Recap of Past Weeks
Thus far in this series, we have seen that the principalities and powers (at least their “forms,” “types,” “archetypes”—all mean the same for our purposes) were created in Christ and have the potential for great good. The powers include all “collectives,” that is, all rulers, governments, ideas and ideologies, religions, corporations, etc. Even before the creation, God knew that most of the time, human beings working together are both smarter and more capable than human beings working individually. Not everyone is a genius—though we thank God for those that are.
Because the principalities and powers were created in Christ, they have the potential for great good. However, they exist in a world riddled, defined, and controlled by sin, thus the powers also have the potential for great evil. The powers exist first as archetypes “in the heavenlies,” to use the language of Ephesians. Then, in this world, they are “created” by human beings as collectives. When Ephesians was written, the world rulers of the present darkness included Rome, and Caesar, and all the soldiers, tax collectors, and minor officials of the Empire. Roman power was a concrete, this worldly manifestation of the “spiritual hosts,” the “types,” in the heavenly places. When Rome persecuted and killed Christians, Rome put evil hands and feet at the disposal of the evil powers.
We can’t speak of the evil powers without talking about Satan. Thus, we have seen how C.S. Lewis said, “to believe in Satan is to believe that evil is greater than the sum total of its parts.” And how Emil Bruner said, “to believe in Satan is to believe that the possibilities of evil are not exhausted by purely human evil.”
According to Ephesians 2:2, Satan is the prince of the power of the air, the spirit now at work in the sons and daughters of disobedience. If Satan is omnipresent, it is because he has people everywhere—in sin we all belong to him. If Satan is powerful, it is because his minions have power. If Satan is wily, cunning, and intelligent it is because many of his followers are wise in the ways of the world. For instance, in Romans 1:30 St. Paul warns against those who are “inventors of evil.” Continue reading