In which in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
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He indicates that the prince of power, that is, the devil, has corrupted the understanding of the world to make it depart from the one God and conceive a belief in many gods. In this way the devil made them associates in his own conspiracy, seeing that they were found to exhibit the same impiety in their denial of the one God. –.
"according to the will of the prince of the dominion of the air, and of the spirit which works in those men who will not obey, according to the training of this world, and not according to the doctrine of Christ."
Light and dark are two things, as are truth and falsehood, goodness and wickedness. But they are not to be imagined as equal, for it is not pious to compare anything to God, even by contraries. So we are to understand that there are two spirits, one of faith and one of disobedience. Satan and his devils have their substance from air, that is, from material reality. They derive their power in that same way, over those who think materially. The prince of that power which is in the air works through matter. He is therefore that spirit now at work through material means among the children of disobedience. He possesses their minds and has dominion over them. Therefore the one who lives “according to the course of this world lives according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit who is now at work in the children of disobedience.” –.
According to the course of this world, (i.e. the customs of this wicked corrupt world) according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit meaning the devils, who are permitted to exercise their power upon the earth, or in the air. See John xii. 10.; xiv. 30.; xvi. 11. (Witham)
Secundum soeculum mundi hujus: according to the custom of this world. You were dead to the eyes of God, but you live in the eyes of the world: and how do you live? according to the maxims of the world, in idolatry, in crime, in corruption of manners. Corrumpi et corrumpere sæculum est. (Tacitus) (Calmet)
Flee, therefore, the wicked devices and snares of the spirit which now worketh in the children of this world.
Of the apostles, who stirred up the multitude of the Jews against the Lord, who also now "worketh in the children of disobedience;.
And indeed, before the cross was erected, he (Satan) was eager that it should be so; and he "wrought"
Just as if any one, being an apostate, and seizing in a hostile manner another man's territory, should harass the inhabitants of it, in order that he might claim for himself the glory of a king among those ignorant of his apostasy and robbery; so likewise also the devil, being one among those angels who are placed over the spirit of the air, as the Apostle Paul has declared in his Epistle to the Ephesians,
Do you see Paul’s gentleness, how he everywhere soothes his hearer and avoids burdening him? For having said that they had arrived at the extreme consequence of evil (for what else does “being dead” mean?) … he provides them with a collaborator, so that they themselves will not be held accountable alone for their plight but share responsibility with a powerful accomplice, the devil. .
Why does he call the devil the ruler of this world? Because virtually the whole of humanity surrendered to him. All are his voluntary and willing slaves. Few pay any heed to Christ, who promises unnumbered blessings. Rather they follow after the devil, who promises nothing but leads them all to hell. He rules in this age, where he has … more subjects than God, more who obey him rather than God. All but a few are in his grasp on account of their laxity. .
* According to the power, says he, of the air, of the spirit.
Here again he means, that Satan occupies the space under Heaven, and that the incorporeal powers are spirits of the air, under his operation. For that his kingdom is of this age, i.e., will cease with the present age, hear what he says at the end of the Epistle; Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the world rulers of this darkness; Ephesians 6:12 where, lest when you hear of world rulers you should therefore say that the Devil is uncreated, he elsewhere Galatians 1:4 calls a perverse time, an evil world, not of the creatures. For he seems to me, having had dominion beneath the sky, not to have fallen from his dominion, even after his transgression.
* That now works, he says, in the sons of disobedience.
You observe that it is not by force, nor by compulsion, but by persuasion, he wins us over; disobedience or untractableness is his word, as though one wer...
“Once you followed the course of this world.” World here is completely distinguishable from God. For the creature is unlike the Creator, the artifact unlike its Maker, the world unlike God. Similarly when Paul speaks of those who “follow the prince of the power of the air” he is referring not to the one God who holds sway over all the ages. For the one who presides over higher authorities is never classified by reference to one lower. .