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Perhaps one innovation brought about by Spanish philosophy is the notion that “God” names a problem instead of an entity. This is what Xavier Zubiri means when he uses the phrase “the problem of God.” Although he does not employ the Zubirian phrase, Miguel de Unamuno also addresses God as a problem. This paper compares Zubiri’s and Unamuno’s accounts of how God appears to human beings polemically. For both thinkers, God is a problem only for human beings; there is something about the structure of human existence that makes God come to mind. For Zubiri, God comes to mind because human beings find themselves implanted into reality. For Unamuno, God comes to mind because human beings understand their own mortality and seek to overcome it. After presenting their respective views on the structures of human beings that account for the problem of God, the philosophical implications of such a view are explored. If we take Zubiri and Unamuno to be correct about “the very problem of the problem of God,” true theism would not be evidentialist (this is the way “theism” works in traditional philosophy of religion). Also, true atheism (the claim that God does not exist) would be impossible, for even if the entity called “God” does not in fact exist, “God” as a problem (the problem of God) does.

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© 2004 by the Xavier Zubiri Foundation of North America

Recommended Citation

Stone, Brad E. “On the Very Problem of the Problem of God in Zubiri and Unamuno,” The Xavier Zubiri Review 6 (2004): 73-­‐88.

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