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Spinoza, Baruch - Ethics - God as the ultimate cause



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A description of the experience

Baruch Spinoza - Ethics

Everyone, of course, must concede that nothing can either be or be conceived without God.  For all confess that God is the only cause of all things; both of their essence and of their existence.  That is, God is not only the cause of the becoming to be of things ….. but also of their being.............

There must be, for each existing thing, a certain cause on account of which it exists.  That this cause … either must be contained in the very nature and definition of the existing thing or must be outside it..........

It is to be inferred absolutely that whatever is of such a nature that there can be many individuals, must, to exist have an external cause...........

To be able to exist is to have power.  So if what now necessarily exists are only finite beings, the finite beings are more powerful than an absolutely infinite being.  But this, as is known through itself, is absurd.  So, either nothing exists or an absolutely infinite Being also exists.  But we exist, either in ourselves, or in something else, which necessarily exists.  Therefore an absolutely infinite Being – that is God – necessarily exists.........

If there can be no reason or cause which prevents God from existing or which takes his existence away,  it must certainly be inferred that he necessarily exists.  But if there were such a reason, or cause, it would have to be either in God's very nature or outside it, that is, in another substance of another nature.  For if it were of the same nature, that very supposition would concede that God exists.  But a substance which was of another nature would have nothing in common with God and therefore could neither give him existence nor take it away.  Since then, there can be, outside the divine nature, no reason or cause which takes away the divine existence, the reason will necessarily have to be in his nature itself, if indeed he does not exist.  That is, his nature would involve a contradiction.  But it is absurd to affirm this of a Being absolutely infinite and supremely perfect.  Therefore, there is no cause, or reason, either in God or outside God which takes his existence away.  And therefore God necessarily exists.

The source of the experience

Spinoza, Baruch

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