Observations placeholder

Spinoza, Baruch - Ethics - On the nature of God



Type of Spiritual Experience


Spinoza's argument in the following quote is that essentially, God's intellect had to come first and so cannot be our intellect.

I think this argument is weak. It does not logically follow. The attributes could be the same, it is just that we received a copy of them later. I think a better argument is that the intellect needed to form the creation has to be different from ours simply on the basis of the complexity and enormity of the task.

But the very fact that God has functions in addition to those which the creation has means that we will never ever be able to know God, even if we were so intellectually gifted as to discover all the functions of the galaxy [or whatever area God is responsible for]. There are functions of which we cannot conceive that form God.

A description of the experience

Baruch Spinoza - Ethics

If will and intellect do pertain to the eternal essence of God, we must understand by each of these attributes something different from what men commonly understand.

If intellect pertains to the divine nature, it will not be able to be (like our intellect) by nature either posterior to, or simultaneous with, the things understood, since God is prior in causality to all things..... as God's intellect.... is really the cause both of the essence and the existence of things. This seems also to have been noticed by those who assert that God's intellect, will and power are one and the same.

Since God's intellect is the only cause of things, it must necessarily differ from [human intellect]. For what is caused differs from its cause.

The source of the experience

Spinoza, Baruch

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps