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Why Do the Wicked Prosper?



As Christians, we know that we live in a fallen world. When Adam and Eve disobeyed the commands of God, they brought sin, death, and brokenness into the human world by rending the relationship they had with the triune God. The first part of 1 Corinthians 15:22 reminds us as much, saying, “For as in Adam all die…”


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the worst of this fallen humanity and displayed all the callous and proud hubris that fills the twisted hearts of humankind.


For example, a recent Wall Street Journal article indicated that China refused to give the World Health Organization access to raw data on COVID-19 cases at the beginning of the global pandemic. [1] Burying this information might have led to the unnecessary deaths of thousands of people and caused untold pain and heartache.


Do the Chinese government officials feel any guilt for their callousness? Probably not. Have they been punished for their jingoistic attempts to prop up the image of their despotic government? Like before, the answer is probably not.


If you want further proof, look to the United States, where New York Governor Andrew Cuomo hid data that indicated the pressure his administration exerted on nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients likely contributed to deaths and illnesses as the contagion spread through the facilities. Cuomo’s former aide admitted that they hid the data out of fear it would “be used against us.” [2]


Has Cuomo received any genuine retribution for the consequences of this obviously stupid decision? No. Has he been punished for trying to hide the disastrous results of his actions? Also, no.


Even normal expectations of basic decency are all-too-often lacking. For instance, despite promising to fire anyone who was known to be abusive, President Joe Biden’s administration Just announced that they would merely be suspending a week’s worth of pay to TJ Ducklo, despite his threatening a female reporter who outed one of his affairs with a different journalist. [3]


Often, Christians lament the folly of evil people, wondering how it is that they do not receive any apparent retribution for their actions. They are not alone in this lament. The prophet Jeremiah expressed similar sorrow over two millennia ago in Jeremiah 12:1. The prophet boldly interrogates God with his own perceived injustices: “You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?”


Despite the apparent wrongness of this impunity, Christians would be wise to remember God’s promise in Ecclesiastes 12:14 “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” In Johnny Cash’s haunting track God’s Gonna Cut You Down, he roughly croons a version of this message: “You can run on for a long time/Sooner or later God'll cut you down.”


It is also important to remember that there is hope beyond this world. Although the first part of 1 Corinthians 15:22 reminds us that Adam’s sin has condemned our world ("For as in Adam all die…”), the second part offers us hope “…so in Christ all will be made alive.”


No matter how dark or bleak the world seems. No matter how evil humankind becomes. God will ultimately hold the wicked accountable. He will save those who trust in His son’s name.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Jeremy Page and Drew Hinshaw, “China Refuses to Give WHO Raw Data on Early Covid-19 Cases,” Wall Street Journal (February 12, 2021), https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-refuses-to-give-who-raw-data-on-early-covid-19-cases-11613150580

[2] Bernadette Hogan, Carl Campanile and Bruce Golding, "Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa admits they hid nursing home data so feds wouldn’t find out.” New York Post (February 11, 2021), https://nypost.com/2021/02/11/cuomo-aide-admits-they-hid-nursing-home-data-from-feds/

[3] Jen Psaki, “Thread,” Twitter (February 12, 2021), https://twitter.com/PressSec/status/1360284954165448711

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Foundations of Truth hereby waive all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.