By Dr. Shadee Elmasry
Logic, astronomy, and physics confirm that this universe had a beginning. This means that before that moment, known as the Big Bang, there was absolutely nothing. No matter, no energy, no time, and no space. Then suddenly, the universe came into existence. Nothing material could have brought it into being because matter hadn't existed yet. Only something non-material and not dependent on time, space, matter, cause & effect, made this all exist.
Of course, the universe could not have created itself because this would entail existing and not existing at the same time.
Further, the external force that made it must be personal. In other words, it must be alive, self-aware, and "chose" to make the universe the way it is, with its precise laws of nature. Something non-material that is *not* personal is what we call an abstract idea. Abstract ideas have neither will nor power. They don't even have life, so they definitely cannot create life.
This is what we call a cosmology, namely, drawing logical conclusions about our existence based on observations.
A cosmology leads us to the existence of a creator and some of the creator's attributes (life, knowledge, power, will). It's a thing of beauty.
And yet, humanity still needs more. There are spiritual and ethical questions that cosmology alone cannot supply. This is why revelation (wahy) is necessary. In tandem, cosmology + revelation is what allows our religion to navigate a pluralistic world in which competing beliefs are at play and in competition.