In the beginning there was darkness. Then there was light. Then there was consciousness. Then there were questions and then there was religion. Religions sprouted up all over the world as a response to some of humanity's most troubling questions and fears. Why are we here? Where do we come from? Why does the world and nature act as it does? What happens when you die?
Religions tended to answer all these questions with stories of gods and goddesses and other supernatural forces that were beyond the understanding of humans. Magic, in it's essence, were the powers wielded by these superior beings that caused the unexplainable to happen.
Fast forward a few thousand years to the present. In our age and time there is little left unexplained. Science seems able to explain everything with mathematical logic and concrete evidence right before our very eyes. The subject of science is taught in almost every school on Earth. Gone are the days of magic and wonder. The magic of so-called magicians like David Copperfield are a jest. When people attend a magic show everyone looks for the invisible wires and hidden projectors. No one really believes the magician has supernatural powers, except for maybe a handful of children in the audience who still have faith in Santa Clause.
Science does seem to explain all. It has enabled humans to fly, cure incurable diseases, explore the depths of the oceans, stave off death, walk on the moon and wipe out entire civilizations with the push of a button. It is becoming more and more widespread in that people are putting their faith in science above that in the gods. What parent wouldn't rather bring their sick child to a doctor than have faith in the healing power of some mystical entity that may or may not exist.
However strong and almost perfect the view of science is in today's society it cannot and does not cover the entire spectrum of the human experience. Nor does it explain some of the striking similarities present in the various religions of Earth. These similarities occur in civilizations not only far from each other but also in cultures separated by seemingly impossible to traverse oceans of water. Many of these similarities occur in the cosmological or creation myths of the various religions.
In the Bible and other in other comparable ancient literatures, creation is a theme expressed in parables or stories to account for the world. In almost every ancient culture the universe was thought of as darkness, nothing and chaos until order is induced by the divine creative hand. The type of order envisioned varied from culture to culture. In the Biblical perspective, it was envisioned that light should be separated from dark, day from night; and that the various forms of plant and animal life be properly categorized. Although the figure differ from myth to myth, all the ancient stories intend to give a poetic accounting for cosmic origins. When viewed in terms of creational motifs, the stories tend to be similar.
Some myths of creation include myths of emergence, as from a childbearing woman, or creation by the marriage of two beings representing the heavens and earth. A common feature of some Hindu, African and Chinese myths is that of a cosmic egg from which the first humans are "hatched" from. In other cultures, it must be brought up from primordial waters by a diver, or is formed from the dismembered body of a preexisting being. Whether the deity uses preexisting materials, whether he leaves his creation once it is finished, how perfect the creation is, and how the creator and the created interact vary among the myths. The creation story also attempts to explain the origins of evil and the nature of god and humanity.
An example of two different religions containing various aspects of each other could be that of the creation myth of Christianity and aspects of creationism found in African religion. The...