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I've read this passage:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Mark 16:15

What does "all creation" mean? Why not "all humans"?

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A look at this verse in some of the different English translations. Mark 16::15,

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (KJV)

"And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (RSV)

"and he said to them, `Having gone to all the world, proclaim the good news to all the creation;" (YLT)

"Then he said to them, “As you go throughout the world, proclaim the Good News to all creation." (CJB)

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the [c]gospel to the whole creation." (ASV)

"And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (DRA)

"He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (NET)

It appears to be evenly split between the word "creature" and "creation". There are a few translations that have "everyone".

Looking at the context of the scriptures, especially the very next verse -

"Whoever trusts and is immersed will be saved; whoever does not trust will be condemned." (CJB)

"The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned." (NET)

we can tell that the "creature" or "creation" or "everyone" from vs. 15 is a man or woman, "the one", or "one who" believes and is immersed. That leaves out animals because belief and action are required of the creature or creation.

The versions that use "creation" instead of "creature" are maybe a little misleading. The Greek is Strong's 2937, transliterated as "ktisis" and means creation, the act of the product, and is used for a created thing, creation, creature, and institution. Thayer's Greek Lexicon has the meaning at Mark 16:15 of the human race. (1)

As the disciples could only tell the good news to those people living at the time the command was given, then it implies that only the people living during the first century AD were the "whole creation" to which they could preach the word. That was their great commission.

It is passed on to each generation by Paul's command to Timothy.

"and the things that thou didst hear from me through many witnesses, these things be committing to stedfast men, who shall be sufficient also others to teach;" (2 Tim. 2:2, YLT).

So, in Mark 16:15 "all creation" does mean all men and women. Children are also humans, but need to be of a mature age to be able to make the choice, to believe and respond. So, there is justification against using "all humans".

Note:

  1. Strong's Gr. 2937 ktisis - Biblehub
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The church is the crown of God's creation. It is from the church that angels also learn and marvel.

The synoptic gospels present important information that is not fully explored until the apostles wrote more extensively about God's plan - not just for man on earth but beyond, into the heavens where no man resides - except Jesus!

to illuminate for everyone the stewardship of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His purpose was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to the eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. Eph 3:9-11

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. 1 Pet 1:12

The mystery of salvation - through the man Jesus and his victory over evil and death itself is able to redeem a fallen and deceived humanity.

This redemption is potentially available to heavenly beings.

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Col 1:19-20

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Mark 16:8 for they were in fear: According to the earliest available manuscripts of the last part of Mark, the Gospel ends with the words found in verse 8. Some assert that such an ending is too abrupt to have been the original conclusion to the book. However, in view of Mark’s generally terse writing style, that assertion is not necessarily valid. Also, fourth-century scholars Jerome and Eusebius indicate that the authentic record closes with the words “for they were in fear.”

There are a number of Greek manuscripts and translations into other languages that add either a long or a short conclusion after verse 8. The long conclusion (consisting of 12 extra verses) is found in Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Ephraemi Syri rescriptus, and Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, all from the fifth century C.E. It also appears in the Latin Vulgate, the Curetonian Syriac, and the Syriac Peshitta. However, it does not appear in two earlier fourth-century Greek manuscripts, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, or in Codex Sinaiticus Syriacus of the fourth or fifth century, or in the earliest Sahidic Coptic manuscript of Mark of the fifth century. Similarly, the oldest manuscripts of Mark in Armenian and Georgian end at verse 8.

Certain later Greek manuscripts and translations into other languages contain the short conclusion (consisting of just a couple of sentences). The Codex Regius of the eighth century C.E. has both conclusions, giving the shorter conclusion first. It prefaces each conclusion with a note saying that these passages are current in some quarters, though it evidently recognizes neither of them as authoritative.

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  • This is a much better answer. In the future, you can use the Edit link under your answer to make changes/edits to an existing answer instead of adding a new answer. I would recommend deleting the other answer to tidy things up a bit. Also, when you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Oct 11 at 18:31
  • thank you, I am learning.
    – ACME
    Oct 11 at 19:07
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If the correct translation is to all creation, vs to all creatures, then a natural interpretation could be "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to (people throughout) the whole creation", i.e. go to all places, and preach the gospel in all places.

If the correct translation is to all creatures, vs to all creation, then an overly-literal interpretation of preaching to plants, animals, minerals, etc. makes no sense. In that case 'all creatures' must reasonably pertain to people, but the emphasis could be to include Jews and Gentiles, all races, men and women, adults and children.

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  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Sep 19 at 21:31
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Let's see the parallelism, Mark 16:15b:

Go into                   all the world and 
preach the gospel to      all creation.

all the world κόσμος || all creation κτίσις

Strong's Concordance
kosmos: order, the world
Original Word: κόσμος, ου, ὁ Usage: the world, universe; worldly affairs; the inhabitants of the world; adornment.

ktisis: creation
Original Word: κτίσις, εως, ἡ
Usage: (often of the founding of a city), (a) abstr: creation, (b) concr: creation, creature, institution; always of Divine work, (c) an institution, ordinance.

What does "all creation" mean? Why not "all humans"?

In the narrow sense of the word, it means all humans. In the wide sense of the word, it could include aliens from another planet. We'll see when we get there or when they get to us :)

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Reliable sources omit from Mark 16:8 on.

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  • This is a pretty thin answer. Could you flesh this out with citations to source material?
    – agarza
    Sep 20 at 22:11
  • See my fleshed out comment added to explain the different conclusions to Mark
    – ACME
    Oct 11 at 18:18

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