"This book examines the concepts of cause and effect from two dimensions. The first concerns the macrocosm of the Universe and how each belief system views creation. The second dimension explores the ways in which beliefs about creation influence the microcosmic world in terms of the nature of the self, the proximate goals within each system, the answers each belief system offers to the presence of evil and suffering in existence, and ideas about the ultimate goal of release from them. All these ideas inform and are fundamental to the understanding of the present-day practices of different faiths, presenting challenges for scriptural testimony balanced with existential living. The final two chapters explore current research in physics concerning the beginnings of the cosmos and what implications such research might have for existence within it, with the final chapter examining scientific views of the nature of the self."