Divine Theory Of Origin Of State

Introductory. In the first article, while introducing the State, we said that it originated in the bare needs of life and continues in existence for man’s good life. But it is shrouded in mystery when and how the State came into existence. Recent research in Anthropology, Ethnology, and Comparative Philology throws some light on the subject. Still, all this is newt sufficient to offer a matter of fact explanation of the State’s origin. Speculation is then the only alternative, and we examine several theories that have been advanced from time to time-varying with the credulity of the age. The most important of these theories are:


1. The Theory of Divine Origin

2. The Theory of Force.

3. The Theory of Social Contract.

4. The Patriarchal and Matriarchal Theories.

5. The Historical or Evolutionary Theory.

The Historical or Evolutionary Theory is now accepted as the correct theory of the origin of the State. The Patriarchal and Matriarchal Theories, which seek to explain that family is the nucleus of the State and either father or mother had really been the head of the family in ancient times, are not separate theories of the origin of the State.  They form part of the accepted Historical or Evolutionary Theory, although we have treated them separately for clarity and proper understanding. The theories of Divine Origin, Force, and Social Social Contract are speculative and stand rejected. But it does not mean that they have no practical utility. Each one of these theories contains some element of truth and aids us in penetrating the realm of the past, and helps to find out how and why the  State came into existence.

To examine and reject a speculative theory is a means of arriving at the truth. It is only by groping in the dark that we hope to reach the light. Leacock has rightly said that the rejection of what is false in the past speculative theories will help establish more valid conclusions on the residual basis of what is true.  What exists is never new. It is a monument of human effort, the result of prolonged activity. We cannot understand any contemporary institution without some knowledge of its genetic background. Speculative theories exhibit the spirit of the time in which they flourished and, consequently, the people’s index, thoughts, and environments and describe the forces that molded and shaped the State’s practices. Finally, speculative theories led to the development of political thought.

Men of merit thought and considered, discussed, and criticized the various theories enunciated from time to time, and it paved the way for further developments in political thinking. The Social Contract theory replaced the theory of Divine Origin, and the Historical or Evolutionary theory replaced the former.

Divine Theory of Origin Of State

The Theory Explained. Divine Theory of Origin Of State, though one of the earliest, has a simple explanation to offer. It is a theory of political authority and not a theory of the origin of the State. The State, its advocates maintain, was created by God and governed by His deputy or Vicegerent. His will that men should live in the world in a state of political society, and He sent His deputy to rule over them. The ruler was a divinely appointed agent, and he was responsible for his actions to God alone. As the ruler was the deputy of God, obedience to him was a religious duty and resistance a sin. The advocates of the Divine Origin Theory, in this way, placed the ruler above the people as well as law. Nothing on earth could limit his will and restrict his power. His word was law, and his actions were always just and benevolent. To complain against the ruler’s authority and characterize his actions as unjust was a sin for divine punishment.

The theory of the Divine Origin of the State is as old as Political Science itself. There is sufficient evidence to prove that early States were based on this conception, and all political authority was connected with certain unseen powers. The earliest ruler was a combination of priest and king or the magic man and king. The authority and reverence that a ruler commanded depended on his position as a priest or a magic man. Religion and politics were so inextricably mixed up in primitive societies that not a hazy demarcation line could be drawn between the two.

Even today, the State of Pakistan does not seem to distinguish between religion and politics. Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan, the then Pakistan Foreign Minister, while speaking on the Objective Resolution in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly in 1949, said: Those who sought to distinguish between the spheres of religion and politics as being mutually exclusive put too narrow a construction upon the functions of religion. The abrogated Constitutions declared Pakistan the Islamic Republic to be governed With the Islamic principles. President Zia-ul-Haque significantly modified the 1973 constitution to bring it in conformity to the injunctions of Islam. In addition to the Islamic Arab States, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the Islamic State of Afghanistan are the most recent examples of theocratic States.

The theory that the State and its authority has a Divine Origin and sanction finds equivocal support in the scriptures of almost all religions in the world. In the Mahabharata, it is recounted that the people approached God and requested him to grant them a ruler who should save them from the anarchy and chaos prevailing in the state of nature. “Without a Chief, O Lord,” they prayed, we are perishing. Please give us a Chief whom we shall worship in concert and who will protect us. The theory of Divine Origin, however, received a new impetus with the advent of Christianity. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, said Jesus Christ, and Paul amplified this in his Epistle to the Romans, which has been quoted by writers time and again in support of the theory of Divine Origin. We are, thus, told, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that shall receive themselves damnation. The theory of Divine Origin so enunciated believed in, and accepted, thus, implied

1. That God deliberately created the State and this specific act of His grace was to save humanity from destruction

2. that God sent his Deputy or Vicegerent to rule over humanity. The ruler was a divinely appointed agent, and he was responsible for his actions to God alone, whose Deputy the ruler was. All were ordained to submit to his authority, and disobedience to his I command a sin for which there was divine punishment.

The Divine Right Of Kings.

There were direct and precise instructions to the faithful. Although the Roman Empire was pagan, Paul had ordered Christians to accept its authority as derived horn God and thereby admitted that the State, whatever the monarch’s personal morality, was divinely ordained. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the theory of the Divine Origin of the State was transformed into the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. Having emerged victorious over the spiritual authority, the temporal authority claimed that it was a divine favor to divine authority’s Vicegerents. Even today, the Queen of Great Britain is a Queen “by the Grace Of God.”

The Stuarts in England found refuge in the Divine Right of King’s doctrine, and its leading exponent was James I. Sir Robert Filmer was its enthusiastic supporter. Bousset advocated it in France and supported the despotism of Louis XIV. It was claimed that Kings ruled by divine right, and the subjects had no recourse against them. “Kings,” wrote James I, “are breathing images of God upon the earth,” and disobedience to their commands was disobedience to God. As it is atheism and blasphemy to dispute what God can do, it is presumption and high contempt in a subject to dispute What a King can do or say that a King cannot do this. Even rebellion in the cause of religion was deemed a sacrilege because the State of the monarchy is the supreme-st thing upon the earth. Kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God himself, they are called Gods. As men are children of God, so are men children of the King, and they owe him equal obedience; without a King, there could be no civil society, as the people were a mere heedless multitude incapable of making laws. All law proceeded from the King as the divinely instituted law-giver of his people. The only choice for the people was a submission to the authority of the King or complete anarchy. The King could not be held answerable for his actions to human judgment. He was responsible to God alone. God will judge a bad King, but he must be judged by his subjects Or by any human agency for enforcing the law, such as the estates or the courts. The law resided ultimately in the breast of the King.

The main points in the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings may, thus, be summed up:-

1. Monarchy is divinely ordained, and the King draws his authority from God.

2. Monarchy is hereditary, and it is the divine right of a King that it should pass from father to soil.

3. The King is answerable to God alone and

4. Resistance to the lawful authority of a King is a sin.

The theory of the Divine Right of Kings, originally used in the Middle Ages to serve as a bulwark against the claims of the Church, Fathers, was later used by Kings and their supporters to defend their existence against the political consciousness of the peoples: when the people claimed that ultimately power and sovereign authority rested with them.

Evaluation of the Theory.

That the State is divinely created does not find any place in the present political thought. The State is essentially a human institution. Sand it comes into existence when several people occupying a definite territory Organize themselves politically to achieve common ends; the laws of the State are made by men and enforced by them. Therefore, the State originated in the bare needs of man’s life and continues in existence for the satisfaction of those needs and aspirations for a good life. To accept it as God’s creation is to defy nature itself and exalt the State to a position above criticism and change.

The Divine Origin theory is dangerous as it justifies the arbitrary exercise of royal authority by holding that authority has a religious sanction and origin, and Kings are the vicars of God. When the ruler is made responsible for his actions to God alone, and the law is held to reside ultimately in the King’s breast is tantamount to preaching absolutism and making the King a despot.

Even if it be conceded that the King is the vicegerent or deputy of God, then how can the existence of a bad King be justified?  History abounds in examples of bad and vicious Kings. God personifies virtue, grace, and benevolence, and so should be His deputy. It is, accordingly, bad logic to accept the dogma of James I that Kings are breathing images of God upon the earth. Even in the scriptures, the theory does riot find unequivocal support. The Bible tells us, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s. This saying of Christ does not justify the Divine Origin of the State. Finally, the theory does not consider any other form of government except monarchy and that, too, absolute monarchy. Such a form of government is antagonistic to the democratic ideal, which accepts consent as the State’s basis.

Divine Theory of Origin Of State is dismissed as an explanation of the origin of the State. At the same time, the theory has a certain value. We cannot ignore the part which religion played in the development of the State. The early rulers combined unto themselves the authority and functions of a king and a priest. Law had a religious sanction, and divine or religious law appealed to a primitive man more than human law. Obedience to the State was deemed a religious duty. The government Supported religious worship; belief in a common religion was a great combining factor that welded the people to pursue common ends. It taught men to obey when they were not yet ready to govern themselves. Finally, the theory of Divine Origin adds a moral tone to the functions of the State. To regard the State as the work of God is to give it a high moral status, to make it something which the citizen may revere and support, something which he may regard as the perfection of human life.

Divine Theory of origin of State and that the Divine Right of Kings was discredited in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the West. It was replaced by the Social Contract Theory and Rousseau’s concept of popular sovereignty. Thus, the Voice of God gave place to the voice of the people.

2 thoughts on “Divine Theory Of Origin Of State”

  1. Bangladesh is not an Islamic Republic. It is called the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. It has no direct relation with the Islamic clergy in its governance policy making.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind information, We apologize people of Bangladesh for mistake, we already update the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. But no doubt have a pressure Islamic clergy for policy making.

      Reply

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