Why do great things happen to unbelievers and even bad people?

In Church there is talk about blessings of the Lord for those who love Him, etc.

But what about those that are blessed that don't love him? How does that work?

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    I'm not sure what the question is here... Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 7:30
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    I should also ask here: which Christian doctrine? There are many (by sub-division of Christianity), many of them incompatible Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 8:26
  • Please see this, which is also considered a duplicate question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/5017/…
    – user1054
    Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 16:45
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    Re the edit: again, the whole "striking down" thing seems largely to be OT; in NT, most things relate to the next life, not this one. Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 22:32
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    I think this a great question, the same question that Asaph asks in Psalm 73, and a point that Job's 'friends' rub in his face throughout their discussion. Shortened, 'Why do good things happen to bad people'. I hate down votes due to what appears to me to be ignorance. Just because you don't understand a question, does not mean that it is not a good question. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 2:39

4 Answers 4


You could take the word "atheist" here and replace it with any group. Any religion, including (yes, really) Christian has people who fit that description. And there are people from every religion, and atheists, who that description fails to describe. You could also use labels such as political alignment, county of origin, gender - and you'd get the same hits and misses.

I believe you are very deeply confused about the relationship between what people believe (in terms of religion), and how people act, and whether they are successful / constructive / whatever. And I have no idea how "good looking" plays into this question!

But: if the question is "why don't atheists live according to Christian teachings"... Er, because they don't believe them. I could equally ask "Why don't Christians live according to the teachings of Hindu/Islam/Zoroastrianism/Norse-Mythology?".

Re "living by different rules"; you may be aware of something in your location called "local/national/international law". Most people live according to their society's laws, which are usually based along the lines of "don't harm eachother" - do not steal, do not kill, etc (aside: please don't think this means these laws come from the Bible; these same laws have evolved in every successful culture, including those completely separated from the Bible; it seems such laws, and things with health implications ("don't eat each other", "having kids with your sister is not a good idea") are a pre-requisite, for self-evident reasons, for a successful culture). As it happens, this is often fairly compatible with many religions. Indeed, there are many laws in the Bible that are largely disregarded even by believers (most Christians in Western cultures are happy to use contraception, for example (citation: Catholicism). A reasonable case could be made that many Christians are primarily also following the society law, rather than Biblical law.

Finally, Christianity does not, AFAIK, claim to make you rich, healthy, successful or attractive. Any claims of such are usually limited to the afterlife. Which is convenient.

I'm not entirely sure what the question is, but hopefully I've touched on some of it?

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    "Any claims of such are usually limited to the afterlife. Which is convenient." Oh ye, of little faith! :) Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 10:35
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    @Wikis very literally, indeed :p Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 11:02
  • Yes you did hit some of the question, thanks. The example was to say these are people who live by society laws (good people) but NOT by Biblical laws. they live in Biblical sin, yet they are NOT struck down, or suffering and even live what is considered a blessed life. The rules I am referring to are the Biblical rules, and it seems it may not really hold merit to some individuals in this world. Now if it means they can't get into heaven that is a different issue, but here they follow their own needs and are just fine. Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 19:51
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    Christianity does not, AFAIK, claim to make you rich... You haven't been watching enough TBN :)
    – Flimzy
    Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 19:58
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    @Greg well, "follow their own needs" might be an over-simplification; non-Christians can be just as considerate of the needs of others as Christians Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 21:21

The problem of theodicy is present throughout the Bible, and so I am not going to give an exhaustive answer. I will say, However, that even Jesus said that His Father caused "rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike," (Matthew 5:45)), meaning that in this present age, the wicked will, in fact, be seen to prosper.

Some of what the Bible says on the matter can be found here.

One of the better answers to theodicy is to remember that God is both just and merciful. A formulation that is used throughout the old testament is that God is "slow to anger, but abounding in mercy.". That God would give the wicked every chance to repent is in His nature, and a blessing for all sinners who choose to repent.

To your point that the wicked must be punished in order for Chrisianity to mean anything, well, May I suggest Jesus has a story you need to hear?

One of the most famous parables - called alternately the parable of the Produgal Son or the Parable of the Loving Father, is completely against the idea that the righteous should expect or take any solace in the punishment of the wicked. After the Prodigal returns, the older brother is, to put it mildly, pissed. After all, why should the young brother be forgiven? When the Father takes the older brother aside, he encourages the older brother to rejoice in the return, not worry about the evil that has been done.

It is against the Pharisees this parable is directed. the story is a picture of God's loving response towards sinners, and a warning against the righteous not to be annoyed that repenting sinners are received with open arms.

In short, as a sinner myself, I am to rejoice at God's forbearance. I regularly praise God that I didn't get "what I deserve.".

But, as Galatians says, do not be deceived, God is not mocked. What a man sows, so shall he reap.

  • thanks...I guess I struggle with the question, does it make any difference in this world to be a Christian, then? Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 18:37
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    See the last line of what I wrote :) Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 19:23

In short- God loves all people- (even the guy trolling on this site saying he'd raped my mother!); that does not mean he loves their sins. I also believe (and this is one area of thought that is open to dispute) that God=joy and thereby all who truly seek joy, whether in this life or in the next, will be redeemed. This makes me a Universalist but I am not entirely alone in that belief. Seeking God means seeking the light.


First of all we can not use sinners as e all are sinners. Instead we should day believers and non believers! Here is my study on it! There is a confusion between being blessed and the essence of grace!

So much so that non believers and yes even Christians today, believe that no matter what they do, if they come into something good, that they are being blessed by God, as most of us know and some obviously don't know, blessings come from God or from those that are His children only! His children may bless others; now whether God will take our blessings in to account or not, we are still to love and uplift one another and even pray for our enemies, this is a commandment! Grace is not the same, grace is giving to "everyone", grace is what allows us to live, to have good things, to have children, to find a good mate, you found a new job, this is grace because everyone is loved by God, by the grace of God! As we see in the first to verses that the word bless comes in use! God first blessed Abraham, so therefore blessings come directly from God and then through Abraham, his blood line or his inheritors! Genesis 12:2-3

Blessings are extended [favor] from God or like I said His children, towards one another believer, as we see in Strongs definition of blessed Grace is Gods love, kindness and mercy upon the whole of humanity! You might say that it says God will bless those that bless Abraham and curse those that curse Him. Well, God is referring to fellow Christians! As again, the Bible speaks to believers and never about non believers, when it comes to blessings! In the Bible you will find no sinners being favored by God(blessed)! Why? Because the Bible is the instructions and guidance of believers and would simply never refer to non believers! Grace is another story, we are to shower grace upon all, saints and non believers alike!

Strongs Hebrew/Greek definition of blessed; 3107 makários (from mak-, "become long, large") – properly, when God extends His benefits (the advantages He confers); blessed!

Cognate: 5485 xáris (another feminine noun from xar-, "favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards {to share} benefit") – properly, grace. 5485 (xáris) is preeminently used of the Lord's favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is "always leaning toward them!

Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

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