I am looking for an overview of the major historical approaches to the following question/group of questions:

Since God has given us this body to do good or bad, then does he share at all in the praise or blame we incur for particular acts? And if he does, why is it that we are judged to heaven or hell based on those acts?

I realize the general philosophical nature of this question, but I assume that there will be a relatively small number of historically well-represented or well-supported approaches to the question. An overview of the top two or three approaches would suffice.


I think the question to your question is, what is a well-represented or well-supported historical document, and how do you, as an individual, verify its authenticity aside from believing the claims of others?

With that said, I will quote the historical source (compilation of many other sources), The Bible and use that as the authority here.

To answer your question accurately, we should first be under the correct assumptions. God does not judge us based on our good or bad deeds, God judges us in light of the goodness of His son, Jesus Christ.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (Romans 3:23-25 NKJV)

It's quite easy to "sin." It's not just wrongdoing, it's "missing the mark." Strong's concordance:

originally: I miss the mark, hence (a) I make a mistake, (b) I sin, commit a sin (against God); sometimes the idea of sinning against a fellow-creature is present. (http://biblehub.com/greek/264.htm).

The mark that we have is the Word that God has given us to live by. If we do not keep his commandments, even a little we miss the mark. It's like shooting an arrow at a bullseye. If we miss the centre, we miss the mark.

Now, God is just. We know because He says so.

6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7)

And we know that God cannot lie.

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NKJV)

So, therefore, humanity (including every person who ever lived and was not God) has all missed the mark (sinned). As a just God every individual must have punishment for what they have done. This is justice.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NKJV)

The punishment for that sin is death. This is not a physical death, but a death of your immortal soul, or hell (the second death Revelation 20:14).

Therefore, as a just God he must send us to hell as our reward for even missing the mark. Just as a judge in our court system is celebrating for keeping the law, He is the ultimate judge. You would not expect a judge to let a murderer go free, and you would not expect God to let a sinner go free.

Now, of course, we know by the scripture above (Romans 3:23-25) that our judgement of death was given to Jesus, instead. This demonstrates the mercy of God, which He spoke about Himself also. This makes the following true.

9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

Thus, the only way to accept the judgement of your name being cleared of sin and enter into the eternal dwelling with God (Heaven), is to acknowledge that Jesus bore your guilty judgement, died, and lives again eternally because He was not a liar.

Now to answer your question, does God share in the blame for evil acts in this world?

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13)

God does not tempt people to sin (let's put away the "hardening the heart" theological debate from this). A just God would not cause His people to sin to cause them to die. That is not justice. Therefore, He does not share in the blame for this world missing the mark.

Does God share in the praise?

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 118:28-29)

God's love fills the earth (Psalm 119:64), whether or not we choose to accept it. So praising God is as natural and necessary as breathing (Psalm 148). He doesn't share in the praise, to Him is all of the praise.

Edit in light of the comment

God gives us free will and we make a choice to decide which path to take. It's like this, imagine your father (representing God) buys you a car so that you can have a better life. You can either choose to drive the car safely or be reckless. Also, other people have free will and could (sin) by driving their car into you. The fact that your father gave you the car is good, and he should be praised since you can do food pantry runs to serve the poor with it. If you do bad things (sin) with the car, it's your responsibility to use it wisely, and not their fault.

Giving life is obviously very different from giving a car. If somebody was to help a poor person, he could certainly take the credit for it if he chooses. But he must also consider the humbling fact that God first:

  1. Created time and space.
  2. Created the universe.
  3. Created the Earth.
  4. Created humanity.
  5. Gave humanity the ability to reason and decide.
  6. Gave humanity the ability to understand what love (giving) is.
  7. Gave the giver the means to give.
  8. Gave the receiver a means to receive.

So, without God there would not even be any type of giving to the poor at all.

Like you are saying, you could also, therefore, argue the reverse. You could say that there would be no such thing as poverty if God had never created life. Therefore He is partially to blame. The only answer that can be provided to this argument is a good quote by CS Lewis.

If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will -that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings- then we may take it it is worth paying.

Basically, if God says that creating life and granting His creation free will is good, then it is good. He has done a good thing. He stands behind what He has done and always takes full responsibility, and even responds when His creation calls.

  • 1
    Thank you for your effort. 1: My Apologies, unfortunately I wasn't able to get a good grasp of what you were conveying...perhaps a simple outline with more plain English words would help me. 2: I never said/believe that God can tempt us into a sin...Satan is the one who can only tempt or entice(not force) us do that. Yet isn't God the one who gave Hitler/Saddam Hussain/etc. their life/body? obviously yes...so to an extent God is to be blamed. 3. If he is to take all the praise then what where do we stand!? For instance if you help a poor person, is God to get all the praise and non for you!? – Vazir Jul 12 '15 at 1:48
  • Thanks for responding. I edited my answer with hopefully a more relevant response. Forgive me for being so wordy. My wife is always trying to get me to stop blabbing so much when writing. – Mikey A. Leonetti Jul 14 '15 at 1:08
  • I have read your answer over and over, If possible please be explicit with your final answer. Is God to get any recognition for any good/bad action we do? If so please bring me Biblical texts. – Vazir Jul 30 '15 at 17:57

You say "our deeds". What are our deeds? My nose is mine but I did not create it because God created all things. I inherited my D.N.A. which made my nose.So things become ours not because we create them but because we are given them. We inherit our nurture and nature A] they make us who we are B] we don't choose them. 1 Pet 4v5 we give back[apodo] an account of the life He first gave us. If I give an account of the 1st World War that does not make me responsible for it. So far I have been describing a Determinist way of reading the Bible in which there is no free will and no human responsibility. A chair does not have to make itself to be a chair. We choose. We choose on the basis of who we are. We do not choose who we are. Choose you this day whom you will serve is a choice which we will make solely on the basis on how God first made us. On the other hand the Libertarian view is that Adam disobeyed God only because he had the free will to do so, and all human behaviour is down to free will. Here we need to think about whether God's Laws are given to be obeyed or to prove that we can't. Compatibilism says that Determinism {God is sovereign} is compatible with free will. Pelagius was a Libertarian and Augustine inclined towards determinism I understand. So these positions have been under scrutiny for a long time. Responsibility has two aspects: 1] Instrumental.e.g. who betrayed Jesus? Judas or someone else? Who did it? 2] Ultimate responsibility. Why did Judas betray Jesus? Was it because he had free will or because this destiny was given him by God who determined his actions. Luke 22v22 says Jesus went as it was determined but "woe unto that man" that betrayed Him. This means that Judas would be punished even though his actions were determined for him. We are instrumentally responsible for all our deeds. If I sit in a chair I have done it. But that does not make me ultimately responsible if God decided before it happened that He would make me do that. So two sorts of responsibility exist and in my experience of Christianity these are frequently treated as one. I am not sure your question strictly defines in which sense you use the word.


See Ezekiel 18:

The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:

“‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

3 “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. 4 For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

The rest of the chapter elaborates this idea. Parents and children are intimately connected. Parents pass on their genetic makeup, teachings, habits and many other things. Parents are in a sense the creators of their children. Nevertheless, the sins of parents are not to be counted against their children, nor is the righteousness of parents to be credited in their favor. If that is true, that parents and children are independent actors to be independently judged, it is also true of our relationship to God, with a difference: by faith in Jesus, his righteousness is given to us as a gift, and our sins are taken away.

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