Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 24, 1961
NUMBER 16, PAGE 3,14a

Spiritual Blindness

Wilbur Hunt, Palmetto, Florida

No one would like to be physically blind, losing his eye-sight, and being unable to see the beautiful things of this world and where he is and where he is going. Unless one has a strong will and determination to survive in a world of darkness, one would be helpless and dependent upon other people for guidance and knowledge of what is going on in the world. Although physical blindness is a bad thing to have, there is another type of blindness that is worse — spiritual blindness. On an equal level with spiritual blindness is mental blindness; they go hand in hand with each other. The Bible teaches us what is involved in spiritual and mental blindness.

One word sums it up — stubbornness. "Stubbornness" can be defined as the refusal to do what one knows is good for him. It should not be confused with definite thinking and convictions as a result of logical reasoning and arguments and coming to a definite conclusion about something or what course is to be taken. I grant that a stubborn person might claim that he has definite arguments and reasons for not doing what is suggested, but are they really groundless excuses given to evade responsibilities and wise courses and to maintain freedom and liberty to do as one pleases. I believe that such is the case with most or all stubborn behavior. "Prejudice" and "a lack of growing up" describes this very well. If there is anything that prevents one from growing up and avoiding ruts in thinking and action, it is stubbornness. No one is static; no one ever stops growing. Either one is growing upwards towards greater things and development of one's abilities, or one is going backwards and downward. It is like climbing a mountain — either you keep on moving ahead, or you slip down. The Christian life is a life of growth and fighting, the development of and the putting on of the Christian graces, and the putting off of the things of the flesh. I believe that more energy is consumed in stubbornly fighting necessary changes in one's life and habits than in actual constructiveness of one's life — standing still instead of going forward.

What are the specific characteristics of spiritual and mental blindness? The first one is ignorance of the word of God. It was ignorance that crucified Christ; it is ignorance that crucifies Christ anew in people's lives by the way that they live, think, speak, and act today. It is only through knowledge of the word of God that we can know God and ourselves, the answers to the problems of life, and the nature and will of God. If knowledge of accounting is essential if one wants to be a success in accounting, how much more is a knowledge of the word of God to guide one's life successfully! Unfortunately, many people, including some members of the church, do not want to know God lest their duties are increased — doing more because one knows more. They do not want to understand those things that would convert and heal them of their sins. If "ignorance is no excuse" is true in worldly affairs, it is equally true in spiritual affairs. These blind people prefer to remain undisturbed in their beliefs and habits, to love lies and unrighteousness rather than the Truth, and to walk in spiritual and mental darkness rather than the light of the word of God. As a result, there is no ability to receive spiritual things, spiritual or mental sleeping or indifference, and a lack of understanding.

The second characteristic of mental blindness is no belief in prophecies, especially those of doom. No one likes to hear warnings and dooms, but all want to hear "good things" and things that are pleasant. This is just another way of believing lies rather than truth. One's mind can be so deceived and filled up with lies that there is no appetite for the truth. All of this arises out of the natural tendency to "live for the moment," and not worry about the future. Then again, because man is fleshly and limited, he cannot see the future, and would reject such things as the warnings to repent and live right in view of the coming Judgment Day because such are contrary to natural desires and the ordinary affairs of life. The author read once that a juvenile delinquent does not fear punishment for what he does, no more so than would a child raised right. If this is true, and it is, how much more so is it in this matter of the relationship between God the Father and Creator of all that exists and man the creature and child of God. If man is in the image of God, then it logically follows that man is responsible to God as a child is responsible to his parents, and that God will judge, punish, and reward each person, depending on the way that one has lived and respected God and his word. But if man is an highly developed animal then all of this business of warnings and getting people to repent and change their lives in view of the justice of God and the nature of sin is meaningless; there is no absolute standard of right and wrong except one's own feelings, likes, and dislikes.

The third trait of mental blindness is no fear of God. This is simply respecting and acknowledging God and his nature and will. Only the study of his word and the realization of his great power in creating and maintaining the universe and in his works of redemption and deliverance and his goodness towards mankind as well as his justice can produce the fear of God that should exist in man the creature. This also involves recognition of and obedience to the laws of God. The person who fears God would not do anything that would bring shame and punishment as a child who respects his parents and their advice would not do anything that would bring shame and disgrace on the family and himself.

The fourth trait is forgetting the goodness of God. This is just another way of saying "taking things for granted, and not recognizing the original source of all things," namely, God. We are but stewards of God, possessing the things that God has given to us, and ape to use them for the glory of God. Remembering the goodness of God will naturally lead to thankfulness and praise to God, and attempts to use the things of God in the right way.

The fifth characteristic of mental blindness is forsaking God and serving strange gods or idols. When one leaves God the creator, only nature with her various manifestations remains. Since man is a worshipping being, he will worship something. If it is not God, then it is some creature of nature, whether graven or ungraven. Only God alone is to be worshipped in view of his goodness, justice, and greatness. In view of these things, let us be willing to know the truth and to faithfully obey God.