A. V. Appolonov’s article “On the Concepts of “the Secular” and “Religion” of Benedict de Spinoza in the Context of John Milbank’s Hypothesis of the “Construction” of the Secular” is of a polemic character, which gives it a special acuity. At the same time, the author of the article does not fully recognise the presence in Spinoza’s works of a conscious desire to form secular ideas. The idea of autonomy of natural law from the Divine subject had been invented long before Hugo Grotius, but it was Spinoza who made it clearly expressed in the formula Deus sive Natura. One can argue about a naturalisation of the image of God in Spinoza’s reasoning, which was destructive for the orthodox Christian theology. It is probable that the process of secularisation, or deconsecration, of the Christian worldview in the European Enlightenment of the 17th century to a considerable extent originates from the naturalisation of divine functions or prerogatives, in particular from the mathematisation of God’s creative potencies when shaping the world. However, Spinoza admits, alongside the predominantly naturalistic (geometrical and causal) scenario, two more scenarios, i.e. theologicalreligious and metaphysical. Though Spinoza argues about the “sacralisation of the supreme power”, is it not possible to see in this process the objective realisation of a certain secular programme, part of which is the state as a secular institution? In order to consider universum from a naturalistic viewpoint, it is not necessary to see God having withdrawn from it; another thing is even more dangerous for the Christian idea of God, namely to be God oneself, being totally immersed in the world that is governed by natural laws. As for the scholastic formula etsi Deus non daretur, it can hardly be regarded as a mere example of a “mental experiment”.
Spinoza’s works, secular ideas, natural law, naturalisation, Deus sive Natura, image of God, 17th-century Enlightenment, sacralisation of supreme power, etsi Deus non daretur, mental experiment
*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.