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Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27:17

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 KJV

  2 Corinthians 4:3-4

(3) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 
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II Corinthians 4:3-4, is commonly quoted with little consideration as to who it is truly describing. Who did this blinding? Because the translators use a lowercase g, we assume that Satan receives the title of “god of this age” or “god of this world.” But could this be a case of mistaken identity?

The Bible contains many clear and definitive scriptures in which God declares that He will blind and that He has blinded, as well as ones about eyes being closed (see Deuteronomy 29:4Job 17:4Matthew 11:25-26Luke 10:2119:41-42). He blinds, and He also heals the blindness that either He has caused or that men have chosen. But in no other place is Satan said to blind or is shown closing eyes. If II Corinthians 4:4 is about Satan, it is a significant anomaly.

Rather than blinding, Satan deceives. He works to distort vision (rather than take it away) to influence people to sin, but the Bible never shows him opening or closing eyes, physically or metaphorically. Some may argue that this is a distinction without a difference. However, deceiving and blinding are indeed distinctive. Satan's deceptions are active oppositions to truth, while God's blinding is usually a temporary state in which He chooses to withhold complete understanding. God embodies truth, but He does not give all truth all at once. He blinds, either temporarily or for judgment, but Satan actively opposes and distorts the truth.

A second reason Satan does not fit in II Corinthians 4:4is that nowhere else is Satan referred to as the god of anything. Undoubtedly, Satan fits within the general classification of false gods, referring either to idols or the demons behind them, or both (see I Corinthians 10:19-20). However, even though people may worship those idols and demons as gods, Scripture also maintains that these so-called gods are not truly gods (see II Chronicles 13:9Jeremiah 2:115:7Jeremiah 16:20Galatians 4:8).

In I Corinthians 8:5, God inspired Paul to call the demons—which would include Satan—“so-called gods.” He then clarifies his description with a contrast in the next verse: “. . . yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” In other words, even though people worship demonic principalities—whether deliberately or inadvertently—the perspective of God and His servants is that they are not gods.

Paul tells the Gentile Galatians that, prior to their conversion, they served “those which by nature are not gods” (Galatians 4:8). He immediately describes them as “weak and beggarly elements” to which they were again turning (verse 9). Did this same apostle then bestow upon Satan the title “god of this age” when writing to the Corinthians? God answers this in Isaiah 45:5: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.”

The true God never names the Devil as a god of anything. If II Corinthians 4:4 is about Satan, it is a highly significant exception to the pattern, and exceptions invite us to dig deeper. So, how does Scripture characterize him?

Instead of calling Satan a “god,” the gospel accounts consistently call him a “ruler.” He is “the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 9:3412:24Mark 3:22Luke 11:15; see Ephesians 6:12), and three times in the book of John, Jesus calls him “the ruler of this world” (John 12:3114:3016:11). Paul calls him “the prince [or ruler; it is the same Greek word] of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The Devil has authority, intelligence, and capabilities far above man, and we should never underestimate him (see Matthew 24:24). Yet, he in no way approaches God's level, except in his own mind! While God rules supremely, the highest title Satan can legitimately claim is “ruler” over something but never “god.”

— David C. Grabbe

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