In the Bible Satan is called “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11), which begs the question: In what sense is Satan a god and a prince?
First, Satan is not God’s equal. Rather, according to Scripture, Satan is a finite, created being (Colossians 1:16). He was the first sinner (1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:7–9) and will one day be cast into the lake of burning sulfur for all eternity (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10; cf. 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Thus, Christians need not fear the god of this age, for “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Furthermore, Satan, whose name means “adversary,” is the god of this age in that he is the supreme exemplar of evil. In the words of Jesus, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Indeed, all the sin of the world is patterned after Satan: “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). It is he “who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9).
Finally, Satan is the de facto ruler of all who willingly subject themselves to his masterful deceit (2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:3). If we do not belong to the God of the ages, then we are of Satan—the god of this age.
For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, The Covering: God’s Plan to Protect You from Evil (Nashville: W Publishing, 2002).
“This is what the LORD says––Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”