There are those who imagine that there is a god of this world and another who is far above all, and they say that Paul spoke of this at 2 Corinthians 4:4, I shall dispel any such notion or idea by showing that as far back as the 2nd century heretics taught such blasphemy. I shall have recourse to the writings of Irenaeus (130AD - 202AD) Book III chapter VII where he speaks about Paul's use of Greek and to the translations of Wyclif Bible 1380 of the same passage, from the Latin, and from the Aramaic of the Peshitta to show that the notion that 2 Corinthians 4:4 speaks of the devil is both error and blasphemy.
REPLY TO AN OBJECTION FOUNDED ON THE WORDS OF ST. PAUL (2 COR. 4:4.). ST. PAUL OCCASIONALLY USES WORDS NOT IN THEIR GRAMMATICAL, SEQUENCE.
1. As to their affirming that Paul said plainly in the Second [Epistle] to the Corinthians, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not," and maintaining that there is indeed one god of this world, 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, know not 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], "hath blinded the minds of them of this world that believe not," he shall find out the true [sense]; that it is contained in the expression, "God hath blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this world." And this is shown by means of the little interval [between the clause]. For Paul does not say, "the God of this world," as if recognising any other beyond Him; but he confessed God as indeed God. And he says, "the unbelievers of this world," 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 that believe not, 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. 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. An example occurs in the [Epistle] to the Galatians, where he expresses himself as follows: "Wherefore then the law of works? It was added, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator." For the order of the words runs thus: "Wherefore then the law of works? Ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator, it was added until the seed should come to whom the promise was made," -- man thus asking the question, and the Spirit making answer. And again, in the Second to the Thessalonians, speaking of Antichrist, he says, "And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus Chris shall slay with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy him with the presence of his coming; [even him] 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, 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. If, then, one does not attend to the [proper] reading [of the passage], and if he do not exhibit the intervals of breathing as they occur, there shall be not only incongruities, but also, when reading, he will utter blasphemy, as if the advent of the Lord could take place according to the working of Satan. So therefore, in such passages, the hyperbaton must be exhibited by the reading, and the apostle's meaning following on, preserved; and thus we do not read in that passage, "the god of this world," but, "God," whom we do truly call God; and we hear [it declared of] the unbelieving and the blinded of this world, that they shall not inherit the world of life which is to come.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:4
'in whiche god hath blende the soulis of vnfeithful men of this world, that the liztnynge of the gospel of the glorie of crist, whiche is the ymage of god: schyne not'.
Even though the English of Wyclif is 'old' we can still read the truth from the Latin as translated, we have here the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul, and how they were understood of old. He did not write of some other 'god' of this world, but of God himself. Indeed the same Paul wrote in other places of God who hath 'blinded' those who do not believe. See Romans 11:7; also 2 Corinthians 3:14; and the words of the Lord at John 12:39,40; and other related passages.
The WYCLIF 1388 Modern Spelling. 'For if our gospel is covered, in these that perish it is covered, in which God has blent the souls of unfaithful men of this world, that the lightning of the gospel of the glory of Christ, which is the image of God, shine not'
'To those in this world whose minds have been blinded by God, because they did not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the likeness of God, should shine in them.'
SEE THE PAGE FROM THE ENGLISH HEXAPLA WITH 2 COR 4:4
Therefore the KJV passage of 2 Corinthians IV:4. 'In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not'. is NOT to be understood as speaking of the devil, but of GOD himself, who has blinded the unbelievers, even as he has given 'blindedness' in part unto Israel, which he shall remove from Israel at the time in the future, see Romans 11:25.
Richard Merrell 2000 Return to my home page