No single or unitary concept exists in the Bible. There is in the OT a strong sense of the created order, from which God as its maker is entirely distinct, but there is no conception of the universe as a system to be explored, explained, and loved. The NT has several words in Greek translated ‘world’ of which kosmos is the most frequent, meaning the universe (Acts 17: 24). A second word is oikoumene (e.g. Heb. 1: 6), meaning the inhabited world; and, thirdly, aion used for the contrast between ‘this world’ and ‘the world to come’. Paul exhorts his readers not to be conformed to this world, aion, or age (Rom. 12: 2). According to John, the world was made through Christ (John 1: 3), taking up the OT idea of the word in Prov. 8: 22, but yet the world apart from Christ stands under judgement (John 16: 8–11). In this derogatory sense, the world is to be renounced (1 John 2: 15–17), though Jesus did not want the disciples to withdraw from the world (John 17: 15) in the sense of society. Nor did Paul (1 Cor. 5: 10).
Subjects: Biblical Studies.