Continuing reflection on God, especially God-Consciousness, in Miguel de Unamuno’s philosophy, we come to a problem of consciousness. He talks about the consciousness of the world which comes from the consciousness of beings that create it.

According to Unamuno, humans are present in God and vice versa.  

The Supreme Consciousness of the world in Unamuno’s theory is identified with God. In contrast, human consciousness bases on the bond between humans and God, which comprises feeling, imagination, and personalization (Unamuno, 2005).

So, divinity is nothing more than a need for the sublimation of human reality. On the other hand, humans are nothing more than an idea which God creates continually. 

If we assume God is an idea in the human inner world. In other words, it is the power of self-suggestion that can help to shape the attitudes and the emotional life of the person. In this way, the essence of God defines the human being. God is even a kind of an axiological guide in everyday life. (Unamuno, 2005). 

God as Purpose

Humans can ask God to save the soul. God makes sense of human life. In Unamuno’s interpretation, this is a reason humans ask for God’s name. Humans are seeking this name because teleological or metaphysical answers are not enough.

Humans look for God who can help them – Living God, which gives a human a chance of self-realization. It is not only a question of the need for understanding but also a desire for feeling. In this way, God’s world gives the human a purpose for existence and defines a sense of the world.


We can interpret relation with God as a kind of humanization of reality.

Primitive humans had a sense of community not only with other people but also with nature. In this way, they humanize their own environment with a magic bond. This relation is an effect of magic thinking characteristic for little children.

In addition, magical thinking blurred the line between dreaming, imagination, and reality. From the point of view of Carl’s Jung psychology, it is coming to a source of creativity and spiritual power.

Paradoxically, in this context, everything is identified with God as divine. Everything is from God’s thought. In this sense, the religion of primitive humans was pantheistic.

Following Unamuno’s thought, everything happens according to God’s act – just like our ancestors perceived it in their minds.

So, just in the pagan tradition, consciousness connected humans with God. Only one factor distinguished humans from God – it was immortality.

Need for Personal Consciousness

If we assume that we live in God’s consciousness, we live inside the divine being. At the same time, we live our life, suffer, sympathise with others, and struggle with our existence. It is the consciousness of their own human existence.

Everyone enriches God by one’s existence as a part of God who is understood as the whole of creation. It means that every creature has something that is purposeful and holy inside.

So, God is a symbol of world harmony or human reality and also brings a sense of security in human life. In addition, God saves human reality and the Universe from nothingness and brings eternity to human existence. In this way, it realizes the need of the modern human (Unamuno, 2005). Just like the primitive human needed God’s immortality, the contemporary human needs God’s eternity. 

God-Consciousness as Social Need

In Unamuno’s transcription, Israel means ‘fighting God’, which in the time of peace changes into ‘judging God’. This God has a social character, because He reveals himself to all the people of Israel, not individuals.

But, prophets’ activity makes Him a God of individuals – Living God. In this way, God appears in human consciousness thanks to human intellectual effort.

Furthermore, as the next step of cognition of God, humans try to define Him and find the idea of God. In this way, unfortunately, they destroy His image (Unamuno, 2005).

It turns out that God transforms from the internal human world to a socially communicative God. Unfortunately, this new God is losing His irrational element and vital essence well-known from the individual prayer.

Vitality of God-Consciousness

Unamuno quotes Immanuel Kant’s opinion here that God in human consciousness is rather vital than rational.

In Unamuno’s comprehension, the rational God is a God of Israel from the Old Testament, while the vital one is Jesus Christ. First one is simple, abstract, free from feelings. The second one is His opposition as a composition of human and divine nature.

God is full of feelings, anthropomorphic like Jesus. It means that God is a projection of the human consciousness as Reason, Word, but especially Will. Jesus is also called God of Love as an impulse of God’s Will.

God-Consciousness and Personality

In Unamuno’s interpretation, God personalised the world. On the other hand, a human as individuality contains finiteness and a scope of knowledge about God. God brings to a human’s personality content and a secret to infinity. To clarify, the bigger the personality, the richer the internal world.

According to Unamuno, a rich personality creates an internal society. It means that there is room for others in the internal world of a mentally rich person. This pattern of an internal world is injected by faith in the Holy Trinity. Especially important is the relationship between God Father and His divine Son.

In Unamuno’s interpretation, Mary, Mother of Jesus widens the Holy Trinity. So, Trinity is transformed into the Top Four. In other words, Mary enriches personality with a feminine element of warm peace of a mother’s womb, unconsciousness, love, and forgiveness.

The family pattern has a crucial meaning in this model of personality. God as an ideal human being is a symbol of interpersonal love for others and self-love.

Hierarchy of Consciousness

In conclusion, the Spanish philosopher comes to the Catholic image of God as a composition of pagan polytheism and Jewish monotheism. Catholic God is present in the timeless consciousness of the whole mankind composed of the previous, current and following generations.

In the Catholic tradition, a sense of God is a result of the superhuman consciousness of the whole mankind. This consciousness contains everything that is subhuman, human, and superhuman in reality.

The consciousness of every person is a composition of a variety of different selves, even self of relatives and friends. So, elves of others enrich and complete ourselves, and vice versa. Thanks to this understanding of consciousness, we can be in touch with Living God as an opposition to God of Reason (Unamuno, 2005).

According to Unamuno, In faith, consciousness develops gradually from finiteness to eternity. In this way, step-by-step humans come to the faith and spiritual consciousness and deistic vitalism (Unamuno, 2005).


Unamuno M. de (2005). Tragic Sense of Life, Trans. J.E. Crawford Flitch, The Project Gutenberg EBook


I have gained an MA in philosophy at UKSW University in Warsaw. Philosophy is my passion, especially existentialism. My second fascination is the Theory of Positive Disintegration by Kazimierz Dabrowski as a connection of the psychological knowledge with a philosophical perspective.

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