Who is Spinoza's god

Spinoza's concept of nature

The relevance

In Spinoza's time, as well as today, many people believe in a transcendent Creator God. They fear God's “punishments” and hope to be able to influence him positively through prayers. In Spinoza's eyes that is superstition. God is not a person but the totality of nature. Not transcendence, but pure immanence. This view has consequences for our life practice: Instead of praying, it is important to understand the laws of nature, logic and psychology. This is how we overcome our limited point of view and irrational affects. Spinoza's views led to his exile from his Jewish community, but later inspired Goethe, Schelling and Hegel, among others. They still look amazingly modern today.

The quote

“(It) follows (...) that by 'creative nature' we have to understand that which is in and is understood by itself, or those attributes of substance which express eternal and infinite being, d. H. (...) God, insofar as he is regarded as a free cause. By "created nature" I mean everything that follows from the necessity of the nature of God, i.e. H. all forms of existence (modes) of God's attributes, insofar as they are viewed as things which are in God and which without God can neither be nor be understood. "
"Ethics", 29, note (1677)

The explanation

Spinoza identifies God and nature, but makes a fine distinction: In the deeper sense, God is “creating nature”: the active, causative principle of all things. God has infinite "attributes", that is, modes of being, of which man only recognizes two: thinking and expansion. The fundamental laws of the cosmos follow directly from the attributes. The laws of physics result from the expansion. The individual things also follow indirectly, the “created nature” (such as trees and cats), causally necessary from God. Ultimately, all things are “in God”, everything is necessary, everything is determined. It is controversial whether Spinoza's equation of God and nature does not actually mean atheism. •