For as long as there have been humans, there have been creation stories. Unlike—presumably—the other life forms with whom we share this small planet, we seem to have an innate curiosity about where we come from and a deep need for stories that explain our existence and our origins.
Also, since time immemorial, humans have stared up into the night sky and wondered about the stars, the movements of the planets, the great, ever-turning wheels of night and day and season and how it all came to be.
Some creation stories—such as those of indigenous peoples and those of our ancient ancestors—seem quaint and fanciful to us now. Yet creation stories have always served as containers for the beliefs and values of a society. They unite us, guide us, give us a sense of purpose.
In our own times, finding ourselves as we do in an increasingly divided and fragmented world and facing the consequences of our own unbridled population growth, our thoughtless squandering of resources and the damage we have done to our ecosystems and our climate, we are floundering for lack of a cohesive story.
And yet, now, there is one. For the first time in history, thanks to the endless curiosity that birthed science and the amazing technology it has spawned, we are able to probe inwards to the depths of matter and outwards to the immensity of space. And now, at last, we know our true creation story—well, quite a lot of it anyway. We know the story of our planet’s birth and development, brilliantly articulated by Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme in their book The Universe Story. Thanks to them, and thanks to Darwin and all who have followed in his footsteps to trace the path of evolution, we understand enough about ourselves to use the lessons of the past to create for ourselves a green and sustainable future and move into what Swimme and Berry called The Ecozoic Era. If we are wise enough and heed those lessons, that is. Let’s hope we are.
In the pages below you will find more detailed material about the origins of our planet and of ourselves and some thoughts on how this understanding might affect the way we live our lives.
Cosmology is all about our planet’s place in the story of the Universe …
…and evolution is all about our place in the planet’s story