Abu Simbel Small temple in egypt, entrance

In the beginning...

Creation myths are common throughout human culture

Mainstream scientific theories hold that life came into existence and developed through natural causes. But many cultures have developed alternative explanations for our existence.
The world that we live in contains a rich tapestry of cultures, and each one has its own beliefs about where we come from. These explanations frequently draw upon common themes – a supreme creator being or beings; the stars, planets and heavenly bodies; or important features of the environment such as mountains or lakes.


The Inuit, who live on the ice from Greenland to Alaska, believe that one day land rose out of the water and a raven secured this floating land by stabbing its beak into it.

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, the god Ra arose from a blue lotus flower after an interaction between the primordial forces of water, air, darkness and eternity. Ra created a wife called Hathor, and they had a son called Horus.

Lead image:

Mark Fischer/Flickr CC BY


About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Evolution’ in January 2007 and reviewed and updated in December 2014.

Ecology and environment, History
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development