How is Satan God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)?

Question: "How is Satan God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)?"


Answer: The phrase “God of this world” (or “God of this age” [NKJV]) indicates that Satan is the major influence on the mind-set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His areas of influence also encompass the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions.

Similar titles are found elsewhere in Scripture concerning Satan. Satan is called the "prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2:2. He is called the "ruler of this world" in John 12:31. These titles, and many more attributed to Satan throughout Scripture, signify his capabilities. To say, for example, that Satan is the "prince of the power of the air" is to signify that in some way he rules over the world and the people in it.

This is not to say that he rules the world completely; only God does this. But it does mean that God, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to operate in this world (within the boundaries God has set for him) and has allowed Satan to operate with an agenda. When the Bible says Satan has power over the world, it must be made clear that God has given him domain over unbelievers alone. Believers are no longer under the rule of Satan (Colossians 1:13). Unbelievers, on the other hand, are caught "in the snare of the devil" (2 Timothy 2:26), lie in the "power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19), and are in bondage to Satan (Ephesians 2:2).

So, when the Bible says that Satan is the "God of this world," it is not saying that he has ultimate authority. It is conveying the idea that Satan rules over the unbelieving world in a specific way. In the case of 2 Corinthians 4:4, the unbeliever follows Satan's agenda. According to 2 Corinthians 4:4, the "God of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ." Satan's agenda includes pushing a false philosophy onto the unbelieving world—a false philosophy that blinds the unbeliever from the truth of the Gospel. Satan’s philosophies are the fortresses in which people are imprisoned, needing to be set free and brought captive to Christ in obedience to the truth.

An example of a false philosophy might be a belief that man can earn God's favor by a certain act or acts. In fact, earning everlasting life is a predominate theme around the world. Earning God's favor by works, however, is contrary to biblical revelation. Man cannot work to earn God's favor; everlasting life is a free gift (see Ephesians 2:8-9). And that free gift is available through Jesus Christ and Him alone (John 3:16; 14:6). You may ask why does mankind simply not receive the free gift that enables them to truly be called children of God (John 1:12)? The answer is that Satan—the God of this world—pushes a false philosophy onto the world. Satan sets the agenda, the unbelieving world follows, and mankind continues to be deceived. It is no wonder that Scripture calls Satan a liar (John 8:44).

Recommended Resource: The Serpent of Paradise by Erwin Lutzer.

Related Topics:

Is there activity of demonic spirits in the world today?

Why did Satan think he could defeat God?

Does Satan have to get God's permission before he can attack us?

Why doesn't God give the fallen angels a chance to repent?

Who is Satan?

Return to:

Questions about Angels and Demons

Return to: Home