Creationism is the religious belief that the universe was made by a creation deity. Creationism first appeared in ancient Pagan religions, and many of the world's cultures have creation myths, despite being widely separated in time and space. This phenomena suggests that a creation mythos may be a human universal, or nearly so. Today, creationism is closely associated with Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but for many thousands of years creationism was a belief unconnected to any of these comparatively modern religions.
Throughout the duration of its lengthy history, creationism has supplied a concrete answer to a long-standing question -- how did Nature get here, and why is it so complex? Until the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1858, there were few viable challengers to the notion that a being purposefully created Nature. However, even among creationists, there was always great disagreement on which god or gods was responsible for the creation of the world. Generally, such beliefs would reflect the local culture and tradition -- the aborigines had Dreamtime, different Native American tribes had their own beliefs, early Europeans believed in a variety of harvest, war, and fertility gods, etc.
In the past couple thousand years, Abrahamic religions have spread over much of the face of the Earth, converting billions and associating creationism with the idea of a specific Abrahamic god. Many creationists reject evolution, arguing that Christian creation theology should be taught in science classrooms alongside Darwinian theory. Most scientists vehemently reject creationism, and the controversy rages on. Creationists vary to the degree in which they conceive of their god or gods as an active participant in the unfolding of the cosmos or just an initial creator and subsequent observer. Many creationists believe in Darwinian evolution, saying that though their god initially created the universe at its beginning, he did not create individual animals, which instead evolved over billions of years from unicellular ancestors. This stance has been termed theistic evolution.
Around 1929, the term "creationism" began being associated in the United States strongly with a new wave of Christian fundamentalism, particularly popular in the nation's Midwest. These new creationists emphasized a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, which states that the world and all its initial inhabitants, including the ancestors of all living humans and animals, were created in seven days approximately 6,000-10,000 years ago, depending on their interpretation of the genealogies of the Bible. These creationists are some of the most enthusiastic advocates of the idea of creationism, and clash most strongly with anti-creationist scientists.