The current scientific view is that the Universe appeared from a “big bang” about 13.8 billion years ago. The Big Bang is still quite puzzling – what was there beforehand? Is it a cycle that keeps repeating? Will our universe keep expanding forever? More puzzling, is that there wasn’t a singularity from which the big bang originated – it didn’t begin from a point. It began from everywhere.
One of the current theories is that the big bang was the result of collision of two separate universes (actually branes, the ekpryrotic model), and the expansion of our universe is the result of these two universes pulling away from each other. This is fascinating stuff to read about – the cutting edge of physics is more interesting than the best science fiction. Unfortunately it is hard to verify in our own personal lives. We’ll revisit this later in our discussion about consciousness and what it might be.
Meanwhile, consider the timeline below:
Our solar system formed about 5 billion years ago, with the creation of Earth about 4.6 billion years ago as the planets started to take shape.
The earliest forms of life appeared on Earth about 4.1 billion years ago, and the process of evolution lead to mammals appearing about 225 million years ago. Mankind and our immediate ancestors have only been around for a few million years.