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Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-Being:
Part 1, Chapter 02.

    Now that we have proved above that God is, it is time to show what he is. Namely, we say that he is a being of whom all or infinite attributes are predicated,[N1] of which attributes every one is infinitely perfect in its kind. Now, in order to express our views clearly, we shall premise the four following propositions:
[Note N1]: The reason is this, since Nothing can have no attributes, the All must have all attributes; and just as Nothing has no attribute because it is Nothing, so that which is Something has attributes because it is Something. Hence, the more it is Something, the more attributes it must have, and consequently God being the most perfect, and all that is Anything, he must also have infinite, perfect, and all attributes.

    1. That there is no finite substance,[N1] but that every substance must be infinitely perfect in its kind, that is to say, that in the infinite understanding of God no substance can be more perfect than that which already exists in Nature.
    2. That there are not two like substances.
    3. That one substance cannot produce another.
    4. That in the infinite understanding of God there is no other substance than that which is formaliter in Nature.

[Note N1]: Once we can prove that there can be no Finite Substance, then all substance must without limitation belong to the divine being. We do it thus:
1. It must either have limited itself or [N1N1]some other must have limited it. It could not have done so itself, because having been infinite it would have had to change its whole essence. Nor can it be limited by another: for this again must be either finite or infinite; the former is impossible, therefore the latter; therefore it [i.e., the other thing] is God. He must, then, have made it finite because he lacked either the power or the will [to make it infinite]: but the first [supposition] is contrary to his omnipotence, the second is contrary to his goodness.[N1N2]
2. That there can be no finite substance is clear from this, namely, that, if so, it would necessarily have something which it would have from Nothing, which is impossible. For whence can it derive that wherein it differs from God? Certainly not from God, for he has nothing imperfect or finite, &c. So, whence then but from Nothing? Therefore there is no substance other than infinite. Whence it follows, that there cannot be two like infinite substances; for to posit such necessitates limitation. And from this, again, it follows that one substance cannot produce another; thus: The cause that we might suppose to produce this substance must have the same attribute [N1N3] as the one produced, and also either just as much perfection [N1N4] or more or less.
The first supposition is not possible, because there would then be two like [substances].
The second also not, because in that case there would be a finite [substance].
Nor the third, because something cannot come from nothing. -- Moreover, if the finite [N1N5] came from the infinite, then the infinite [N1N6] would also be finite, &c. Therefore one substance can not produce another. And from this, again, it follows that all substance must exist formaliter, for if it did not exist, there would be no possibility for it to come into existence.

[Note N1N1]: B inserts here 2.
[Note N1N2]: B omits here the next five lines, which it has already given at the end of the last note in the first chapter.
[Note N1N3]: B: attributes
[Note N1N4]: B omits the seven words --and also ... perfection. [Note N1N5]: B: infinite.
[Note N1N6]: B: the cause

    As regards the first, namely, that there is no finite substance, &c., should any one want to maintain the opposite, we would ask the following question, namely, whether this substance is finite through itself, whether it has made itself thus finite and did not want to make itself less finite; or whether it is thus finite through its cause, which cause either could not or would not give more? The first [alternative] is not true, because it is impossible that a substance should have wanted to make itself finite, especially a substance which had come into existence through itself. Therefore, I say, it is made finite by its cause, which is necessarily God. Further, if it is finite through its cause, this must be so either because its cause could not give more, or because it would not give more. That he should not have been able to give more would contradict his omnipotence; [N1] that he should not have been willing to give more, when he could well do so, savours of ill-will, which is nowise in God, who is all goodness and perfection.
[Note N1]: To say to this that the nature of the thing required such [limitation] and that it could not therefore be otherwise, that is no reply: for the nature of a thing can require nothing while it does not exist. Should you say that one may, nevertheless, see what belongs to the nature of a thing which does not exist: that is true as regards its existence, but by no means as regards its essence. And herein lies the difference between creating and generating. To create is to posit a thing quo ad essentiam et existentiam simul [i.e., to give a thing both essence and existence]; while in the case of generation a thing comes forth quo ad existentiam solam [i.e., it only receives existence]. And therefore there is now in Nature no creation but only generation. So that when God creates he creates at once the nature of the thing with the thing itself. He would therefore show ill-will if (from lack of will, and not of power) he created the thing in such a way that it should not agree with its cause in essence and existence. However, what we here call creation can really not be said ever to have taken place, and it is only mentioned to indicate what we can say about it, if we distinguish between creating and generating.

    As regards the second, that there are not two like substances, we prove this on the ground that each substance is perfect in its kind; for if there were two alike they would necessarily limit one another, and would consequently not be infinite, as we [N1] have already shown before.
[Note N1]: B: I.

    As to the third, namely, that one substance cannot produce another: should any one again maintain the opposite, we ask whether the cause, which is supposed to produce this substance, has or has not the same attributes as the produced [substance]. The latter is impossible, because something cannot come from nothing; therefore the former. And then we ask whether in the attribute which is presumed to be the cause of this produced [substance], there is just as much perfection as in the produced substance, or less, or more. Less, we say, there cannot be, for the reasons *given* above. More, also not, we say, because in that case this second one would be finite, which is opposed to what has already been proved by us. Just as much, then; they are therefore alike, and [N1] are two like substances, which clearly conflicts with our previous demonstration. Further, that which is created is by no means produced from Nothing, but must necessarily have been produced from something existing. But that something should have come forth from this, and that it should none the less have this something even after it has issued from it, that we cannot grasp with our understanding. Lastly, if we would seek the cause of the substance which is the origin of the things which issue from its attribute, then it behoves us to seek also the cause of that cause, and then again the cause of that cause, et sic in infinitum; so that if we must necessarily stop and halt somewhere, as indeed we must, it is necessary to stop at this only substance.
[Note N1]: B has or, and omits are

    As regards the fourth, that there is no substance or attribute in the infinite understanding of God other than what exists "formaliter" in Nature, this can be, and is, proved by us:
(1) from the infinite power of God, since in him there can be no cause by which he might have been induced to create one sooner or more than another;
(2) from the simplicity of his will;
(3) because he cannot omit to do what is good, as we shall show afterwards;
(4) because it would be impossible for that which does not now exist to come into existence, since one substance cannot produce another. And, what is more, in that case there would be more infinite substances not in existence than there are in existence, which is absurd.[N1]
From all this it follows then: that of Nature all in all is predicated, and that consequently Nature consists of infinite attributes, each of which is perfect in its kind. And this is just equivalent to the definition usually given of God.
[Note N1:] B omits this sentence.

    Against what we have just said, namely, that there is no thing in the infinite understanding of God but what exists formaliter in Nature, some want to argue in this way: if God has created all, then he can create nothing more; but that he should be able to create nothing more conflicts with his omnipotence; therefore ...

    Concerning the first, we admit that God can create nothing more. And with regard to the second, we say that we own, if God were not able to create all that could be created, then it would conflict with his omnipotence; but that is by no means the case if he cannot create what is self-contradictory; as it is, to say that he has created all, and also that he should be able to create still more. Assuredly it is a far greater perfection in God that he has created all that was in his infinite understanding than if he had not created it, or, as they say, if he had never been able to create it. But why say so much about it? Do they not themselves argue thus,[N1] or must they not argue thus *from God's omniscience*: If God is omniscient then he can know nothing more; but that God can know nothing more is incompatible with his perfection; therefore ...? But if God has all in his understanding, and, owing to his infinite perfection, can know nothing more, well then, why can we not say that he has also created all that he had in his understanding, and has made it so that it exists or should exist formaliter in Nature?
[Note N1]: That is, whenever we make them argue from this admission, namely, that God is omniscient, then they cannot but argue thus.

    Since, then, we know that all alike is in the infinite understanding of God, and that there is no cause why he should have created this sooner and more than that, and that he could have produced all things in a moment, so let us see, for once, whether we cannot use against them the same weapons which they take up against us; namely, thus:

    If God can never create so much that he cannot create more, then he can never create what he can create; but that he cannot create what he can create is self-contradictory. Therefore ...

    Now the reasons why we said that all these attributes, which are in Nature, are but one single being, and by no means different things (although we can know them clearly and distinctly the one without the other, and the other without another), are these:

    1. Because we have found already before that there must be an infinite and perfect being, by which nothing else can be meant than such a being of which all in all must be predicated. Why? [Because] to a being which has any essence attributes must be referred, and the more essence one ascribes to it, the more attributes also must one ascribe to it, and consequently if a being is infinite then its attributes also must be infinite, and this is just what we call a perfect [N1] being.
[Note N1]: B: an Infinite.

    2. Because of the unity which we see everywhere in Nature. If there were different beings in it [N1] then it would be impossible for them to unite with one another.
[Note N1]: That is, if there were different substances which were not connected in one only being, then their union would be impossible, because we see clearly that they have nothing at all in common, it is so with thought and extension of which we nevertheless consist.

    3. Because although, as we have already seen, one substance cannot produce another, and if a substance does not exist it is impossible for it to begin to exist, we see, nevertheless, that in no substance (which we none the less know to exist in Nature), when considered separately, is there any necessity to be real, since existence does not pertain to its separate essence. [N1] So it must necessarily follow that Nature, which results from no causes, and which we nevertheless know to exist, must necessarily be a perfect being to which existence belongs.
[Note N1]: That is, if no substance can be other than real, and yet existence does not follow from its essence, when it is considered by itself, it follows that it is not something independent, but must be something, that is, an attribute, of another thing, namely, the one, only, and universal being. Or thus: All substance is real, and when a substance is considered by itself its existence does not follow from its essence; therefore, no existing substance can be known through itself, but it must belong to something else. That is, when with our understanding we consider substantial Thought and [substantial] Extension, then we consider them only in their essence and not as existing, that is [we do not consider] that their existence necessarily pertains to their essence. When, however, we prove [of each] that it is an attribute of God, we thereby prove a priori that it exists, and a posteriori (as regards extension alone) [we prove its existence] from the modes which must necessarily have it for their subjectum.

    From all that we have so far said it is evident, then, that we posit extension as an attribute of God; and this seems not at all appropriate to a perfect being: for since extension is divisible, the perfect being would have to consist of parts, and this is altogether inapplicable to God, because he is a simple being. Moreover, when extension is divided it is passive, and with God (who is never passive, and cannot be affected by any other being, because he is the first efficient cause of all) this can by no means be the case.

    To this we reply:
(1) that part and whole are not true or real entities, but only things of reason, and consequently there are in Nature [N1] neither whole nor parts.
(2) A thing composed of different parts must be such that the parts thereof, taken separately, can be conceived and understood one without another.
Take, for instance, a clock which is composed of many different wheels, cords, and other things; in it, I say, each wheel, cord, &c., can be conceived and understood separately, without the composite whole being necessary thereto.
Similarly also in the case of water, which consists of straight oblong particles, each part thereof can be conceived and understood, and can exist without the whole; but extension, being a substance, one cannot say of it that it has parts, since it can neither diminish nor increase, and no parts thereof can be understood apart, because by its nature it must be infinite. And that it must be such, follows from this, namely, because if it were not such, but consisted of parts, then it would not be infinite by its nature, as it is said to be; and it is impossible to conceive parts in an infinite nature, since by their nature all parts are finite.[N2] Add to this still: if it consisted of different parts then it should be intelligible that supposing some parts thereof to be annihilated, extension might remain all the same and not be annihilated together with the annihilation of some of its parts; this is clearly contradictory in what is infinite by its own nature and can never be, or be conceived, as limited or finite. Further, as regards the parts in Nature, we maintain that division, as has also been said already before, never takes place in substance, but always and only in the mode of substance. Thus, if I want to divide water, I only divide the mode of substance, and not substance itself. And whether this mode is that of water or something else it is always the same.[N3]
[Note N1]: In Nature, that is, in substantial Extension; for if this were divided its nature and being would be at once annihilated, as it exists only as infinite extension, or, which comes to the same, it exists only as a whole.

But should you say: is there, in extension, no part prior to all its modes? I say, certainly not. But you may say, since there is motion in matter, it must be in some part of matter, for it cannot be in the whole, because this is infinite; and whither shall it be moved, when there is nothing outside it? Therefore it must be in a part.[N1N1] My answer is: Motion alone does not exist, but only motion and rest together; and this is in the whole, and must be in it, because there is no part in extension. Should you, however, say that there is, then tell me: if you divide the whole of extension then, as regards any part which you cut off from it in thought, can you also separate it in nature from all [other] parts; and supposing this has been done, I ask, what is there between the part cut off [N1N2] and the rest? You must say, a vacuum, or another body, or something of extension itself; there is no fourth possibility. The first will not do, because there is no vacuum, something positive and yet no body; nor the second, because then there would exist a mode, which cannot be, since [N1N3] extension as extension is without and prior to all modes. Therefore the third; and then there is no part but only the whole of extension.[N1N4]

[Note N1N1]: B omits this sentence.
[Note N1N2]: B: separated.
[Note N1N3]: B: therefore.
[Note N1N4]: B: but extension one and indivisible.

[Note N2]: B: because all the parts would have to be infinite by their nature.

[Note N3]: B: when, therefore, I divide water I do not divide the substance, but only that mode of the substance, which substance, however variously modified, is always the same.

    Division, then, or passivity, always takes place in the mode; thus when we say that man passes away or is annihilated, then this is understood to apply to man only in so far as he is such a composite being, and a mode of substance, and not the substance on which he depends.

    Moreover, we have already stated, and we shall repeat it later, that outside God there is nothing at all, and that he is an Immanent Cause. Now, passivity, whenever the agent and the patient are different entities, is a palpable imperfection, because the patient must necessarily be dependent on that which has caused the passivity from outside; it has, therefore, no place in God, who is perfect. Furthermore, of such an agent who acts in himself it can never be said that he has the imperfection of a patient, because he is not affected by another; such, for instance, is the case with the understanding, which, as the philosophers also assert, is the cause of its ideas, since, however, it is an immanent cause, what right has one to say that it is imperfect, howsoever frequently it is affected by itself?[N1] Lastly, since substance is [the cause] and the origin of all its modes, it may with far greater right be called an agent than a patient. And with these remarks we consider all adequately answered.
[Note N1]: B: And although the understanding, as the philosophers say, is a cause of its ideas, yet, since it is an immanent cause, &c.

    It is further objected, that there must necessarily be a first cause which sets body in motion, because when at rest it is impossible for it to set itself in motion. And since it is clearly manifest that rest and motion exist in Nature, these must, they think, necessarily result from an external cause. But it is easy for us to reply to this; for we concede that, if body were a thing existing through itself, and had no other attributes than length, breadth, and depth, then, if it really rested there would be in it no cause whereby to begin to move itself; but we have already stated before that Nature is a being of which all attributes are predicated, and this being so, it can be lacking in nothing wherewith to produce all that there is to be produced.

    Having so far discussed what God is, we shall say but a word, as it were, about his attributes: that those which are known to us consist of two only, namely, Thought and Extension; for here we speak only of attributes which might be called the proper attributes of God,[N1] through which we come to know him [as he is] in himself, and not [merely] as he acts [towards things] outside himself. All else, then, that men ascribe to God beyond these two attributes, all that (if it otherwise pertains to him) must be either an extraneous denomination, such as that he exists through himself, is Eternal, One, Immutable, &c., or, I say, has reference to his activity, such as that he is a cause, predestines, and rules all things: all which are properties of God, but give us no information as to what he is. But how and in what manner these attributes can nevertheless have a place in God we shall explain in the following chapters. But, for the better understanding of this[N2] and in further exposition thereof,[N3] we have thought it well *and have decided* to add the following arguments consisting of a [Dialogue.]
[Note N1]: B: which may truly be called God's attributes.

[Note N2]: B: of the foregoing.

[Note N3]: B: of what we mean to say.

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