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Spinoza And God

December 7th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments



spinoza and god
Does Gods infinite quality exist removed from the whole created universe or by the power of his actions? Why?

The question comes from this quote: “God is the infinite and eternal substance of all finite existences, an absolute and unchanging one underlying the finite modes in which it variably manifests itself. Though God for Spinoza is transcendent in the sense of vastly exceeding the world known to man, in no sense does God exist apart from the whole of nature. Spinoza’s view thus sharply departs from that of an orthodox Jewish or Christian theologian. When the latter says that God exists apart, infinitely removed from the whole created universe. When the latter speaks of God as being immanent in that universe, he carefully specifies that it is not by His substance, but by the power of His action and knowledge. But Spinoza calls God “the immanent, and not the transitive, cause of all things,” for the reason that “outside God there can be no substance, that is to say, outside Him nothing can exist which is in itself.” ”

Suppose we limit our discussion for the moment to Spinoza’s view (from his “Ethics”) that “outside of g-d there can be no substance, that is to say, outside of Him nothing can exist which is in itself.” This in no way contradicts the orthodox Jewish view. In fact the orthodox Jewish view that G-d is one (meaning not divisible in any way and also that there is nothing except G-d) is where Spinoza’s view of everything being a “mode” of G-d comes from.

It s true that Spinoza was declared a heretic and “excommunicated.” But not for any claims like this. The differences between Spinoza and orthodox Judaism are so small that most of us are simply incapable of following them. To the typically well read and well educated reader, Spinoza’s view is basically mystical orthodox Judaism.

Atheism or Impersonal God? (for Spinoza)


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