Benedictus de Spinoza

Edited by J E Bradburn


Concerning God


1 By that which is self-caused, I mean that of which the essence involves existence, or that of which the nature is only conceivable as existent (a brief precise statement of what a word or expression means).

2 A thing is called finite after its kind, when it can be limited by another thing of the same nature; for instance, a body is called finite because we always conceive another greater body. So, also, a thought is limited by another thought, but a body is not limited by thought, nor a thought by body.

3 By substance, I mean that which is in itself, and is conceived (form an idea or concept of something in your mind) through itself: in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception.  

4 By attribute, I mean that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance (to be, amount to, or have the status of a particular thing)

5 By mode, I mean the modifications (Affections) of substance, or that which exists in, and is conceived through, something other than itself.

6 By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite—that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality (of the highest importance for achieving something).

Explanation: I say absolutely infinite, not infinite after its kind: for, of a thing infinite only after its kind, infinite attributes may be denied; but that which is absolutely infinite, contains in its essence whatever expresses reality, and involves [or tolerates] no negation (the denying, disproving, or nullifying or make something invalid)

7 That thing is called free, which exists solely by the necessity of its own nature, and of which the action is determined by itself alone (God sealed Himself alone in His tabernacle). On the other hand, that thing is necessary, or constrained, which is determined by something external to itself to a fixed and definite method of existence or action [The Spirit of God moved]

8 By eternity, I mean existence itself, in so far as it is conceived necessarily to follow solely from the definition of that which is eternal.

Explanation—Existence of this kind is conceived as an eternal truth, like the essence of a thing,  and, therefore, cannot be explained by means of continuance (the period of time that something lasts or continues) or time, though continuance may be conceived without a beginning or end.

Axioms (a statement or idea that people accept as self-evidently true)

1 Everything which exists either in itself or in something else.

2 That which cannot be conceived through anything else must be conceived through itself. 

3 From a given definite cause an effect necessarily follows; and, on the other hand, if no definite cause be granted, it is impossible that an effect can follow.

4 The knowledge of an effect depends on and involves the knowledge of a cause.

5 Things which have nothing in common cannot be understood, the one by means of the other; the conception of one does not involve the conception of the other [Beginning and the end] [Paradise regained].

6 A true idea must correspond with its’ ideate or object (to form an idea of something, or form ideas).

7 If a thing can be conceived as none—existing, its essence does not involve existence. To get the best out of THE DISPENSATIONAL PLAN OF THE BIBLE it is essential to use the Companion Bible, and the notes & appendixes imparted therein by E.W. Bullinger; are for our use in the understanding of our studies of God’s Word. Studying this page alone will bestow knowledge and wisdom to the reader, and needless to say; the rewards afforded through the diligent working of the facts presented are tenfold.



PROP 1 Substance is by nature prior to its modifications.

Proof—this is clear from Definition 3 & 5

PROP 2 Two substances [Inner spirit], whose attributes are different, have nothing in common; [Correct] For each must exist in itself, and be conceived through itself; in other words, the conception of one does not imply the conception of the other. People born in this flesh age of over 6000 years beginning with Adam & Eve) Genesis 3:3 (KJV) But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis 2:7 (KJV) And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.    When we die: Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV) Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

PROP 3 Things which have nothing in common cannot be one the cause of the other. “They do have something in common; both are created by God.” Q.E.D. = "that which was to be demonstrated"

His Proof: If they have nothing in common, it follows that one cannot be apprehended (to grasp the importance (significance, or meaning of something) by means of the other and, therefore, one cannot be the cause of the other.

Proof: Jeremiah 32:27-35 (KJV) Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?”

PROP 4 Two or more distinct things are distinguished one from the other, either by the difference of the attributes (spirit/flesh) of the attributes of the substances, or by the difference of their modifications (made a few modifications to the original design)

His Proof: Everything which exists, exists either in itself or in something else --that is by (Def 3 & 5), nothing is granted in addition to the understanding, (and what it means) except substance and its modifications. Nothing is, therefore, given besides the understanding, by which several things may be distinguished one from the other, except the substances, or by the difference of the modifications.


Genesis 2:1—3, 15—25 (KJV)

01 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.”

02And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

03And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

04These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,”

05And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

06But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.”

07 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

08And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”

09 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden,”

15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:”

17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

18And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

19And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

20And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

21And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”

22And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”


Genesis 3:11—18 (KJV)

11 And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;”

18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;”


PROP 5 There cannot exist in the universe two or more substances (a kind of matter or material) having the same nature or attribute.  The Parable of The Wheat &Tares


Matthew 13:24 -37- 43 (KJV)

24. “Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:’”

25. But while men slept, his enemy [Satan] came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.”

27. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seeds in thy field? From whence then hath it tares?”

28. “He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, ‘Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?’”

29. But he said, Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.”

30. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

37. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;’”

38. The field is the world [or earth]; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”

39.The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.”

40. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.”

41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;”

42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”


His Proof: If several distinct substances be granted, they must be distinguished (revealed)  [one from the other], either by the difference of their attributes (to think of something as caused by a particular circumstance) or by the difference of their modifications (Prop 4). If only by the difference of their attributes, it will be granted that there cannot be more than one with an identical attribute. If by the difference of their modifications—as substance is naturally prior to its modifications (Prop 1),--it follows that setting the modifications aside, and considering substance in itself, that is truly, (Definition 3 & 4), there cannot be conceived one substance different from another,--that is by (Prop 4), there cannot be granted several substances, but one substance only. Q.E.D. (that which was to be demonstrated) 6: One substance cannot be produced by another substance (a kind of matter or material) unless it is fallen earth.

His Proof:--It is impossible that that there should be in the universe two substances with an identical attribute, i.e. which have anything common to them both (Prop 2), one cannot be the cause of the other (Unless intervention by our God Who deemed it necessary).


Jeremiah 32:27-35 (KJV) Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?”


Neither can one be produced by the other Q.E.D. "that which was to be demonstrated" Statement easily proved from another.






Corollary (logic: a proposition that follows, with little or no further reasoning, from the proof of another). Hence it follows that a substance cannot be produced (by human beings) by anything external to itself. For in the universe nothing is granted, save substances and their modifications (as appears from Ax1, and Definition 3 & 5.). Now (by the last Proposition.) substance cannot be produced by another substance, therefore it cannot be produced by another substance; therefore it cannot be produced by anything external to itself. Q.E.D. This is shown more readily by the absurdity (ridiculousness because of being irrational, incongruous, or illogical) of the contradictory (something that has aspects that are illogical or inconsistent with each other), For, if substance be produced by an external cause, the knowledge of it would depend on the knowledge of its cause (Ax 4), and by (Definition 3.) it would itself not be substance.


PROPOSAL 7 Existence belongs to the nature of substance.

His Proof—Substance cannot be produced by anything external (Corollary, Prop 6), it must, therefore, be its own cause—that is, its essence necessarily involves existence, or existence belongs to its nature.

PROPOSAL 8. Every substance is necessarily infinite.

His Proof—There can only be one substance with an identical attribute (to think of something as caused by a particular circumstance), and existence follows from its nature (Prop7); its nature, therefore, involves existence, either as finite or infinite, for (by Def 2.) it would be limited by something else of the same kind, which would also necessarily exist (Prop 7); and there would be two substances with an identical attribute (to think of something as caused by a particular circumstance) see Genesis 1—3 (KJV) which is absurd (Prop 5). It therefore exists as infinite.


Note 11—No doubt it will be difficult for those who think about things loosely, (not firmly fastened or fixed in place) and have not been accustomed to know them by their primary causes, to comprehend the demonstration of (Prop 7): for such persons make no distinction (a difference between two or more people or things, or the recognition of such a difference) between the modifications  of substance and substances themselves, and are ignorant of the manner in which things are produced; hence they may attribute to substances the beginning of which they observe in natural objects. Those who are ignorant of true causes, make complete confusion—think that trees may talk just as well of men—that men might be formed from stones as well as from seed; and imagine that any form might be changed into any other. So, also, those who confuse the two natures, Devine and Human, readily attribute human passions to the deity, especially so long as they do not know how passions originate in the mind. But, if people would consider the nature of substance, they would have no doubt about the truth of Prop 7. In fact, this proposition would be a universal axiom (a statement or idea that people accept as self-evidently true), and accounted a truism. For, by substance, eternal (something that lasts for all time without beginning or end). Would be understood that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself—that is something of which the conception requires and not the conception of anything else; whereas modifications exist in something external to themselves, and a conception of them is formed by means of a conception (a general understanding of something) of the thing in which they exist. Therefore, we may have true ideas of non-existent—modifications; for, although they have no actual existence apart from the conceiving intellect, yet their essence is so involved in something external to themselves that they may be through it be conceived. Whereas the only truth substances can have, external to the intellect, must consist in their existence, because they are conceived though themselves; God and Elohim.

Therefore, a person to say that he has a clear and distinct—that is, a true idea of a substance, but that he is not sure whether such substance exists, would be the same as if he had a true idea, but was not sure whether or not it was false (a little consideration would make this plain); or if anyone affirmed that substance is created, Genesis 2:7 (KJV) “and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” it would be the same as saying that a false idea was true—in short, the height of absurdity. It must, then, necessarily be admitted that the existence of substance as its essence is an ETERNAL TRUTH. And we can hence conclude bt another reason by another process of reasoning—that there is but one such substance: God Almighty.

And we can hence conclude by another process of reasoning—that there is but one such substance; (God the Father.) I think that this may profitably be done at once; and, in order to proceed regularly with the demo0nstration, we must premise (a proposition that forms the basis of an argument or from which a conclusion is drawn)—


1.      The true definition of thing neither involves nor expresses anything beyond the nature of the thing defined. From this it follows that—j

2.      No definition implies or expresses a certain number of individuals, insomuch as it expresses nothing beyond the nature of the thing defined. For instance, the definition of a triangle expresses nothing beyond the actual nature of the triangle: it does not imply any fixed number of triangles.

3.      There is necessarily for each individual existent (real or actual, not imagined or invented) thing a cause why it should exist.

4.      This case of existence must either be contained in the nature and definition of the thing defined., or must be postulated (to assume or suggest that something is true or exists, especially as the basis of an argument or theory) apart from such definition.


It therefore follows that, if a given number of individual things exist in [human] nature (on this fallen earth); there must be some cause for the existence of exactly that number, neither more nor less. For example For example if twenty men exist in the universe (for simplicity’s sake, I will suppose them existing simultaneously, and to have had no predecessors), and we want to account for the existence of these twenty men , it will not be enough to show the cause of human existence in general; we must also show why there are exactly twenty men, neither more or less: for a cause must be assigned for the existence of each individual.

Now this cause cannot be contained in the actual nature of man, for the true definition of man does not involve any consideration of the number twenty. Consequently, of each of them, must necessarily be sought externally to each individual. Hence we may lay down the absolute rule, that everything which may consist of several individuals must have an external cause. And, as it has been shown already that existence appertains (to belong or relate to something) to the nature of substance, existence must necessarily be included in its definition; and from its definition alone existence must be deducible (to come to a conclusion, often without all the necessary or relevant information, but using what is known in a logical way). But from its definition (as we have shown, notes 2 & 3), we cannot infer (come to a conclusion or form an opinion about something on the basis of evidence or reasoning)

The existence of several substances; therefore it follows that there is only one substance of the same nature. Q.E.D. ("that which was to be demonstrated"). GOD


  PROP 9 The more reality or being a thing has, the greater the number of its attributes (to think of something as caused by a particular circumstance) (Def 4).

  PROP 10 Each particular attribute of the one substance must be conceived through itself.

  His Proof.—an attribute is that which the intellect (somebody's ability to think, reason, and understand) perceives (to notice something, especially something that escapes the notice of others) of substance, as constituting its essence (Def 4), and, therefore, must be conceived through itself.


It is thus evident that, though two attributes are, in fact, conceived as distinct (clearly different and separate from others)—that is, one without the help of the other—yet we cannot, therefore, conclude (to form an opinion or make a logical judgment about something after considering everything known about it) that they constitute two entities, or two different substances. For it is the nature of substance that each of its attributes is conceived through itself, inasmuch as all the attributes it has have always existed simultaneously in it, and none could be produced by any other; but each expresses the reality or being of substance, It is then, far from an absurdity to ascribe several attributes (to believe or say that something was caused by a particular thing) to one substance: for nothing is more clear than that each and every entity must be conceived under some attribute, and that its reality or being is in proportion to the number of its attributes expressing necessity or eternity and infinity (a timeless state conceived as being experienced after death)


Consequently it is abundantly clear, that an absolutely infinitive being must necessarily be defined as consisting if infinite attributes, each of which expresses a certain eternal and infinite essence.


If anyone now ask, by what sign shall he be able to distinguish different substances, let him read the following propositions, which show that there is but one substance in the universe, and that it is absolutely infinite, wherefore such a sign would be sought in vain.


PROP 11 God, or substance, consisting of infinite attributes (without any finite or measurable limits; and to give credit for something), of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.

His Proof—If this be denied, conceive if possible, that God does not exist: then His essence does not involve existence. But this (Prop 7) is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists.

Another Proof—of everything whatsoever a cause or reason must be assigned, either for its [GOD’s] existence, or for His none—existence—e.g. If a triangle exist, a reason or cause must be granted for its existence, if on the contrary, it does not exist, a cause must also be granted, which prevents it from existing, or annuls its existence.  This reason of cause must either be contained in the nature of the thing in question, or be external to it. For instance, the reason for the non-existence of a square circle is indicated in its nature, namely, because it would involve a contradiction. On the other hand, the existence of substance follows also solely from its nature, insomuch as its nature involves existence. (See Prop. 7)       

  But the reason for the existence of a triangle or a circle does not follow from the nature of those figures, but from the order of universal nature in extension. From the latter it must follow, either that a triangle necessarily exists, or that it is impossible that it should exist. So much is self—evident It follows therefrom that a thing necessarily exists, if no cause or reason be granted which prevents its existence.

  If, then, no cause or reason can be given, which prevents the existence of God or which destroys His existence, we must certainly conclude (to form an opinion or make a logical judgment about something after considering everything known about it) that He does exist. If such a reason or cause should be given, it must either be drawn from the very nature of God, or be external to Him—that is, drawn from another substance of another nature. For if it were of the same nature, God, by that very fact, would be admitted to exist. But substance of another nature could have nothing in common with God (by Prop2), and therefore would be unable either to cause or to destroy His existence.

  As, then, a reason or cause which would annul the Divine existence cannot be drawn from anything external to the Divine nature, such cause must perforce (unavoidably or as forced by circumstances), if God does not exist,

Be drawn from God’s own nature, which would involve a contradiction. To make such an affirmation (a positive statement or declaration of the truth or existence of something) about a being absolutely infinite and supremely perfect is absurd; therefore, neither in the nature of God, nor externally to His nature, can a cause or reason be assigned which would annul his existence. Therefore, God necessarily exists: Q.E.D. ("that which was to be demonstrated")

  His; another proof).—The potentiality of non-existence is a negation of power, and contrariwise the potentiality of existence is a power, as is obvious. If, then, that which necessarily exists is nothing but finite beings, such finite beings are more powerful than a being absolutely infinite, which is absolutely absurd; therefore, either nothing exists, or else a being absolutely infinite necessarily exists also. Now we exist either in ourselves, or in something else which necessarily exists (see Axiom 1, and prop 7). Therefore a being absolutely infinite—in other words, God (Def 6)—necessarily exists: Q.E.D.  

  Note:—In this last proof, I have purposely shown God’s existence a posteriori (relating to or derived by reasoning from observed facts), so that the proof might be more easily followed, not because, from the same

premises (a proposition that forms the basis of an argument or from which conclusions are drawn), so that the proof may be more easily followed, not because, from the same premises, God’s existence does not follow a

priori.  A priori is a term applied to knowledge considered to be true without being based on previous experience or observation. In this sense, a priori describes knowledge that requires no evidence. A priori comes from Latin and literally translates as “from the previous” or “from the one before.” For, as the potentiality of existence is a power, it follows that, in proportion as reality increases in the nature of a thing, so also will it increase its strength for existence. Therefore a being absolutely infinite, such as God, has from Himself an absolutely infinite power of existence, and hence he does absolutely exist. Perhaps there will be many who will be unable to see the force of this PROOF, inasmuch as they are accustomed only to consider those things which flow from external causes Of such things, they see that those which quickly come to pass—that is, quickly come into existence—and quickly also disappear; whereas they regard as more difficult of accomplishment—that is, not so easily brought into existence—those things which they conceive as more complicated.

  However, do away with this misconception, I need not here show the measure of TRUTH in the proverb, “What comes quickly, goes quickly,” nor discuss whether, from the point of view of universal nature. All things are equally easy or otherwise: I need only remark that I am not here speaking of things, which come to pass through causes external to themselves, (Radio, Television, newspapers, magazines, friends &c)but only of substances which (by Prop 6) cannot be produced by any external cause. Things which are produced by external causes, whether they consist of many parts or few, owe whatsoever perfection or reality they possess solely to the

efficacy (the ability to produce the desired result) of their external cause, not from their own .

Contrariwise, whatsoever perfection is possessed by substance is due to no external cause; wherefore the existence of substance must arise solely from its own nature, which is nothing else but its essence. Thus, the perfection of a thing does not annul its existence, but, on the contrary, asserts it (state something as being true). Imperfection, on the other hand, does annul it; therefore we cannot be more certain of of the existence of anything, than of the existence of a being absolutely infinite or perfect—that is –of God. For inasmuch as His essence excludes all imperfection , and involves absolute perfection, all cause for doubt concerning his existence is done away, and the utmost certainty on the question is given. This I think, will be evident to every moderately attentive reader (listening or watching carefully and with concentration.)


PROP14. Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived.

His Proof.—As God is a being absolutely infinite, of whom no attribute that expresses the essence of substance can be denied (by Def 6), and He necessarily exists (by prop 11); if any substance besides God were granted, it would have to be explained by some attribute of God, and thus two substances with the same attribute would exist, which by (Prop 5) is absurd; therefore, besides God no substance can be granted, or, consequently, be conceived. If it could be conceived, it would necessarily have to be conceived as existent; but this (by the first part of this proof) is absurd. Therefore, besides God no substance can be granted or conceived, Q.E.D.


PROP 15.Whatsoever is’ is in God, and without God nothing can be, or can be conceived.


His Proof.—besides God, no substance is granted or can be conceived (by Prop 14) that is (by Def 3) nothing which is in itself and is conceived through itself. But modes (by Def 5) can neither be, nor be conceived without substance; wherefore they can only be in the Divine nature, and can only through it be conceived. But substances and modes form the sum total of existence (by Ax 1) therefore, without God nothing can be, or be conceived. Q.E.D.


Some assert that God, like a man, consists of body and mind, and is susceptible (easily influenced or affected by something) of passions. How far some such persons have strayed from the TRUTH is sufficiently evident from what has been said. But these I pass over. For all who have in anywise reflected on the Divine nature deny that God has a body. Of this they find excellent proof in the fact that we understand by body a definite quantity, so long, so broad, so deep, bounded by a certain shape, and it is the height of absurdity to predicate (a word or combination of words, including the verb, objects, or phrases governed by the verb that make up one of the two main parts of a sentence) such a thing of God, a being absolutely infinite. But meanwhile by other reasons by which they try to prove their point, they show that they think corporeal (relating to or involving the physical body rather than the mind or spirit) or extended substance wholly apart from the Divine nature, and say it was created by God, Wherefrom the Divine nature can have been created, they are wholly ignorant; thus they clearly show, that they do not know the meaning of their own words. I myself have proved sufficiently clearly, at any rate in my own judgement (Corroll. Prop. 6 and note 2, Prop 8), that no substance can be produced or created by anything other than itself. Further, I showed, (In Prop 14), that besides God no substances can be granted or conceived. Hence we drew the conclusion that extended substance is one of the infinite attributes of God. However, in order to explain more fully, I will refute the arguments of my adversaries, which all start from the following points:-  

1.      Extended substance, in so far as it is substance, consists, as they think in parts, wherefore (reason) they deny that it can be infinite, or consequently, that it can appertain [belong] to God. This they illustrate with many examples, of which I will take one or two. If extended substance, they say, is infinite, let it be conceived to be divided into two parts; each part will then be either finite [former] or infinite [latter]. If the former, then infinite substance is composed of two finite parts, which is absurd (ridiculous because of being irrational, incongruous, or illogical). If the latter, then one infinite will be twice as large as another infinite, which is also absurd. Further, if an infinite line be measured out in foot lengths (35 mm), it would consist of an infinite number of parts, if each part measured only One inch (or 25 mm): therefore, One infinity would be twelve times as great as the other.

2.      Lastly, if from a single point there be conceived to be drawn two diverging lines which are at first at a definite distance apart,, but are produced to infinity, it is certain that the distance between the two lines will be continually increased until at length it changes from definite to indefinable. As these absurdities follow, it is said, from considering quantity as infinite, the conclusion is drawn, that extended substance must necessarily be finite, and, consequently, cannot appertain to the nature of God.

The second argument is also drawn from God’s supreme perfection. God, it is said, inasmuch as He is a supremely perfect being, cannot be passive; but extended substance, insofar as it is devisable, is passive. It follows, therefore, that extended substance does not appertain (to belong or relate to something) to the essence of God.


I now pass on to explaining the results, which must necessarily follow from the essence of God, or of the Eternal and Infinite being; not, indeed, all of them (for we have proved in Part 1; Proposition 16 that an infinite number must follow in an infinite number of ways), but only those who are able to lead us, as it were by the hand, to the knowledge of the human mind and its highest blessedness.


Baruch Spinoza (born Benedito de Espinosa, later Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632—21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. One of the early thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern Biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe. He came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy. Inspired by the ground-breaking ideas of Rene Descartes, Spinoza became a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. 


Spinoza was raised in the Portuguese-Jewish community in Amsterdam. He developed highly controversial ideas regarding the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible and the Nature of the Divine. Jewish religious authorities issued a herem against him,  causing him to be effectively expelled and shunned by Jewish society at the age of 23, including by his own family. His books were later added to the catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. He was frequently called an “atheist” by contemporaries, although nowhere in his work does Spinoza refute the existence of God.   


Spinoza lived an outwardly simple life as an optical lens grinder, collaborating on microscope and telescope lens designs with Constantijn and Christian Huygens. He turned down rewards and honours throughout his life, including prestigious teaching positions. He died at the age of 44 in 1677 from a lung illness, perhaps tuberculosis or silicosis exacerbated by the inhalation of fine glass dust while grinding lenses. He is buried in the Christian churchyard of Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.


Spinoza’s magnum opus, the Ethics, was published posthumously in the year of his death. The work opposed Descartes’ philosophy of mind-body dualism, and earned Spinoza recognition as one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers. In it, “Spinoza wrote the last indisputable Latin masterpiece, and one in which the refined conceptions of medieval philosophy are finally turned against themselves and destroyed entirely.” Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, said, “The fact is that Spinoza is made a testing point in modern philosophy, so that it may really be said: You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.” His philosophical accomplishments and moral character prompted Gilles Deleuze to name himthe prince of philosophers.” (


I now pass on to explaining the results, which must necessarily follow from the essence of God, or of the eternal and infinite being not, indeed, all of them (for we proved in Part 1. Prop 16, which an infinite number must follow in an infinite number of ways). But only those which are able to lead us, as it were by the hand to the knowledge of the human mind and its highest blessedness.