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Answering The Atheist
November 26, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 48

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Do evildoers prosper? Some texts say yes (Job 12:6; Psalm 73:3-7, 12; Jeremiah 12:1), but other texts say no (Psalm 34:21). Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Generically, the Scriptures acknowledged that those who do evil will prosper in this world. The three texts mentioned by the questioner are just a few of the texts which could be used. There are others. However, though the ways of the wicked will often produce prosperity in this life, they bring about destruction for eternity. If the questioner will consider the context of Psalm 34:21, it will be evident that the writer is considering things eternal and not temporal.

Consider the words of Solomon. This well summarizes what the Bible says about the ways of the wicked and their prosperity: "Because the sentence against an evil worker is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 8:11-14)

There is no contradiction here.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible