Human doctrines harm creation, because they follow worldly ways instead
of the heavenly will of God.
Last week we talked about how ritualistic religion kills animals, and since animals are a vital part of Godís creation, it only stands to reason that human doctrines will also kill animals because the animals suffer when anything or anyone harms creation.
And each and every one of us needs to take a positive stand against these human doctrines, for the more we learn to do this, the more we help free creation from its present corruption, and thus prevent some animals from suffering and dying.
And, if all of us did this, we would end all forms of exploitation, and free creation from its present corruption and bring Godís peace to all humans, all animals, and the environment we all live in.
In Mark 7:1-23, we will get a better understand of how human doctrines harm creation.
1. And the Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered together around Him
when they had come from Jerusalem,
2. and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed.
Note that the disciples were not eating animal foods; they were eating bread.
3. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders;
We need to understand that Jesus and his disciples were also Jewish, so this
verse cannot mean all Jews, only certain Jews, such as those of the Temple
and their followers.
Also, the writer is specifically saying that they are following the traditions of the elders, which is the opposite of saying that they are following the precepts of God.
These are also the same people who have doctrines for killing animals, and because the killing and eating of animals causes humans to harden their hearts, which directly or indirectly causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
The Jews also have special prayers that they say before eating any kind of food except flesh, and we believe it is because deep down inside they know that eating flesh is against Godís heavenly will.
4. and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.)
We hope we all see how their human doctrines are the main issue in their religion, and human doctrines harm creation.
5. And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?"
They are so hard of heart that they donít seem to realize that they are actually challenging God, and saying that their human doctrines are more important than the heavenly will of God.
6. And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as
it is written,
'This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
7. 'But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
Even some 700 years before Jesus, Isaiah observed the same human indifference to Godís heavenly will, and that lack of following God led the whole nation of Israel astray.
8. "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."
9. He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
This problem is going on to this very day in various forms and actions.
The other day for example, a woman insisted that animals donít have souls, even though the Bible clearly states in the Hebrew that they do have souls; instead of following the word of God, she is following the human dictates of her church.
This is how human doctrine harms creation.
10. "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who
speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death';
11. but you say,' If a man says to his father or his mother, anything of mine you might have been helped by is Corban (that is to say, given to God),'
12. you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;
13. thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."
We hope we all see the trend that is going on in this Biblical account, for it is an example of the hardness of heart coming out of most churches.
14. And after He called the multitude to Him again, He began saying to them,
"Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:
15. there is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.
16. ["If any man has ears to hear, let him hear."]
This sentence is in brackets because it does not appear in the earliest manuscripts.
17. And when leaving the multitude, He had entered the house, His disciples
questioned Him about the parable.
18. And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him;
19. because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated? "(Thus He declared all foods clean.)
We still do not believe that this last part is correct, because all foods are not clean, and we can see this in our own time, particularly with animal flesh and bodily secretions.
20. And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.
Notice carefully that we are not just talking about words, but deeds, as we are told next.
21. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts,
fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
22. deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.
23. "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."
And this is why human doctrines harm creation, and along with it humans,
animals, and the environment.
Letís now take a look at James 1:17-27Ö
17. Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
If there is no variation with God, then Godís commandment in Genesis 1 to eat only plant foods still stands today.
18. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.
In other words we were to lead the other animals, and set Godly examples of His heavenly will before others.
19. This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear,
slow to speak and slow to anger;
20. for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
21. Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
This is what happens when we allow human doctrines to lead us; we are to lead by the will of God, where there is no pain suffering or death.
23. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man
who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24. for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
We believe that this is what happens to people when it comes to animal
issues, because our religious institutions have held to ungodly and false
human doctrines that deny animals their basic God-given rights without any
human exploitation that reduce them to mere objects and not the living
companions that God intended them to be.
And because of this, human hearts are hardened and we find ourselves in the midst of a violent world full of warring madness and an indifference toward the lives of animals.
The UN even says that the greatest contributor to the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming is our animal agricultural operations.
To us, this is proof that human doctrines harm creation.
25. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.
These are also the people who feel the pain and suffering of the whole of creation, and actively do something to end it and free it from its present corruption.
26. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
To us this describes most of the people in the world.
27. This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father,
to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained
by the world.
And we canít end here with visiting orphans and widows, because if we also
keep ourselves unstained by the world, we will feel the pain and suffering
of the whole of creation and do whatever we can to end it.
Human doctrines harm creation, but the peacemaking children of God help free creation from its present corruption.
Jesus taught us to pray for Godís heavenly will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven, so if we pray for it, then we need to also do whatever we can to end the violence, pain, and bloodshed that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
This isnít for someone else to do; this is for each and every one of us to do.