Baruch Spinoza(1632-1677) A Dutch Portuguese Jew, Spinoza made many contributions to ethics and theology that had a huge impact on Christian thinking as well. Drawing on classical Greek philosophers, Spinoza said that the entire universe represents a single substance governed by a single set of rules. This single substance is both God and Nature, meaning that we are all part of a larger system, therefore lack “free will.” Spizona also laid the groundwork for “biblical criticism,” openly questioning the truth of the Bible for the first time. A moral relativist who said good and evil are in the eye of the beholder, he was labeled an atheist for his controversial ideas (actually, early Atheist were called, “Spinozists”), but Spinoza’s belief was probably closer to pantheism, which sees God embodied in the universe.

I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exist, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings-Albert Einstein

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