Ideas to prepare us for the future.

Words, ideas and meanings are as dynamic as the evolutionary world in which we live. This glossary is not an exhaustive, systematic work. Instead, the following definitions are intended only as references or starting points for those new to the work of S. Ilia Delio's and Teilhard de Chardin, or curious about the future of scientific and religious thought in general.

  • All
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • M
  • O
  • P
  • Q
  • R
  • S
  • T
  • U
  • W

Anthropic Principle

The principle that states that, since humans are known to exist, the laws of physics must be such that life can exist. The strong version of the anthropic principle states that the universe has been designed for (human) life. The weak version says that conditions were just right in a part of the universe for carbon-based life to appear. (From The Emergent Christ)

Axis Mundi

“Myth begins in humanity’s experience of the sacred which, Mircea Eliade states, is an element in the structure of consciousness, not a stage in the history of events.  He saw the motif of the separation of heaven and earth in creation myths pointing to a fundamental alienation from the primordial unity of spiritual being. Consequently, people could maintain their connection to the spiritual sources of meaning only through an imaginal conduit, an axis mundi, a bond between heaven and earth which became implicitly present in religious ritual and which was embodied architecturally in important temples and sacred sites. The axis mundi ('axis of the world') is an image of connection between the mundane, terrestrial plane and the transcendent home of the spirit(s) above.” (From The Not-Yet God, p. 13).

Big Bang Model

The currently accepted model of the universe, according to which time and space emerged from a hot, dense, compact region about 13.7 billion years ago. (From The Emergent Christ)

Black Hole

A region of space whose immense, dense gravitational field traps anything, even light, that gets too close (closer than the black hole's event horizon). (From The Emergent Christ)

Classical Physics

The physical laws of Newton and Maxwell. The term is generally used to refer to all nonquantum laws of physics, including special and general relativity. (From The Emergent Christ)

Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB)

A pervasive "sea" of electromagnetic radiation (photons) emanating almost uniformly from every direction in the universe, which dates back to the moment of recombination. This radiation, detected by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1965, is the "echo" of the Big Bang. (From The Emergent Christ)


The study of the origin and evolution of the universe. (From The Emergent Christ)


The entire universe. (From The Emergent Christ)


“The integral relationship of God and world is such that God and world form a complementary whole. Panikkar called this God-world unity 'cosmotheandric,' indicating that cosmos, theos, and anthropos are three integral realities. [...] Traditionally, God and the universe have been understood as two realities over against each other, with God reaching into the world to act at particular moments. This common way of imaging the God-world relationship results in an interventionist view of divine action. God is imagined as intervening to create and to move creation in the right direction at certain times. However, God cannot transcend the world without first in some way being in it.” (From The Not-Yet God, p. 17).

Dark Matter

A postulated form of matter, believed to make up a significant fraction of the matter in the universe. It makes its presence felt by its gravity, but it emits little or no visible light. (From The Emergent Christ)

Dual-aspect Monism

“…states that the mental and the material are different aspects or attributes of a unitary reality, which itself is neither mental nor material. They are both properties of one neutral substance x, which is neither physical nor mental. Harald Atmanspacher describes the phenomenon in this way: 'In dual-aspect monism according to Pauli and Jung, the mental and the material are manifestations of an underlying, psychophysically neutral, holistic reality called unus mundus, whose symmetry must be broken to yield, complementary aspects. [...] From the mental, the neutral reality is approached via Jung’s collective unconscious; from the material, it is approached via quantum non-locality. Teilhard held to a dual-aspect monist position to explain evolution […] a specific effect of matter turned complex; he considered matter and consciousness not as “two substances” or “two different modes of existence," but as two aspects of the same cosmic stuff.'” (From The Not-Yet God, p. 23).


From the Greek oikos ("household"), the study of the earth "household," more specifically, the relationships that interlink all members of the earth. (From The Emergent Christ)


The way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence points to novelty in nature that cannot be reduced to their sum or their difference from previous forms or systems. (From The Emergent Christ)


Quantum phenomenon in which spatially distant particles have correlated properties; unmediated action at a distance. A nonlocal interaction links one location with another without crossing space, without decay, and without delay. (From The Emergent Christ)


A measure of the disorder of a physical system; the number of rearrangements of a system's fundamental constituents that leave its gross overall appearance unchanged. (From The Emergent Christ)


The process of development into different and generally more complex and fit forms. (From The Emergent Christ)


A "mist" or "essence" permeating space; it can convey an unseen force or describe the presence/motion of particles. Mathematically, afield involves a number or collection of numbers at each point in space, signifying the field's value. (From The Emergent Christ)

General Relativity

Einstein's theory of gravity, which invokes curvature of space and time. (From The Emergent Christ)


Something that is simultaneously a whole and a part; a whole that is part of other wholes. Holons develop with increasing complexity. (From The Emergent Christ)

Implicate Order

A way of looking at reality not merely in terms of external interactions among things, but in terms of the internal (enfolded) relationships among things; undivided wholeness in flowing movement. (From The Emergent Christ)


Property of an object that resists acceleration. (From The Emergent Christ)

Milky Way

A name given to the galaxy in which our solar system resides. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy containing around 20 billion stars. The sun is located in one of its spiral arms. (From The Emergent Christ)


A self-consistent set of rules and parameters intended to describe mathematically some aspect of the real world. (From The Emergent Christ)

Morphogenetic Field

Unseen forces that preserve the form of self-organizing systems by maintaining order from within. (From The Emergent Christ)


“A myth is always a true story because it narrates a sacred history, not necessarily a factual history, but one that has meaning and value for human life. Myths are true in that they have the symbolic and imaginative power to make us aware of the unity of reality in its greatest depth and breadth.” (From The Not-Yet God, p. 13)

Observable Universe

The part of the universe within our cosmic horizon; the part of the universe close enough so that light emitted can have reached us by today; the part of the universe we can see. (From The Emergent Christ)


An elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction; the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. (From The Emergent Christ)


The minimum units of physical entities involved in an interaction; an entity that is "quantized" is the energy transfer of elementary particles of matter (called fermions) and of photons and other bosons. The word comes from the Latin quantus, meaning "how much." (From The Emergent Christ)

Quantum Mechanics

The theory, developed in the 1920s and 1930s, that describes the realm of atoms and subatomic particles. (From The Emergent Christ)

Red Shift

In cosmology this term is usually associated with the stretching of light waves from a distant galaxy as the universe expands. The galaxy is not receding through space, but the expansion of space itself is causing the red shift. (From The Emergent Christ)

Self-Organizing System

A form or structure that maintains itself from within. (From The Emergent Christ)


The super-dense particle at the core of a black hole, or the location where the quantities that are used to measure the gravitational field become infinite in a way that does not depend on the coordinate system. Singularities can be divided according to whether they are covered by an event horizon or not (naked singularities). According to general relativity, the initial state of the universe, at the beginning of the Big Bang, was a singularity. (From The Emergent Christ)


An integrated whole whose essential properties arise from the relationships among its parts. (From The Emergent Christ)


(From theos [God] + holos [whole]). “Theohology is experiential talk of the God-whole. This new theology or theohology is inspired by quantum physics and a renewed mysticism, in which the higher degrees of consciousness play a fundamental role in one’s experience of the whole.” (From The Not-Yet God, p. 29).

Uncertainty Principle

Property of quantum mechanics in which there is a fundamental limit on how precisely certain complementary physical features can be measured or specified. (From The Emergent Christ)

Web of Life

Interacting network organization of living organisms. (From The Emergent Christ)