Pantheistic Penitents Pray to Plants

Pantheistic Penitents Pray to Plants:

Seminarians Plant Idolatry in New York City

                              Dr. James J. S. Johnson

And even as they did not like to retain [ouk edokimasan, literally “did not approve”] God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [adokimon, literally “unapproving”] mind.  (Romans 1:28)


Recently some seminary students exhibited their unbiblical imaginations by idolatrously confessing their sins to potted plants. Sound silly?  It is.  Sound stupid?  It is.

Today in chapel, we confessed [our sins] to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings [animisms in the original] who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor.  What [sins] do you confess to the plants in your life?(1)


While New York’s Union Theological Seminary (an affiliate of Columbia University) has a long reputation for rejecting the Bible’s authority and doctrines, plant-worship is a new low. What is going on? In short, if you don’t worship the real God, you’ll eventually imagine and worship fake gods.

Not only is it our duty to glorify God as Creator, and to thank Him for creating us, it is dangerous if we fail to do so. Why? Scripture says that failing to revere God, as our Maker, is a path to disaster—because such failures flow into vain imaginations, darkened hearts, and reprobate-minded follies.

Because that, when they [i.e., all humans who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness] knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness . . . .  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.  (Romans 1:21-26a, 28a)

Appreciating God as Creator is fundamental to understanding the basics of life.(2) Likewise, there are immediate consequences for failing to appreciate God as the Creator; those consequences include self-destructing hearts and minds, foolish thinking, even silly mythologies—touted by supposed intellectuals.

God provides evidentiary proof of His Creatorship to mankind. Some may think that they, like Pontius Pilate, are putting the Lord on trial, as they decide what to do with His creation evidences, but actually they are the ones who are being put on trial—He is testing them.  And there is a consequence if they fail the test!

But what is it?  When skeptics choke on the idea of acknowledging how creation undeniably proves God’s workmanship, God gives them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28).   There is a logical connection between disapproving God’s creatorship and being abandoned to a corrupted mind. That connection is rooted in a New Testament Greek verb, dokeô, because two words in Romans 1:28 derive from it:

And even as they did not like to retain [ouk edokimasan, literally “did not approve”] God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [adokimon, literally “unapproving”] mind.  (Romans 1:28)

The common root verb, dokeô, means “to approve,” i.e., to accept the proof of. It denotes the following two-step process: 1) considering the available evidence and 2) accepting the truth of whatever the reliable evidence shows. In English, we have the related words “prove,” “proof,” “probate,” “probative,” “approve,” and “approbate.”

Like the Greek, these “approve”/”proof”-related terms point to mankind’s mental ability to reasonably recognize and weigh evidence, using analytical logic for arriving at sound evaluations. But this ability is corruptible and is damaged whenever the clear proof of God’s creatorship is irrationally disregarded.


Biblically speaking, a “reprobate mind” is a mind that can’t discern what is right, true, or good—it is morally corrupt and deprived of good judgment. The tragic and terrible reality is that being given over to a reprobate mind is not a punishment that follows death; it is a consequence in the here-and-now. So truth is exchanged for a lie, and good is exchanged for evil. In this “mental leprosy,” people lose the ability to recognize correct information even to the point of self-destruction.

Throughout this temporal life we often watch people put to the test regarding the proven truth of God’s creatorship. Beyond merely “honoring God with their lips,” will they genuinely honor God as Creator, or will they cave in to popular evolutionary worldview peer pressure? God tests everyone with His truth and its proof, but God also provides all of the critical answers and evidence in His written Word, buttressed by the evidences displayed in His amazing creation.

So, how does that pertain to the praying-to-plants seminarians in New York City?  It is ludicrous idolatry, to say the least — insanely praying to created things, rather than to the Creator-God Who made the plants, as well as ourselves.

Many, who laugh at the inanity of the Union seminarians’ pantheistic ritual, should think twice.  Why? Because accepting evolutionary “natural selection” myths, about how and why we originated, is really the same kind of animistic idolatry as praying to potted plants.(3)

Because what is the ultimate difference, theologically, between praying to potted plants—and accepting the materialistic pantheism of evolutionary myths (using the abracadabra-mystical/magical name of “natural selection”), which are just pagan myths that personify and treat the world of “nature” as its own Maker (and as our Creator)?

Rather than giving credit unto God, Whom it is due (for the many caringly engineered details, systems, and interactions that make our lives possible), evolutionists persist in giving credit unto animate and inanimate components of creation, such as earthworms(4) or dung beetles(5) or  infinite time.(6)  That kind of irrationality is both sad and silly.

God created an enormous diversity of plants, including trees, flowers, mosses, grasses—and all of these plants should be appreciated as marvelous members of God’s creation.(7)

But plants, regardless of how wonderfully they bless us, are not to be prayed to: “for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve’.”(8)


(1) Union Theological Seminary tweet, @UnionSeminary [], 17 Sep 2019 9:43 am, reprinted in Veery Huleatt, “Progressive seminary students offered a confession to plants. How do we think about sins against nature?”, The Washington Post, Religion section, 18 Sep 2019 5:07 pm CDT, posted at .

(2) Regarding Earth’s global water cycle, see Ecclesiastes 12:1; Psalm 100:3; Isaiah 44:14-20; Romans 1:20-21; Hebrews 3:4; 1 John 5:21.

(3) Randy J. Guliuzza, “Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: Natural Selection’s Idolatrous Trap”,  Acts & Facts, 40(11):12-15 (November 2011).

(4) James J. S. Johnson, “Thank God for Earthworms!” Acts & Facts, 46(4):21 (April 2017).

(5) James J. S. Johnson, “Dung Beetles: Promoters of Prairie Preservation”, Acts & Facts, 46(1):21 (January (2016).

(6) James J. S. Johnson, “Infinite Time Won’t Rescue Evolution”, Acts & Facts, 47(6):21 (June 2018).

(7) Jeff P. Tomkins, J.P. 2010. Extreme Cold Can be an Inconvenient Truth: Botanical Design Ensures Plant Survival. Acts & Facts. 39(3):8-9 (March 2010).  See also James J. S. Johnson, “Green Bean Bioengineering Shows Creator’s Care”, Acts & Facts, 48(10):21 (October 2019).

(8) Matthew 4:10.


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