We cannot go as far back as the first intellectual discussions human beings had about the world, but as far back as we are able to go we find reflected in our beliefs the dichotomy between good things happening and bad things happening. Born from the experience of everyday living and from the observation that luck exists, that some people survive and some do not with no discernible reason why one is chosen over another. This is an observation still relevant today.
The idea that the good things and the bad things are presided over by some agency with greater powers to guide events is a logical step and therefore the first gods like Moloch needed to be appeased. And so we see the beginnings of the whole idea that human beings have no power, a principle which science challenges by telling us that what we really lack is knowledge. We all know today that burning a baby in front of a stone statue will not help us one whit with anything, but we still know there are good things and bad things that can happen with seemingly no logic.
The reason it still persists is the idea of self – we all live inside our heads and have a very clear idea of self – but nature does not. Just as we can kill a cow and eat it and say ‘there’s another one over there’ so it makes no difference to nature and so nature can kill one person and still know there are others ‘over there’.
Nature knows us only as a species, not as individuals.