Has Satan been given dominion over the earth until Jesus returns? If so, why was he given this authority?

There’s only one supreme Lord over all the world, and that’s God. We are told in the Old Testament that this whole concept of dominion was shared with Adam and Eve. Man was given dominion over the earth to be vice-regents for God, that is, vice kings to represent God’s reign on this planet. Of course, we made a terrible mess out of it, and we were subjected more and more to the power of Satan. That power of Satan was dealt not just a significant blow but a fatal blow by Christ in his incarnation.

We’re told, first of all, that God the Father gives to Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth. In his ascension, Christ is seated at the right hand of God, where he is crowned as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. That was a tremendous blow to all worldly or satanic powers, principalities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. So if you ask me who is in dominion over this world right now, I think the New Testament is perfectly clear on that. The one who is in dominion is the Lord. The Lord God omnipotent reigns, and the Lord Christ reigns over this world right now. His kingdom may not be of this world, but it certainly includes this world, and Jesus has all authority over heaven and earth.

Even at this moment, as I’m discussing this question, Satan’s authority and power are limited and subordinate to the authority that is vested in Christ. Christ right now is the king of this earth. His kingdom is invisible, and not everybody acknowledges it. People are giving more allegiance to the prince of darkness than to the Prince of Peace, but that is an act of usurpation on the part of Satan. His power is restricted, limited, and temporal. What has happened briefly is this: The power and authority of Satan has been dealt a fatal blow by Christ. The Cross, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the Ascension tremendously weakened any power or authority that Satan enjoyed, but it didn’t annihilate him. That will come later, when Christ completes his work of redemption with the consummation of his kingdom. All things will be brought into captivity to him, and every knee will bow to him, including the fallen angels, who will bow in submission to his authority.

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©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.