But Augustine had another identification, namely the partial identification and partial non-identification of the state with the ‘kingdom of earth, which is also designated as the kingdom of Satan. The partial identification was based on the fact that in Augustine’s interpretation of history, states are the result of compulsory power, “robber-states,” as he called it, states produced by groups of gangsters, so to speak, who are not considered criminals only because they are powerful enough to take the state into their hands. This whole consideration, which reminds one of the Marxist analysis of the state, is, however, contrasted by the natural-law idea that the state is necessary in order to repress the sinful powers which, if unrepressed, would produce chaos.
This was the Augustinian situation, and here again the emphasis could be on the identity of the state with the kingdom of Satan, or at least the kingdom of earth, i.
e., the kingdom of sinful earth; and on the other hand, the non-identification, the possibility that the state has a Divine function to restrict chaos. All this is understandable only in a period in which Augustine lived, and in which the Roman Empire and later the Germanic-Romanic kingdoms were matters of non-Christian power. Even in a period in which already Constantine had accepted the Christian doctrine, the power-play was still going on and the substance of the ancient culture was still in existence and was not replaced by the religious substance of the Church.
Now the situation changed. After the great migration, the Church became the cultural substance of life – that power which determines all the individual relations, all the different expressions of art, knowledge, ethics, social relations, relation to nature, and all other forms of human life. The ancient substance was partly received by Augustine and partly removed, and what was left in it was subjected to the theonomous principles of the Church. ‘ Now in such a situation one couldn’t say any more that the state is the kingdom of Satan because the substance of the state is the Church. So a new situation arose which had consequences not only for the consideration of the Church with respect to the state, but also for the state itself. How was the Germanic system related to the Church? The Germanic tribes, before they were Christianized, had a religious system in which the princes, the leaders of the tribes, represented not only the earthly but also the sacred power. So they were automatically representing both realms. This was continued in the Germanic states in the form that the clergy belonged to the feudal order of these tribes. A man like the great bishop of Rheims, in France, Hincmar, represented the feudal protest of a sacred political power; – political and sacred at the same time – against the universality of the Church. The German kings, who had to give political power to the higher feudal lords, had to give power to the bishops who were higher feudal lords also, – the Church called this simony, (from the story of Simon, who wanted to buy the Divine power.) This was connected with the fact that these feudal lords had to give something for what they received. All this was necessarily connected with the territorial system of the Germa ic-Romanic tribes and was of course something in opposition to the universal Church.