The two philosophers of social contract base all their deliberations on two fundamentals: scientific methodology on the one hand, and proof from the holy scriptures in accordance with political Hebraism on the other hand. Both philosophers begin with the fact that man was created in the image of God. Both recognize natural equality amongst human beings and both base themselves on ethical axioms – natural laws – which originate in God. However, there are significant differences between them: Hobbes perceives man as renouncing God and His eternal commandments, expressed both in original sin and in Cain’s murder of his brother. In contrast, Locke perceives man as good, complying with God’s commandments. Similarly, in their descriptions establishing the social contract and the creation of a political community, both theorists link scientific methodology – the theoretical model – to the words of the Bible, using it as a sort of historical-empirical foundation.
Hobbes perceives the establishment of a state as the product of man’s original sin, in which his nature was spoiled. Therefore, the rational fear of God’s latent power must be replaced with the instinctive fear of the exposed strength of the “Leviathan” (the mythological biblical creature), the absolute state, which is an alternative to God. Locke, in contrast, perceives man as good. Furthermore, Hobbes presents the state, the “Leviathan,” as a new God. He bases his perception regarding the authority of an absolute monarch on the rules given to kings in the Book of Samuel and on Israel’s leaders in the Bible. He compares the obedience that the Ten Commandments require of human beings to the obedience that a king demands from his subjects. Locke, in contrast, is a protagonist of limited governance, and likens the contract between the king and his nation to the covenant between God and Noah. He interprets a passage about the Hebrew slave whose work is limited in order to bolster his position on the holiness of freedom. Hobbes relates to the “Kingdom of God” as an ideal governmental model that expresses rule by agreement, the rule of reason and morality. Thus, original sin is connected with the sin of rebelling against God in Samuel’s days.
Locke also chooses to present the theocratic government of Israel, which is presented in the Bible as an ideal unique government because of (and despite) the fact that it is an antithesis to his liberal perception. Through his determination that only the people of Israel were chosen by God, and that therefore God functions as a political leader only in the land of Israel, he precludes any possibility of drawing conclusions from the characteristics of this regime for modern politics. In fact, my analysis of these philosophers’ writings suggests that there is a developmental process leading from religious political philosophy to modern political philosophy.