A process of development or unfolding. A dynamic "evolutionary" understanding of the development of the cosmos and the forms of life within it appeared in European thought before the nineteenth century. The theory of evolution was forcefully introduced into the English scene by Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (1859). Darwin argued that new species of animal life evolved over long periods of time from earlier species by wholly natural processes. The theory of evolution was subsequently applied to social as well as natural processes, perhaps without as much empirical foundation.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.