Spinoza's Simplified Ethics. Part 1: The attributes of God, Propositions 24-29

Propositions: 24-29, The creations of God

Proposition 24: The essence of things produced by God does not involve existence. Proof: This proposition is evident from Def. 1. Corollary: Hence it follows that God is not only the cause of things coming into existence, but also of their continuing in existence, that is, in scholastic phraseology, God is cause of the being of things (essendi rerum).

Proposition 25: God is the efficient cause not only of the existence of things, but also of their essence.

Proof.—If this is denied, then God is not the cause of the essence of things. Note.—This proposition follows more clearly from Prop. 16. Corollary: Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner. Proposition 26: A thing which is conditioned to act in a particular manner, has necessarily been thus conditioned by God. Proof: That by which things are said to be conditioned to act in a particular manner is necessarily something positive (this is obvious).

Proposition 27: A thing, which has been conditioned by God to act in a particular way, cannot render itself unconditioned.

Proof.—This proposition is evident from the third axiom.

Proposition 28: Every individual thing, or everything which is finite and has a conditioned existence, cannot exist or be conditioned to act, unless it be conditioned for existence and action by a cause other than itself, which also is finite, and has a conditioned existence.

Proof: Whatsoever is conditioned to exist and act, has been thus conditioned by God (by Prop. 26 and Prop. 24, Coroll.). Note: Certain things must be produced immediately by God, namely those things which necessarily follow from his absolute nature, through the means of these primary attributes, which, nevertheless, can neither exist nor be conceived without God, it follows:
  1. That God is absolutely the proximate cause of those things immediately produced by him.
    • I say absolutely, not after his kind, as is usually stated.
    • For the effects of God cannot either exist or be conceived without a cause (Prop. 15 and Prop. 24, Coroll.).
  2. That God cannot properly be styled the remote cause of individual things, except for the sake of distinguishing these from what he immediately produces, or rather from what follows from his absolute nature.
    • For, by a remote cause, we understand a cause which is in no way conjoined to the effect.
    • But all things which are, are in God, and so depend on God, that without him they can neither be nor be conceived.
Proposition 29: Nothing in the universe is contingent, but all things are conditioned to exist and operate in a particular manner by the necessity of the divine nature. Proof.—Whatsoever is, is in God (Prop. 25). Note.—Before going any further, I wish here to explain, what we should understand by nature viewed as active (natura naturans), and nature viewed as passive (natura naturata).