chapter  12
13 Pages

The development of Reform Judaism

For Spinoza the function of religion is to serve as a basis for ethical action; philosophy, however, is concerned with truth. In his writings Spinoza propounded a metaphysical system based on a pantheistic conception of nature. Beginning with the belief in an infinite, unlimited, self-caused Substance (which he conceived of as God or nature), Spinoza argued that Substance possesses a theoretical infinity of attributes. Only two of these - extension and thought - can be apprehended by human beings. In addition, God or

nature can be seen as a whole made up of finite individual entities. Given this view God exists in all things as their universal essence, and they exist in God as modifications. According to Spinoza, God is the sum of all natural laws. Further, he stressed that God is not incorporeal; rather he is the totality of all bodies in the universe. O n this view, creation is ruled out, and the whole is free only in so far as it is self-caused.