Blinded Eyes

Can a person who is spiritually blind understand and respond to the gospel? There are a number of passages in the Bible that speak of man having “ears to hear” and “eyes to see” and they fail to both hear and see. There are other references to eyes that are blinded to the truth of the gospel. One of those passages can be found in John Chapter 12. John writes: “But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.”

The emphasis of this passage is not really focused on the statement that Isaiah made, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand him with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” The emphasis is on the fact that Jesus did so many signs before the religious leaders and they refused to believe in Him, in spite of all they heard and all they saw. It was as “if their eyes were blinded and their hearts hardened. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many did believe in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” The reason so many refused to believe Jesus is really seen in verse, “for they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.” In this passage the blinded eyes and hardened hearts may well be a reference to their love of the praise of men the Pharisees had in their hearts. This is not a proof text on God’s divine intervention on salvation and election.

John quotes Isaiah 6:10 which says, “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.” Notice the order that Isaiah gives of the mind, ears and eyes; in the first part of the verse, he mentions them in this order: mind, ears and eyes. When he lists them again, it is in the reverse order: eyes, ears and then heart. In Biblical days, the heart is the seat of emotion. It controls what is heard and seen. The heart directs man in everything he does. However, the heart is moved by what a person sees and hears. What God is saying in this passage is that their hearts had already affected how they saw things and how they interpreted what they heard. God gave them over to their rebellion and rejection of His promises by dimming their eyes and dulling their ears so their hearts would remain unchanged.

In verse 42 Jesus says, “Nevertheless” referring to the statement He made about the Jewish leader’s eyes being blinded, Jesus says, many of the rulers believed in Him. This would seem to run in contrary to the blinded eyes of the depraved person of Calvinism for that person could not believe. The reference here to “blinded eyes” quoted from the prophet of Isaiah lends no real support to the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity. Once again as it has already been mentioned, a blinding of the eyes does not seem necessary if the Calvinist is right and man is spiritually dead. To blind the eyes of an individual who is dead does not seem to make much sense.

This whole passage does make sense if revelation and response are important. In fact, that is exactly what Jesus says in verse 40; He says, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” Those who hear the gospel and see the results of the gospel can “understand with their hearts and turn” and be healed. This further amplifies Jesus’ comment that He is come as a light into the world that whosoever believes in Him should not abide in darkness is interesting as well. The thing about light is that it is visible to everyone and not just a few. He said if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The purpose of light is to overcome darkness. Jesus has come as the light to save the world. “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” Salvation is available to all who believe in Jesus, who is the Light of the world that has come to save the world. Some Jesus said, “will reject Me.”

One other passage speaks of blinded eyes and that phrase is found in 2 Corinthians the 4th Chapter. Here Paul writes, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” Here one might conclude that God has blinded the eyes of some and they are those who do not believe. The problem with that application is that is not what the text says. It is not God who blinds the eyes here but rather the god of this age who is Satan. So it is Satan who has blinded the eyes of some, who do not believe. There is obviously a BIG difference in the two interpretations.

Grateful to be in His Grip



2 responses to this post.

  1. Very interesting what you wrote. It gives something to think about, God has blinded some…the devil blinds too, usually first. I like how you noticed about God hardening those whom Calvinists say cannot believe anyways. Instead of Calvinists giving up their false beliefs, they will probably change their explanation for that obvious blunder of theirs to those scriptures.


  2. Thanks for the comment and for visiting our site. It is a rare opportunity for anyone to “change their minds on blog posts…” or theological arguments in general but it does happen and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit is able to use something here to speak to someone’s heart.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!



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