A Question I Was Asked:

Where Does Satan Get His Power From?

The Question:

Recently in our Bible group we have been asked the question: "where does Satan get his power from?"
Have you dealt with this question before?
Is God involved in this?
If you have I would be curious and interested to hear your version. I have been reading what you have written already on line about Revelation but even though Satan is 'restrained,' where does he get his power from?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Ultimately Satan is allowed a degree of power by God. Why? Because Adam - effectively - chose him as the leader/ruler of this present age/earth when he (Adam) chose to follow his instruction and way of life rather than the better way revealed by God.

In the great temptation (Matthew 4:1-11), we should notice that Jesus did not deny or dispute Satan's present earth rulership. Notice these verses in particular:

8. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10. Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Matthew 4: 8-10).

It clearly was in Satan's power to offer political dominion to Jesus, if Jesus had followed him, which of course He had no intention of doing; also, the Kingdom of God is not of this present age (John 18:36).

Also, see John 12:31, John 14:30, Ephesians 2:2 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. We will just pick up the latter Scripture:

4. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4, NIV throughout).

Paul was in no doubt that Satan is "the god of this age," However, following the great temptation (in which Christ resisted Satan), and especially following Christ's victory at the cross, Satan is now dethroned for all believers. For the present, however, he still retains some power over unbelievers but not for long.

31. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
32. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. (John 12:31-32).

Notice that Christ has complete victory from the time of the cross even though it will not be fully manifested until His Second Coming. Paul could still call Satan 'the god of this age' several years after Calvary because of his presently continuing power over unbelievers and the elements, indeed, it will eventually prove necessary to purify this earth by fire:

10. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:10).

The future promise to believers is not just Heaven as so many seem to teach but includes a refined and recleansed earth, a 'New Heavens and a New Earth.' Plainly this renewal starts to happen at Christ's return - not 1,000 years later as some teach, based on a flawed understanding of Revelation 20.

So Satan has been, and will continue to be a short while longer, the 'god of this age,' but he is already defeated and dethroned but retains power for the present over unbelievers and over this earth.

Robin A. Brace. October 21st, 2012.