THE ORIGIN OF THE STATE
Political thinkers have attempted to explain the origin of the state in various ways. When, where and how the state came into existence have not been recorded anywhere in history. Therefore, the political thinkers were compelled to adopt various hypotheses, many of which are now discredited in the light of modern knowledge. Among the many theories which are concerned with the origin of the state the following are explained in this chapter.
1. The Theory of Divine origin
2. Social Contract Theory.
3. Matriarchal and Patriarchal Theory.
4. Force Theory.
5. Evolutionary Theory.
THEORY OF DIVINE ORIGIN
The theory of divine origin is the oldest among all theories. According to this theory state is established and governed by God himself. God may rule the state directly or indirectly through some ruler who is regarded as an agent of God.
The trace of divine origin is seen in the epic Mahabarat. According to the Mahabarat there was anarchy in the beginning in the society and the people prayed to God to come to their rescue.
They offered the following prayer. 'Without a chief, O Lord we are perishing Give us a chief, whom we shall worship and who will protect us'. It was under these circumstances that God appointed the king to rule the people.
To quote King James I of England,
'Kings are justly called gods for they exercise a manner of resemblance of divine power on earth. Kings are accountable to God above and only. The people cannot question him for the right or wrong done by him.
The rise of Christianity and the growth of the power of the church in the medieval period led to a conflict between church and state and an active discussion of the divine origin of political power. All were agreed that the ultimate source of authority was divine but the supporters of the church say that Pope alone received his power directly from God.
Kings are breathing images of God upon earth. Even if the king be wicked, the subject has no right to rebel against him. To rebel against the king is to rebel against God himself for the God's chosen Vassal.
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 son.
3. The king is answerable to God alone; and
4. Resistance to the lawful authority of a king is a sin.
The theory of divine origin was popular for a long time but later on it began to decline on account of many factors.
The theory of divine origin has been criticised on many grounds.
To say that God selects this or that man as ruler is contrary to experience and common sense. God cannot be expected to do such worldly things for human beings. The theory is dangerous because it pinpoints the unlimited and arbitrary power of the kings.
The theory of divine origin of the state advocates only monarchical form of government. The monarchical form of government is practically disappearing from the world. No wonder the theory of divine origin also does not find its supporters in modern times.
We all believe in the theory of evolution. Everything in the world has grown up by slow degrees and consequently the same must have been the case with the state. It is too much to believe that one day God thought of creating the state and created one.
The theory put emphasis on revelation and not reason. In modern times we attribute everything to reason and hence it is not accepted today.
Although the theory has many defects and is no longer accepted today, it cannot be denied that it had its utility.
The theory of social contract with its emphasis on consent, was a great deadlock to the theory of divine origin. It was maintained that state was created by individuals by means of a contract and not by God. The separation of the church from the state was also partly responsible for the decline of the theory.