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Answering The Atheist
October 31, 2004 / Volume 4, Issue 44

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Do the wicked live long? Job 21:7 reveals that they live long and prosper, but Psalm 55:23, Proverbs 10:27 and Ecclesiastes 8:13 say that they will not live long, nor will they prosper. Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Job's friend Zophar had spoken of the wicked man. He indicated that "...the triumphing of the wicked is short..." (20:5), and that "...his bones are full of his youthful vigor, but it will lie down with him in the dust." (20:11) These thoughts agree with the latter verses listed below, that God will bring judgment upon the wicked quickly, and his days will be cut short.

How then can Job say that the wicked live to an old age and become mighty? Indeed, it happens both ways. Consider the context of Ecclesiastes 8:13: Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

It may be with some evil men, that they live long and prosper, but we can know for surety that it will not be well with them, though their sentence is not executed speedily. With other wicked men, their days are not prolonged, they receive quick judgment. Regardless which takes place in a given circumstance, we can be assured that God reigns supreme and blesses those who will serve Him.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible