Life appeared very early in the planet’s history, earlier than you might have naively guessed. But then for billions of years, it existed only as simple single cells floating in the ocean or sitting in cracks in the rocks. Big complex creatures visible to the naked eye didn’t appear until the planet was two-thirds of the way to its present age. The first insects didn’t appear until nine-tenths of the way to the present, and humans didn’t show up until ninety-nine percent of the way.
Our creation stories start with the assumption that we’re the most important thing in the world, the reason for everything else’s being. The story that science tells relegates us to the periphery. Life has mostly been smaller and simpler than us. I think it’s important to recognize that we might very easily wipe ourselves out, and the microbes will barely have noticed we were even here.