By Brayton Polka
In among Philosophy and faith Volumes I and II, Brayton Polka examines Spinoza's 3 significant works_on faith, politics, and ethics_in order to teach that his suggestion is immediately biblical and sleek. This booklet and its better half quantity can be crucial interpreting for any pupil of Spinoza.
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Additional info for Between Philosophy and Religion, Vol. II: Spinoza, the Bible, and Modernity
What is universal in existence is precisely what exists as actual and individual in its self-affirmation. qxd 32 5/25/10 5:53 PM Page 32 Chapter 1 Spinoza introduces two additional, critical elements of conatus in propositions 8 and 9: time and consciousness. Proposition 8 states that the conatus by which each thing endeavors to persevere in its being involves, not the finite time of duration but indefinite (indefinitum) time. If the essence of a thing involved finite duration, Spinoza explains, then there would come a time when, according to its essence, it would be destroyed.
From this it then evidently follows that external, contrary, and inessential causes, by which things are destroyed, do not express and involve the power (essence) of God, just as they do not express and involve the power (essence) of individual, existing things. But is this surprising, since God is the affirmation (the creation) of existence, not its (Satanic) negation (or destruction)? From this it also becomes evident that, notwithstanding standard scholarly commentary, Spinoza affirms (and does not deny) the biblical concept of creation (ex nihilo).
For then there would be something in the subject that could destroy it, which, however, has been shown in proposition 4 to be impossible. Consequently, whatever is contrary to my existence, as its negation or destruction, is external to it; and, by implication, whatever is in agreement with my existence, as its affirmation, is essential and necessary to it. What we have here in nuce is the difference between the natural state—in which others (including my own self) are contrary to (contradictory of) each other—and the human (civil) state—in which others necessarily affirm my existence (and I theirs).