What does it mean that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)?
Second Corinthians 4:4 says, "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." How is Satan the god of this world?
One way to understand this title "god of this world" is to realize Satan's rule is limited. He has the ability to oversee evil in our world, but lacks the power to defeat God and rule in heaven. In fact, Scripture indicates Satan originally lived as a leading angel in heaven, yet rebelled against God in pride: "Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor" (Ezekiel 28:17). Isaiah 14:13-14 add, "You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'"
Other passages also note Satan's power in this world. For example, John 12:31 calls Satan the "ruler of this world," again showing his power is limited to matters on the earth. Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan the "prince of the power of the air," a variation of this same title.
The Bible is clear that Satan is powerful. How can believers in Christ overcome his evil efforts? Ephesians 6:11 teaches, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." This includes the many virtues of Christian living, including salvation, the word of God, and prayer (Ephesians 6:17). Satan may have great strength, yet he is no match for the power of God working in the believer's life.
In confronting the teachers of the law, Jesus taught, "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). Satan is the father of lies, from his lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden to the lies he spreads today. His evil continues to destroy lives today, standing as a snare and trap to people (2 Timothy 2:26), yet we do not need to fear him.
James teaches, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). First John 4:4 teaches, "Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." As believers, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son" (Colossians 1:13).
Finally, Satan's rule is for a limited time only. Revelation 20:10 shows that in the end, he will be defeated by God and thrown into the lake of fire. No power, not even Satan, can stop the Lord and His plan.
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