Science has had a decisive role is demolishing the ancient cosmos. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton and Halley have joined together to leave the cosmos in fatal tatters. I am not an expert on these scientists, but I doubt that any of them were conscious of what they had done. I can’t recall any of them leaving a written mention of the word cosmos describing what the word meant. Even in our own time we are entertained by the TV series Cosmos which appears to be unaware that cosmos is a theological term. Carl Sagan explained within the series that cosmos is a simple word for order. If this were true cosmos could not be a synonym for universe.
Sagan made no mention of Pythagoras who was the first to apply the word cosmos to the universe. Plato and Aristotle acknowledged Pythagoras and added definitions to the cosmos: the planets moved in perfect circles; beginning with the sphere of the moon and outwards the universe was made of eternal matter; the Earth stood at the center of the cosmos; the stars are equally distant from Earth; the motion of bodies on Earth was explained in terms of the four elements, earth,water,air and fire. With these definitions disproved, Pythagoras’ universe-cosmos was also disproved. The meaning of cosmos was demoted from the theological level to its prior meaning, simple order.
If this was what Sagan meant by cosmos how could his TV series be named COSMOS? Did Sagan have a conception of the cosmos that prevailed for two thousand years until the revolutionaries? If he did why did he never describe it? Is science aware that cosmos was an theological optical illusion that science has destroyed? This was a great accomplishment. Cosmos is over as an astronomical conception. Nothing in astronomy is clarified or enhanced by continuing to use the word cosmos. Cosmos is no longer a synonym for universe. If cosmos is a simple word for order as Sagan has stated it does not apply to the universe. If Sagan like the theologian Pythagoras saw God’s creative intention in the universe then cosmos is not a simple word for order. It is a theological affirmation that steps beyond the boundary of science.
Cosmos was associated with a model of an eternal universe such as the Hebrew cosmos and the Greek cosmos. Our universe is not a cosmos. Our universe has a history. Our universe is in the process of creation. Aristotle recommended contemplation of the universe-cosmos as the highest possible activity for the human intellect. Today contemplation of the universe is not the highest possible activity of the human intellect. Today speculation regarding the divine creative intent is the highest possible activity of the human intellect.