The End of Modernity
Hobbes had discerned the lack of a theologia civilis as the source of difficulties that plagued the state of England in the Puritan crisis. The various groups engaged in the civil war were so heaven-bent on having the public order represent the right variety of transcendent truth that the existential order of society was in danger of floundering in the melee. It certainly was an occasion to rediscover the discovery of Plato that a society must exist as an ordered cosmion, as a representative of cosmic order, before it can indulge in the luxury of also representing a truth of the soul. To represent the truth of the soul in the Christian sense is the function of the church, not of civil society. If a plurality of churches and sects starts fighting for control of the public order, and none of them is strong enough to gain an unequivocal victory, the logical result can only be that, by the existential authority of the public representative, the whole lot will be relegated to the position of private associations within the society. This problem of existence was touched on several occasions in these lectures; it now requires a summary elucidation before the Hobbesian idea of man can be presented and evaluated. The analysis will suitably start from the points that have already been secured.
Christianity had left in its wake the vacuum of a de-divinized natural sphere of political existence. In the concrete situation of the late Roman Empire and the early Western political foundations, this vacuum did not become a major source of troubles as long as the myth of the empire was not seriously disturbed by the consolidation of national realms and as long as the church was the predominant civilizing factor in the evolution of Western society, so that Christianity in fact could function as a civil theology. As soon,