Cosmology, the Origin of Hierarchy

Cosmology, the Origin of Hierarchy: An Essay Review on the Thought of Max Wildiers
Lawrie Lyons, October 2001



Lawrie Lyons BA DSc PhD, Emeritus Professor of the University of Queensland, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Fellow of ISCAST


The ancient Greek world-picture was adopted by 13th century and other theologians who, however, added a sphere for angels and spirits. The entire cosmos was seen to be anthropocentric and arranged in a perfect hierarchical order that was immutable. Man, consequently, should realise in himself that perfect order seen around him.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, new social and political structures were set up to fulfil the universal desire for order. States and the church too showed not only order but also hierarchy. Christ exemplified perfect order and restored order to sinful earth, so that world-picture and religious outlook were synthesised.

In the 17th century especially, the medieval world-picture was demolished, science and religion becoming separated. Later the adoption of evolutionary ideas extended the separation, and various views resulted: deism, pantheism and atheism all gained adherents. Hierarchical structures persist today in - for example - the Roman Catholic Church, but they have been replaced in many states and some other churches.

Teilhard de Chardin endeavoured to synthesise an evolutionary world-picture and theology. Wildiers, his editor and friend, gives an account of Teilhard's views.


Key words

Medieval theology, hierarchy, order, Copernicus, Darwin, dynamic universe, Teilhard.

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