I am looking for another word that implies that the world around us is still mysterious, with so much we have yet to discover.

But I'm not talking about "intelligent design' or creationism.

Rather I would like to describe the sense of wonder I feel in contemplating how the planets revolve in their orbits or how all parts of an ecosystem fit together. These things amaze me; that everything is so "right" and it all works.

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    @Sallyz Can you give more information about the context?
    – GetzelR
    Dec 27, 2016 at 17:39
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    Please provide some example sentences in which you would like to use these words.
    – Mick
    Dec 27, 2016 at 17:43
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    – Dan Bron
    Dec 27, 2016 at 18:06
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    If you do not wish to imply "Creationism" or some other religious slant, it would be best to substitute some synonym for "intelligent". For instance, one might say "literate design".
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 27, 2016 at 20:12
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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – MetaEd
    Dec 27, 2016 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


If you're looking for a word for the feeling itself, 'awe' implies both the sense of wonder but also amazement and uncertainty (if that is what you intend to imply). You could also use 'reverence' if you want to imply a certain amount of spiritual influence.

To describe the inclination to explore these feelings, not tied to a particular ideology such as intelligent design, one possibility could be 'mysticism'. Again it has a spiritual leaning without being associated very strongly with one doctrine over another.

  • The problem with awe is it's not specific to the feelings that one gets from observing the mechanics of the universe as a whole. One can be in awe of a great president, for example.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 31, 2016 at 12:58
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    @DanBron, the fact that it can be used in other situations doesn't mean it can't also be used here. As far as I know there isn't a word which exclusively means awe which is induced by nature, but if you are aware of one I'd be interested to hear it. The question as worded asks two different things, my suggestion of 'awe' addresses the request for describing the feeling. Dec 31, 2016 at 13:27
  • I agree it's applicable, but so is amazement, wonder, and so on. It's not a wrong answer by any means, it's just too generic, imo.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 31, 2016 at 13:29
  • I would argue that it's less generic than those two, but the "right" answer partly depends on just how much intelligence of design the OP intends to imply (regardless of my personal opinions on the subject). Dec 31, 2016 at 13:48

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