According to the aztecs, there were two gods who alternately crated the various humanities that have existed: Quetzalcoatl, the beneficent god, the hero-founder of agriculture and industry; and the Black Tezcatlipoca, the all-powerful, multiform, and ubiquitous god, god of darkness, patron of sorcerers and evil ones. The struggle of these two gods is the history of the universe; their alternating victories so many other creations.

Tezcatlipoca, god of darkness

Traditions do not agree concerning the order of the different creations. According to one of them, the first epoch of the world, or the sun, began in this way:

The nocturnal Tezcatlipoca, whose nahual or disguise is the jaguar, its spotted skin resembling the heavens with their myriad stars, was the first to become a sun, and with him began the first era of the world. The first men created by the gods were giants; they neither sowed grain nor tilled the soil, but lived by eating acorns and other fruits and wild roots. Tezcatlipoca was also the constellation of Ursa Major, whom the Aztecs pictured as a jaguar. While he was ruling the world as the sun, his enemy, Quetzalcoatl, struck him a blow with his staff. Tezcatlipoca fell into the water, changing into a jaguar. He devoured the giants and the earth was depopulated and the universe was without a sun This occurred on the day called "4 Jaguar."

Then Quetzalcoatl became the sun, until the jaguar struck him down with a blow of his paw. Then a great wind arose, and all the trees were uprooted, and the greater part of mankind perished. Those men who survived were transformed into monkeys, that is, into subhuman creatures. This took place on the day "4 Wind." Men at that time ate only pine nuts, or acocentli. The creator gods then chose Tlaloc, the god of rain and celestial fire, as the sun, but Quctzalcoatl made fire rain down and men either perished or were changed into birds. This happened on the day "4 Rain." The sustenance of men during this age was a seed called acecentli, or "water corn".

Quetzalcoatl, the god of life

Then Quetzalcoatl selected Tlaloc's sister as the sun. She was the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, "the lady of the jade skirts," goddess of water. But no doubt it was Tezcatlipoca who caused it to rain so hard that the earth was flooded and men either perished or were transformed into fish. This occurred on the day called "4 Water." During this age men ate cencocopi, or teocentli, the ancestor of corn.

Since the sky, which is made of water, had fallen upon the earth, it was necessary for Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl to lift it up so that land might appear again. This is why, in the Codex Vienna [The Codex Vienna is also known as the Codex Vindobonensis. A facsimile was published by Walter Lehmann and Ottokar Smital in 1929 in Vienna] Quetzalcoatl is holding up the sky with his hands.

According to other traditions, the first destruction was by a flood, and men were changed into fish; the second, by fire, and men were changed into birds; the third, by wind, and men were changed into monkeys; and the fourth and last, by jaguars, who devoured the giants, thereby leaving the world depopulated. In support of these traditions there is the fact that the giants, called quinametzin, are already mentioned in historical traditions as inhabiting the earth and fighting with men, principally in the region of Tlaxcala.

On the other hand, the destruction by water, fire, air, and jaguars and the conversion of human beings into fish, birds, monkeys, and giants seem to point toward a concept, not of evolution, but rather of progression, in the various creation attempts made by the gods.