The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is Satan the God of This Age?


According to Irenæus (A.D. 120-202) in his writing “Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter VII” Paul misplaced the phrase “of this age” due to the rapidity of his discourses and the impetus of the Spirit within him. In case you think Part 1 is a stretch, consider Irenæus’ example in part 2 where Paul clearly misplaced a phrase. In part 2, a plain reading as it stands is that the coming of Christ is after the working of Satan. But we will see that this is not the case when we realize that “after the working of Satan” has been misplaced, and should be placed after “and then shall be revealed that wicked one.”

  1. As to their affirming that Paul said plainly in the second [letter] to the Corinthians, “In whom the god of this world [age] has blinded the minds of them who do not believe ,” and maintaining that there is indeed one god of this world [age], but another who is beyond all principality, and beginning, and power, we are not to blame if they, who give out that they do themselves know mysteries beyond God, do not know how to read Paul. For if any one read the passage thus—according to Paul’s custom, as I show elsewhere, and by many examples, that he uses transposition of words—“In whom God,” then pointing it off, and making a slight interval, and at the same time read also the rest [of the sentence] in one [clause], “has blinded the minds of them of this age do not believe,” he shall find out the true [sense]; that it is contained in the expression, “God has blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this age.” And this is shown by means of the little interval [between the clause]. For Paul does not say, “the God of this age,” as if recognising any other beyond Him; but he confessed God as indeed God. And he says, “the unbelievers of this age,” because they shall not inherit the future age of incorruption. I shall show from Paul himself, how it is that God has blinded the minds of them who do not believe, in the course of this work that we may not just at present distract our mind from the matter in hand, [by wandering] at large.

  2. From many other instances also, we may discover that the apostle frequently uses a transposed order in his sentences, due to the rapidity of his discourses, and the impetus of the Spirit which is in him… in the Second [letter] to the Thessalonians, speaking of Antichrist, he says, “And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus Christ shall slay with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy him with the presence of his coming; whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.” Now in these [sentences] the order of the words is this: “And then shall be revealed that wicked one, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the presence of His coming.” For he does not mean that the coming of the Lord is after the working of Satan; but the coming of the wicked one, whom we also call Antichrist.


It seems odd for Paul who apparently had “the impetus of the Spirit within him” to have then “misplaced the phrase” — you’d think with the indwelling ‘impetus of the Spirit’ such a ‘misplacement’ i.e., error would be questionable; I’m thinking Irenæus’ supposition questionable.

YES… and Paul wasn’t saying anything other than THAT. :open_mouth:

I suspect Paul’s “god of this age” was equivalent to Jesus’ “the ruler of this world” etc.


I think also n this case age/aion has to do with all that is of this age/world ,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12

For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 Jn 2:16

Then the devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.Lk 4:6

olam(Heb) is sometimes translated world, as aion is in Hebrews 1. If aion is the Grk rendering of olam(as I believe) then it means more than just a span of time, but is inclusive of the world and it systems, influences and environs within that span.


Yeah, and I’d go as far as to say the world/age was in particular the old covenant world/age… that’s the one that came to an end in Christ.


Of course, Paul wasn’t saying anything other than that. You know that, I know that, and Irenæus knew that.
But for anyone reading Paul’s words who didn’t know that, would naturally understand it the way Paul wrote it, namely that the Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan. Of course, all modern translations have reworded it so that it says what Paul meant it to say.

Even the King James Version (that translates it in the same order as Paul wrote it), added two words to avoid the problem. Here is the King James translation without the added words:

Does not this seem to say that the Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan? The King James translators corrected the problem by placing the words “even him” immediately before “whose coming is after the working of Satan.” The fact is that ALL translators recognized the problem and did something to correct it.

You are the first person I’ve encountered, Davo, who doesn’t seem to be aware that there IS a problem.


This would seem more like an invented problem… most likely, as it would seem, by Irenæus himself; and then apparently peddled by anyone gravitating to his unfounded notion.

IF Irenæus was able to grasp the basic Greek of Paul, WHY wouldn’t anyone else have grasped the same nuances… given THAT was their MO?

Paul writes… “after the working of Satan” making it indicative that the previous “whose coming” speaks to, or of, the “lawless one” previously mentioned in the context of the passage.

Thus apart from Irenæus’… “For he does not mean that the coming of the Lord is after the working of Satan; but the coming of the wicked one, whom we also call Antichrist” which he thinks is “due to the rapidity of his discourses, and the impetus of the Spirit which is in him” I think he, like you, might be making an unnecessary mountain out of a molehill.

Like what am I missing Don, i.e., who else has seen this apparent conflict? :open_mouth:


Sorry for the off-topic question, but I noticed both Davo and paidion merge their “a” and “e” so that they look like one letter. Why and how do you guys do this?


I simply cut n’ pasted Don’s text.


IMO it is a manufactured and inflated problem. The subject is “that wicked one”. I read it thus.

And then shall that wicked one be revealed (whom the Lord will consume with the sword of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His appearing) whose coming is after the work of Satan.

“Friday I saw Bill(who George is looking to collect money from) the swindler.” .


Who else? As I pointed out, EVERY translator, including the translators of the King James. That’s why the translators of the King James added the two words to make Paul’s meaning clear, and that’s why all other translators changed the order of Paul’s words—in order to make Paul’s meaning clear. If none of those translators had seen any conflict, they would have left Paul’s words in the same order as he wrote them.

qaz, you can make “æ” appear on your post by holding down the Alt key and typing 145 on the numeric keyboard.


Thanks paidion. What’s the reason for typing “ae” that way?


The reason is that it’s use is necessary in order to corrrectly spell names such as “Irenæus” or “Cæsar.”

You can write many other symbols with the Alt system. For example to write ü in the German name “Jürgen,” use ALT129. To write é, that is e with and acute accent for use in French words, use ALT130.

You can download what purports to be a complete list of ALT codes here:

Some of them may not work for you. It seems some of them have been changed recently.


I gotta say I agree. :nerd:

Translators adding words to aid in clarifying meaning is not new or contestable as such; but to say that doing so is to correct some “conflict” seems to me at least gilding the lily a little, to wit… many a Greek structured sentence doesn’t run according to our English form, but that doesn’t necessitate “conflict” either.

My query was over Irenæus’ (and yours apparently) perceived problem, imagined or otherwise, with Paul’s words as per Irenæus’ 2nd example where he in kind with his 1st example claims Paul… “misplaced the phrase” EVEN THOUGH he apparently had “the impetus of the Spirit within him” — like HOW does Paul “misplace” under “the impetus of the Spirit”? Can you explain this?


Although this question is not directly related to whether or not there is a problem with Paul’s arrangement of phrases, it perhaps should be answered. It is not my intention to defend all of Irenæus’s words and arguments. Indeed, I doubt that I have the ability to do so. And it may well be that some of his thinking is indefensible. However, concerning this particular matter, I do have a conjecture as to his thinking.

I think Irenæus believed that through the impetus and influence of the Holy Spirit upon him, Paul became very excited. Revelation from the Spirit came so fast, that Paul spoke or wrote it down very rapidly—too rapidly to take the time to intellectually concern himself grammar, arrangement of phrases, etc. He just spoke or wrote as it came to him. The Spirit of God didn’t directly speak the words to him, but rather placed the revelation directly into his mind, and as this was happening, Paul put it into words, without taking the time so see that those words were grammatically correct.


Ok thanks Don… I guess I’m thinking Irenæus’ assumption that there was some difficulty with Paul’s sentence structure was simply that… an assumption, and that verse read in solitude apart from the greater context I could appreciate his qualifying remarks, and maybe he had some around him thus confused, or he in his mind could see potential for error in reading and so gives his qualifying opinion etc. I’ve looked through a handful of my commentaries on that 2Thess 2 passage and only one makes reference to Irenæus but not in regards to this issue at hand.