A basic error of nature religion is the worship of created things and creatures instead of the God who created them. Even though these religions often seem to honor a “great spirit” over all, this god is only the greatest power in a pantheon that is always identified with various aspects of creation. The Bible (and common sense) declares that the universe was brought into existence and is sustained by a Creator. His moral laws have been written in every conscience so that we all know we are morally accountable to this one true God, have violated His laws, and must look to Him alone for salvation. The biblical indictment could not be clearer:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them [mankind], for God hath showed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world were clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
Because that when they knew God [from creation around them], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans:1:18-25).
In all pagan/nature religions there is a presumed cause-and-effect relationship between the ritual or ceremony performed and the obtaining of the power or healing or other blessing sought. The whole idea of pagan ceremonies—the rites of shaman or witch, the burning of candles, the making of potions, the use of fetishes, etc.—is that they will (if done correctly) elicit a response from the gods or spirits.
Just as the laws of science require an automatic response in the natural order, it is imagined that the gods can be made to respond as well. So it also is in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. To make this absolutely clear, The Council of Trent (the highest authority in Catholicism) decreed:
“If anyone says that by the sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred ex opere operato [by the very act itself], but that faith alone in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace, let him be anathema [excommunicated and thereby damned].”
As we have seen, this cause-and-effect relationship suggests Christianized science, for which there is absolutely no biblical support. In the Old Testament there were many sacrifices and ceremonies commanded by God, but never was it suggested that any ceremony or sacrifice had an efficacious effect by itself. There was no thought that God was impressed by the act, much less that it brought about an automatic response from God that followed certain spiritual laws. On the contrary, because the hearts of priests and people were not right, God rejected the sacrifices of Israel, even though they followed the ceremonial procedures according to the letter of the law:
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs or of he goats….
Bring no more vain oblations: incense is an abomination unto me…. When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood.
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah:1:11-17).