Strong interiority and (traditional) theism: What's the problem?

Ratio 25 (1):68-78 (2012)
Central to Spinozism is the thesis that the immanence of the Divine Substance in the cosmos (in natural objects) is – like the immanence of the dancer in the dance –maximal or total. Just as the dance consists entirely of the dancer in aesthetically-stylized motion, so the domain of nature is nothing in addition to God in cosmic guise. Accordingly, natural objects constitute modes of God. Hence, Spinozism and (traditional) theism are obviously irreconcilable. For it is indispensable to theism that the immanence of God in the cosmos is not maximal; rather, that natural objects are distinct from the Divine Substance. Now it has standardly been presupposed by theists (and many others) that natural objects could not be distinct from God without being ontologically exterior to God; thus, that theism would readily collapse into Spinozism if the cosmos was interior to the Divine Substance. It seems to me that this is a long-standing mistake. After demonstrating that there is probative warrant for maintaining that theism requires the interiority of natural objects to God, there is shown to be more than adequate justification for denying that this necessitates the collapse of theism into Spinozism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2011.00516.x
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