Spinoza’s God : A pantheistic theory
Indeed, one of the important issues of Spinoza‘s philosophy is to understand the concept of a God “out of religion”. Contrary to the God of religion Spinoza’s God is not a person but a principle. By operating this transmutation of our conception of God, I think Spinoza fight on two fronts:
- Firstly, Spinoza opposes the concept of a personal God. God, conceived as a person, is distinct from finite beings: the figure of Christ that stands against those he taught and those that struggle. In Christian doctrine, the value of one is accompanied by a devaluation of nature (the inner nature of sinful man, and external nature, itself tainted by sin, and now subject to alterations of the time) . Compared to the Christian problem, Spinoza operates a complete reversal: it restores the wild, not as full of beings, but as a process of generation of beings from a single principle. On the anthropological point of view, this means that man is ‘washed’ the original sin, rehabilitated himself in his ability to understand itself in the divine principle and out of it.
- Secondly, Spinoza opposes the Jewish conception of God angry, unpredictable, subject to fear, and yet subject to any negotiations. The Jewish God is a formidable entity at a time and negotiable (in prayer), a punisher and a retributive, that is to say a God essentially oriented toward men. From this perspective, the universe becomes a system of signs, each event is an expression of divine intention for man (see the famous critique of teleology in the appendix to Book I of the Ethics).
In this view, Spinoza opposes the Cartesian mechanism (the beings does not refer to other things and other beings, effect or cause), and also designs a very deep psychological constraints and the Slavery within the passions. What remains about the concept of God after a double purification? In other words, what bring the positive conception of Spinoza’s God?
The various portraits of Spinoza is that atheists have in common is that they focus on two things:
– A hyper-rational approach to comprehensive explanation (it then puts forward the systemic side of his thinking by referring to the geometric method of Ethics)
– The concept of God would be a concession to the times of a thinker too advanced for its time.
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