Selection from – Ethics – Part I. Of Deus sive Natura (Page 3)

Spinoza's Words: ((Deus sive Natura) necessarily exists)

Proposition. XI. (Deus sive Natura), or substance, consisting of infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality, necessarily exists.

The existence of substance follows also solely from its nature, inasmuch as its nature involves existence


Following this proposition Spinoza presents a series of proofs that do not sound convincing to modern ears. The essence of them is that substance (that which supports everything) is equated with (Deus sive Natura) and is defined as perfect. Perfection is of its nature and perfection necessitates existence. To not exist would imply imperfection. Therefore, (Deus sive Natura) must exist.

Spinoza defines attribute as "that which the intellect perceives as constituting the essence of substance." It is only by thought and extension in time and space that (Deus sive Natura) can be known by humans. I take that to mean that attributes are the ways that anything can be known by humans. If (Deus sive Natura) is perfect it could be known in various other ways unknown to humanity. Indeed (Deus sive Natura) could be know in an infinite number of ways. Therefore, perfection would necessitate an infinite number of attributes of (Deus sive Natura).

A modern reader might simply say (Deus sive Natura) must exisit to enable us, its children, to be here and to say it does. Our existence declares the existence of (Deus sive Natura).