A creation story is a traditional account of how the world and/or humans came into existence. Such stories vary greatly across different cultures.
- In the Navajo Creation story, the Insect People traveled through four separate world before creating the first man and women in the Fifth World, bounded by four sacred mountains fastened to the Earth by a lightning bolt, a stone knife, a sunbeam, or a rainbow.
- In the Australian Aborigine story the world was lifeless but all the prerequisites of life were there, then time split apart, and life burst forth. The watering holes which were previously only holes in the surface of the planet, became watering holes. The Ancestors emerged from the watering holes covered in mud. They opened their eyes and sang themselves into different animals.
- In the Jewish/Christian creation story (Genesis 2 , Genesis 1 has a different order), God creates the first man Adam out of clay, then creates all the animals to be named by Adam. Then God creates the first women Eve out of Adam's rib. The two are given free reign over the magical garden they live in with the exception of a magical tree. However, a talking snake convinces Eve to eat of the magical tree, and Eve convinces Adam to eat from it too. This provides the two with knowledge of right and wrong. In order to protect God's other magical tree, Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden.
- In the Apache creation story, there was nothing, then suddenly a disk appeared and the creator woke up as if from a nap. The creator promptly looked around creating the dawn. The creator rubbed his face with his hands, then rubbed his hands together to create Girl-Without-Parents, Sun-God, and Small-Boy. The four rubbed their hand together to create a ball of dirt, and took turns kicking it to make it bigger to become the Earth.
- In the Norse creation story, the Earth was created out of the body of Ymir killed by Odin, Vili, and Vé, when the sons of Bor carried his body to the middle of Ginnungagap and made the seas and lakes out of his blood, the earth from his flesh, trees from his hair and mountains from his bones, rocks and pebbles from his teeth and broken bones. Midgard (Earth) was created as an inner stronghold (for the sons of Bor) out of Ymir's eyebrows. The first man (Ask) and women (Embla) were created out of trees found walking on the beach by Odin. Vili gave them understanding and movement, Vé gave them clothing and names.
The modern, scientific understanding of how the universe began (and how the Earth was formed, and how life arose, and how humans evolved) can be seen as the latest in a long line of creation stories. In fact, Creationists (and postmodernist philosophers) sometimes try to represent these scientific theories as merely stories, on par with any of the others humans have invented through history. The modern explanations, however, are the only ones that have been based on careful analysis of scientific data. As such, they are the only "stories" that can be — and have been — successfully tested against observations of how the world actually works today.