Satan is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the prince of this world. The Bible says all these things.
Satan is fighting against and thwarting God’s will. We have been equipped in Christ to resist the temptations of the Devil and to stand opposed to him and his deceptions.
Many oppose this teaching, thinking that if Satan has power and can thwart God’s will, then in some way Satan has more power than God, or that God’s sovereign power is limited by His own creation who can overpower Him.
I find this objection lacking.
God granted this power to Satan, God sets the bounds of what Satan can do, as shown in the Book of Job. God gives His creation freedom within His determined boundaries.
God is still ultimately in control. At no point can Satan, or any part of creation, go beyond those boundaries God has set.
God has given us free will and also gives us the consequences of our actions. Satan rebelled against God’s authority because he wanted more. God gave him some. We’ve seen what Satan has done with it.
God has given people authority on this earth as well. We can resist God and His will. We do it all the time. Before Calvinism hi-jacked Christianity, we used to define sin as “anything contrary to God’s will.”
The fact that we can sin and resist God and His will does not mean we have more power than God, nor does it mean God’s power is subtracted from. God allowed us to do this!
We are created in God’s image. God has free will and so do we (within the bounds given us by our Creator). God uses His will to always do righteousness. We do not. God has provided a means of salvation where we can be recreated in Christ Jesus to do good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in.
God created us to obey Him. We rebelled. Humanity reaped the sowing of rebellion: creation itself now fights against us through the Fall and the Curse.
Satan is still trying to thwart God’s will. Satan does so by deceiving people and using creation to continue to fight against the Creator. Observe the following:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
–1 John 2:15-16
Satan, who can’t create anything himself, has to use what is already created to trap us. So John tells believers not to love anything on this earth! If you love something on this earth, Satan will use that thing against you.
He will turn that created thing, morally neutral in itself, into that which can destroy your soul.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are NOT OF THE FATHER!
There’s something else going on down here that is against what God wants. God does not use created things against you. He does not tempt people to sin with earthly things.
If Calvinism is true, then these verses are not. If God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, then the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life have to be from the Father, because all things are, according to Calvinism.
So, again, this is where the Calvinist starts to define different kinds of God’s will and God ordaining means as well as ends, none of which actually answer the basic problem.
If God ordains the means, then again, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life must be from the Father! Push it back as far as you want and you are still in the same place of admitting that God actually is the one who is making you do the lust and the pride.
Again, Satan is redundant and God’s character must adapt characteristics of the Devil if Calvinism is true. In what sense is God still righteous? In what sense is John talking sense when he says there are things here that are not of the Father? Why would Jesus Christ tell us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven if God’s will is already being done here?
I’ll wrap it up with a quote of 1 John 5:19, I’ll even use the Calvinist’s favorite ESV to do so:
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
The world is a problem to us precisely because it is under the control of the god of this world. Satan is using created things to keep you from worshiping the Creator. We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
I fear that Calvinism keeps people ignorant of Satan’s devices and this will not work out well for the church.