Father Fortea, why does the Bible call the devil “the prince of this world”?
On some occasions, the Bible uses expressions in reference to the devil that seem excessive. Nevertheless, everything in the Scripture is perfectly measured. In the Church’s official Latin translation of the Bible, God is called Dominus (Lord) and Rex (King). There is only one King and one Lord; these two terms are always reserved for God in the Bible, that is to say, there is only one holder of power and one holder of rights.
God is King; the devil is just the “prince of this world.” The Latin word for “prince” – princeps – means “he who occupies the first place; the most important, the principal one.” By giving him this title, the Bible wants to convey without a doubt that the devil is the most important demon in this world. Thus, the writings of the holy Church Fathers, following these words of Scripture, consider the devil to have been the most powerful and beautiful of all the angels before his rebellion against God.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.
Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull is a priest, exorcist, and writer from Spain. He has published many books, some of which have been translated from Spanish into English, and has spoken at various venues in the United States. His most famous title is the Summa Daemoniaca, currently available only in Spanish. His book Exorcistica is a supplemental publication of Summa Daemoniaca.
To see many other posts on spiritual warfare and demonology, please click on the following link to see all our posts in this series: Spiritual Warfare and Demonology Posts (and Their Links) on SpiritualDirection.com
Art for this post on the prince of this world: Teotihuacan Feathered Serpent, photographed by Jami Dwyer, 20 August 2008, CCA-SA 2.0 Generic; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International; both Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.