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The Origin of Religion

When did religion start? Is there a reason there are so many religions today and how can people decide which one will return them to God and salvation?

TRANSCRIPT

The Origin of Religion

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Brother Phillip Velazquez: Hello, I’m Brother Phillip Velazquez as you join us again on another episode of That’s in the Bible—where your questions are answered straight from the Bible. Today, we’ll be answering a number of questions which are all about religion—from the beginnings of religion, to why there are so many nowadays. 

What is religion?

Brother Phillip: The first question we have comes from Jenny Encarnacion from San Diego and she asks:

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Jenny Encarnacion: My question is how did religion come about?

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Brother Phillip: Thanks, Jenny, for that question. Now, let’s start by understanding what religion means. Let’s look at the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary here [on] page 1918. Religion, from Latin: religion, religious reverence, piety, religion, probably from Religare to tie back. The personal commitment to and serving of God or a god with worshipful devotion, conduct in accord with divine commands especially as found in accepted sacred writings or declared by authoritative teachers…

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Source: Webster’s Third New International Dictionary page 1918

Religion

[fr. L religion-, religio reverence, piety, religion, prob. Fr. Religare to tie back]

The personal commitment to and serving of God or a god with worshipful devotion, conduct in accord with divine commands esp, as found in accepted sacred writings or declared by authoritative teachers…

Brother Phillip: The word religion comes from the Latin word “religare,” as we’ve just read, which means to tie back or to bring people back to God through devoted service, and worship, and obedience to His commands. This is also written in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?
[Deuteronomy 10:12-13 New King James Version]

When did religion start?

Brother Phillip: So, when did God first establish a religion? When He issued His commands to the first human beings for them to follow. And that we can read here in Genesis 2:16-17:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

[Genesis 2:16-17 New King James Version]

Brother Phillip: So, religion was first established when our Almighty God first gave His commands to His first human [creations]: Adam and Eve. And when it comes to following His commands, what does our Almighty God want us to remember? Let’s read in Deuteronomy 12:32:

“Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

[Deuteronomy 12:32 New King James Version]

Brother Phillip: God wants us to strictly follow His commands. We have no right to add or subtract—in other words—modify His commands. So, ever since God has given His people laws and commands to follow, from Adam and Eve up until today, God expects us to uphold the true religion, the following of His commandments. 

Why are there so many religions?

So, let’s now go to the next question, and this is from Antonio Toohey from Down Under. He asked something very relevant to our topic today. 

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Antonio Toohey: Why do we have so many religions? And why aren’t we all together as one? And have different beliefs?

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Brother Phillip: That’s a good question, Antonio, and thank you. It’s true—if there is only one God, from Whom these commands come from, then why are there so many religions today teaching different things? The answer can be found in Romans 10:3:

They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right. 

[Romans 10:3 Today’s English Version]

Brother Phillip: Why are there so many religions today? Because other people have set up their own way or paths. They don’t know the way by which to return back to our Almighty God. Remember, we read earlier on, that the meaning of religion is to tie back to bring people back to God. So, how does the Bible describe these ways or paths that these people have set up on their own? Let’s read Isaiah 59:8-9. This is where we can find the answer: 

The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. Therefore justice is far from us, Nor does righteousness overtake us; We look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but we walk in blackness!

[Isaiah 59:8-9 New King James Version]

Brother Phillip: The Bible describes these paths as crooked because they have been set up by these people. Since when did man turn away from God’s path, or the true religion, and set up their own way or establish their own religion? Let’s read in Malachi 3:7:

Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. …

[Malachi 3:7 New International Version]

People set up their own way 

Brother Phillip: And that’s the reason why there are so many religions today. People have set up or established their own way, their own paths. They have turned away from God’s laws and commandments. 

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People set up their own way and turned away from God

Brother Phillip: An example: God’s prohibition when it comes to worshipping Him, and that’s written in Deuteronomy 4:16-19:

that you do not sin by making for yourselves an idol in any form at all—whether man or woman, animal or bird, reptile or fish. Do not be tempted to worship and serve what you see in the sky—the sun, the moon, and the stars. … 

[Deuteronomy 4:16-19 Today’s English Version]

Brother Phillip: Isn’t this what we see in the world’s major religions of today? The worship of idols or statues in the form of men, women, and even animals. There are religions also that conduct nature worship and even hold sacred the celestial bodies there in outer space. There are many other examples of God’s commands which are not being followed. These religions have strayed from the true commands of the true God, resulting in the many religions today. 

So, what does man need? Man needs to find the true religion in order for him to return to the Lord God. How can man do this? Remember what we read earlier on? God commanded in Malachi 3:7, He said, “…Return to me, and I will return to you,…”

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…Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. …

[Malachi 3:7 New International Version]

How can man return to God?

Brother Phillip: How can one return to God? How can one be a part of the true religion that God intended? Let’s listen to what God Himself instructs all people to do in Jeremiah 6:16: 

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

[Jeremiah 6:16 New International Version]

Brother Phillip: What is God instructing all of us to do for us to return back to Him? He is telling all of us to look for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and to walk in it so that we will find rest for our souls, or salvation. Who is this path or way in which we should walk because it will bring us back to our Almighty God? Here in John 14:6. This is where we can find the answer: 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

[John 14:6 New King James Version]

Brother Phillip: It is our Lord Jesus Christ who is the way. It is in Him where we can find the true way or religion that will bring us back to God for the attainment of the true life, or salvation. Now, how did the apostles describe those who walk in our Lord Jesus Christ? Let’s get the answer from Colossians 2:6-7: 

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

[Colossians 2:6-7 New King James Version]

Brother Phillip: As we read, those who walk in our Lord Jesus Christ—they were described as being “rooted” or “built up in Him.” Who are these people? To find out about them, we ask this question: What is it that was built up in our Lord Jesus Christ? We can read the answer in Matthew 16:18: 

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

[Matthew 16:18 New King James Version]

Brother Phillip: It is the Church, as we have read, which is built upon the Rock. The rock upon the Church is built is our Lord Jesus Christ according to Acts 4:10-11. And which is this Church that is built upon Christ, the Church which He Himself  established? We can read the answer in Ephesians 4:12. 

The common object of their labor was to bring the Christians maturity, to prepare them for Christian service and the building up of the Church of Christ 

[Ephesians 4:12 Norlie’s Simplified New Testament]

Brother Phillip: As we have read, it is the Church Of Christ that was established by our Lord Jesus Christ. So the people who are truly built up in Christ are in the Church Of Christ, where man can be reconciled or be brought back to our Almighty God in order for him to attain the true life, and the promised salvation on the day of judgment. This is the true religion. 

That’s all we have time for this episode. Thank you again for joining us. We’ll be back soon but in the meantime why not share this episode with someone you know? We also encourage you to email us with your questions. 

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Email us: answers@incmedia.org

Brother Phillip: Thanks for watching, I’m Brother Phillip Velazquez and we’ll see you next time.

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The Origin of Religion