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In Charles Eric Maine’s sci-fi novel He Owned the World (1960), Robert Carson was riding the first manned rocket planned to circle the Moon and return to Earth. Ten hours after the launch, Carson knew something had gone wrong and that he was going to die in the cold blackness of space. The manned vehicle would miss its target and become a mere speck of a satellite of the Sun. Realizing the inevitable, despair overcame him. He opened the air valves of the control cabin and allowed the air to escape into the vacuum of space. Death came quickly.
But this was not the end for Robert Carson. Eight thousand years later, he was revived by the anti-mortic techniques of a super-scientific society beyond his imagination. His body was rebuilt and partly redesigned. When the long process was complete, Robert Carson awakened to the revelation that he owned the world! It seems that an international effort to retrieve the body of Robert Carson led to the proposal that a fund should be established to finance a space rescue project. It was a noble idea that never came to fruition. Over the millennia, the Carson Trust amassed so much capital and property that it controlled about ninety percent of Earth. Whoever controlled Robert Carson, controlled the world, and it was Mr. Jaff’s goal to control Robert Carson and convince the people of Earth that the returned astronaut was who he claimed to be.
I read The Man Who Owned the World when I was about fourteen. The details of the story have stuck with me for more than forty years. Christians don’t like to talk about who owns the world. Too many believe that Satan owns the world during the dispensational parenthesis between Pentecost and the “rapture.” Just you wait, they tell us, soon Jesus will fix everything when He comes for His own, then all hell will break loose! That will show everybody.
But isn’t Satan the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4)? The Greek word aion in this passage is best translated as “age” (period of time). He’s no more a god than your belly is a god (Phil. 3:19). Like idols in general, the devil is “by nature” not a god (Gal. 4:8; cf. Deut. 32:17; Ps. 96:5; Isa. 44:9–20; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:20). Jesus describes the devil as “a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Though Satan masquerades as a god, this does make him one.
Satan wishes, albeit vainly, to set himself up as God, and sinners, in rebelling against the true God, subject themselves to him who is the author of their rebellion. The unregenerate serve Satan as though he were their God. They do not thereby, however, escape from the dominion of the one true God. On the contrary, they bring themselves under His righteous judgment; for Satan is a creature and not a God to be served (cf. Rom. 1:18, 25). Just as there is one in the world and every pretended alternative to it is a false no-gospel, so there is only one God of the universe and every other “deity” whom men worship and serve is a false no-god.
When the church makes Satan the true “god of this age,” it has fallen for one of the devil’s schemes — giving him a lot more credit and power than he deserves. He is quite satisfied in having anyone believe any one of his lies.
The church, because of its end-time wishful thinking and its disdain for the world God has created for our good (1 Tim. 4:1–4), has given Islam the opportunity to claim the world for itself. The Muslims believe they will control Europe in twenty years without firing a shot. And what will America do? The Christians will sit back and wait for a rapture that will not come. In twenty years they won’t be concerned about illegals coming from our southern border, as bad as that is. They will feel the dread of helplessness as another mosque is built in their neighborhood and public schools are setting time aside each day for Muslim prayers.
 Philip E. Hughes, Commentary on the Second Epistle of the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1962), 127.