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For other uses, see Cosmos (disambiguation).
The Ancient and Medieval cosmos as depicted in Peter Apian's Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539).

The cosmos /ˈkɒzmɒs/ is a complex and orderly system, such as the Universe; the opposite of chaos. It is the Universe regarded as an ordered system.[1] The philosopher Pythagoras is regarded as the first person to apply the term cosmos (Ancient Greek: κόσμος) to the order of the Universe. The 19th century geographer and polymath, Alexander von Humboldt, resurrected the modern use of the word cosmos from the ancient Greek, assigned it to his multi-volume treatise, Kosmos, and, along the way, influenced our present and somewhat holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity.[2][3]


Cosmology is the study of the cosmos in several of the above meanings, depending on context. All cosmologies have in common an attempt to understand the implicit order within the whole of being. In this way, most religions and philosophical systems have a cosmology.

Cosmology is a branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of the universe, a theory or doctrine describing the natural order of the universe.[4] The basic definition of Cosmology is the science of the origin and development of the universe. In modern astronomy the Big Bang theory is the dominant postulation.

In physical cosmology, the term cosmos is often used in a technical way, referring to a particular spacetime continuum within the (postulated) multiverse. Our particular cosmos, the observable universe, is generally capitalized as the Cosmos.


In theology, the cosmos is the created heavenly bodies (sun, moon, planets, and "fixed stars"), not including the Creator. In Christian theology, the word is also used synonymously with aion[5] to refer to "worldly life" or "this world" or "this age" as opposed to the afterlife or World to Come. The cosmos as originated by Pythagoras is parallel to the Zoroastrian term aša, the concept of a divine order, or divinely ordered creation.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Definition in Merriam-Webster dictionary
  2. ^ von Humboldt, Alexander; translated from German by E. O. Otté (1860). Cosmos: a sketch of a physical description of the universe 1. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 69. 
  3. ^ Walls, L. D. (2009). "Introducing Humboldt’s Cosmos". Minding Nature. August: 3–15. 
  4. ^ cosmology - Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Concerning Aion and Aionios". Saviour of All Fellowship. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 

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