultural limitations on these concepts and paradigms.
There were many contenders for the notion of power, but these were all settled into relative positions in a complete theory proposed by Einstein as momentum, kinetic energy and force and finally rest energy.
The spirit analogy for Energy is a tangible thing, and what it means is that those who hold a religious view can equally use the current scientific theories to describe their understanding of spirit, just as scientists can use energy to explain their observation of empirical behaviour. What we have is a dualism that polarises for some, unites for others.