Why does God allow Satan to rule on Earth?
Question: If God is all-powerful, why does He allow Satan to be the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4)?
Answer: Scripture makes it clear that the devil—Satan—is currently in charge of planet Earth. Even Jesus Christ Himself, shortly before His arrest and crucifixion, acknowledged Satan’s authority: “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (John 14:30).
How does the devil exert his rule? He influences world events by injecting his evil ideas into the minds of human beings, much as a television transmitter broadcasts its signal into the air to be received in people’s homes. This analogy can help us see why Scripture calls Satan the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2:2–3).
Was there always a Satan? No! God created a powerful and beautiful archangel named Lucifer, who—along with Michael and Gabriel—served at God’s throne in heaven. Why did this Lucifer (Latin for “light-bringer” or “morning star”) fall and become Satan (Hebrew for “accuser” or “adversary”)? You can read about this in Ezekiel 28:12–15 and Luke 10:18.
Lucifer and a third of the angels (Revelation 12:3–4) rebelled against their Creator. At some point in the distant past, Lucifer led these angels “above the heights of the clouds” to take the throne of God (Isaiah 14:13-14), leaving their “proper domain” or assigned responsibility (Jude 6) below the clouds here on Earth. Unsuccessful, they were cast back down to the Earth (Isaiah 14:12).
Satan failed in his rebellion, but he remains in the office God gave him, where he is ironically still instrumental in God’s plan. You see, human beings are spending 6,000 years living their own way, influenced by Satan’s spirit of selfishness and evil. They are writing with their own blood, sweat and tears the history of what it is like to live in disobedience to God’s way.
The member of the God Family who became Jesus Christ came to earth a little more than 2,000 years ago as a human being (John 1:1, 14). By living His perfect life—filled without measure with the Holy Spirit—He demonstrated that with God’s help, human beings can live in obedience to God, and reject Satan’s way (Galatians 2:20).
It is because of Jesus Christ that Satan’s rule on the earth will soon end. That is why the devil is only called the god of “this age.” An age is soon coming when Jesus Christ will replace Satan as the ruler of this world. We call that time “the Millennium.” Jesus Christ, who came to the earth as a human being and lived a perfect sinless life, will return as King and remove Satan from his rule.
Since the Millennium is not here yet, what can we do to escape the evil effects of Satan’s rule? Those who accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice can, through the power of the Holy Spirit, come under God’s government now and receive the power to resist Satan’s influence in their lives. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7–8).
God is watching to see who is obeying Jesus Christ, and who has surrendered to evil. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now, ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’” (1 Peter 4:17–18).
When the Prince of Peace returns to set up His government over the nations, Satan’s rule will end. “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). God speed that day!