The belief that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing. Biblical creationists believe that the story told in Genesis of God's six-day creation of the universe and all living things is literally correct. Scientific creationists believe that a creator made all that exists, though they may not hold that the Genesis story is a literal history of that creation. Creationism became the object of renewed interest among conservative religious groups following the wide dissemination of the theory of biological evolution, first systematically propounded by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species (1859). In the early 20th century some U.S. states banned the teaching of evolution, leading to the Scopes Trial. In the late 20th century many creationists advocated a view known as intelligent design, which was essentially a scientifically modern version of the argument from design for the existence of God as set forth in the late 18th century by the Anglican clergyman William Paley.
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Symbolic narrative of the creation and organization of the world as understood in a particular tradition. Not all creation myths include a creator, though a supreme creator deity, existing from before creation, is very common. Myths in which the world emerges gradually emphasize the latent power of the earth. In other creation myths, the world is the offspring of primordial parents, derives from a cosmic egg, or is brought up from primordial waters by an animal or devil. Humans may be placed on earth by a god or rise from its depths or from a cultic rock or tree. There are often three stages of creation: that of primordial beings or gods, that of human ancestors who are often semidivine, and that of humans. Creation myths explain or validate basic beliefs, patterns of life, and culture. Rituals dramatize the myth and, particularly in initiations, validate the community's organization and rankings.
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