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The Origin of the Universe

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The Origin of the Universe

Origin of the Universe

To begin, I will explain what I understand the word "universe" refers to. When I say "universe," I am essentially referring to all things that exist. As a finite minded human, I confess I can conceive only of a physical and spiritual universe but I do not eliminate the possibility of their being other realms which man has not yet conceived. Having said that, I acknowledge that the universe consists of a solitary infinite substance and therefore realize, despite my humbling ignorance of other realms, that conceivable or not, any aspect of the universe adheres to the laws of the one and only substance. The fifth century Dutch philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza permits referring to the all-encompassing substance as either Natura or Deus (Nature or God). For clarity purposes, I will be referring to Natura (or Deus, if you will) strictly as substance. In my discussion of the universe, I critically focus on Dutch philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza's outlook on the origin of the universe.

First and foremost, Substance dictates the mere existence of our universe. In Concerning God, def. III, Spinoza describes substance to be "that which is in itself, and is conceived through itself; in other words, that of which a conception can be formed independently of any other conception." Spinoza's describes Substance as the one substance which was conceived through itself, entirely independent of outside influences. According to Spinoza, a designated cause is directly correlated to one designated product; this theory defines all matters of existence. All existent things resulted from a particular cause, which means theoretically a never-ending chain of causation seems plausible; but alas, there cannot be infinite chain of causes, thus, all causes must have been caused by one ultimate foundational self-causing Substance. In Concerning God, Spinoza suggests this self-causing foundational aspect of Substance when proposing "Substance is by nature prior to its modifications." Without a foundational self-causing substance, nothing could possibly exist because all things in existence either exist in themselves or something else.

In essence, all things in existence are actual parts of the one self-causing substance Substance and therefore, can be understood as mere permutations of Substance, instead of entirely new entities which spawned from the original substance. Substance is infinite and boundless, remaining entirely unrestricted by anything. Nothing hinders Substance from expressing itself in any and every possible way because nothing remains outside Substance and therefore, no other laws or possibilities exist outside substance's infinite realm of possibility. Bearing in mind that Substance has no restrictions or limitations on the manner in which it can express itself, the suggestion of several substances is clearly inconsistent with the nature of Substance. In Concerning God, Prop. V, Spinoza proposes "there cannot exist in the universe two or more substances having the same nature or attribute." For there to exist several distinct Substances, each Substance must have distinguishably different attributes or modifications. Substance is infinite and acts out in every possible way, covering all options; for this reason, a foreign substance cannot act in a way which would render it distinguishable from Substance (the original substance). If the several Substances are identical, then there is only one identifiable Substance, thus, there is nothing but the one Substance.

The impossibility of two or more separate discernable Substances existing simultaneously in the Universe implies that one substance cannot produce or another substance distinctly different from itself. In Concerning God, Spinoza declares "For, if substance be produced by an external cause, the knowledge of it would depend on the knowledge of its cause and it would itself not be substance." In other words, a newly formulated substance would not possess idiosyncratic qualities by which one could distinguish the former substance from the new substance and therefore, this "new" substance would actually itself be substance. According to Spinoza's Prop. III: "Things which have nothing in common cannot be one the cause of the other," the original substance (which makes up all of Natura) could never produce or cause the existence of another substance which did not possess common qualities, meaning any and all things in existence are mere permutations of a single substance, not new entities, created in a different image. In conclusion, substance cannot be produced by another substance and therefore, substance cannot be created by something external to itself.

Anything that is possible is necessarily actual because if something is possible, then there is a chance it will occur. Considering

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