A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.
The second person of the Trinity, made man, seen as the origin or beginning and end or purpose of creation. This concept of a "world-Christ," that some have mistakenly understood in a pantheistic sense, is a favored theme of St. Paul. He describes Christ as "the image of the unseen God and the first-born of all creation, for in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers--all things were created through Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:12-14). The "Cosmic Christ" is sometimes distinguished from the "Redemptive Christ," and understood in the sense that God would have become man even though man had not sinned, out of sheer love of man and for the perfection of the universe.
The term was used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), according to whom the whole universe, with Christ as Ruler, is the true fullness of Christianity. As a result, all things are already permeated with a special presence of God, and correspondingly the whole world shares in the fruits of salvation. (Etym. Greek kosmos, order; the world, universe.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.