"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The God Who Blinds Works Within Human Minds

"The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see 
the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (II Corinthians 4:4)




Orthodox Jews call the fallen angel who deceived Adam and Eve by the name "Samael" - a compound name which means "the god who blinds." Paul, a teacher of the Jewish Law, may very well be referring to Samael in his second letter to Christians living in the city of Corinth when he mentions "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving" (II Corinthians 4:4).

We may think we understand physical blindness, but what does it mean for someone to be "blind in the mind"? 

If a physically blind person has never experienced the ability to see, he's hard-pressed to describe the pain of his blindness. Those who've first tasted of sight before going blind can easily describe their pain over the absence of light. 

So too, the person blind in the mind from birth has little ability to understand "the light of the glorious good news in Jesus Christ" (II Corinthians 4:4). He can't describe what he doesn't have because he doesn't know what it is he's missed.

So how does the "god who blinds" keep a person from seeing the beauty of this life through receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord?

A blind mind remains blind through a shared apathy. When blind people get together, they help and encourage one another, and convince themselves nothing else is needed, particularly any talk about a cure. Life is what it is. Those apathetic about Christ often gravitate toward others apathetic about Him. The blind in the mind don't care about any alleged good news. They're blind. They don't know they are, and the last thing they want is for someone to feel sorrow for them.

Then a blind mind continues in blindness through a strong enmity. When the good news of Jesus Christ is mentioned to one "blind in the mind," apathy turns  quickly to enmity. Anger toward the message of Christ is only secondary to animosity toward the person sharing the good news of Christ. Blind in the mind people don't like it pointed out they're blind and need the Light.

Finally, a blind mind remains blind through a substitute ecstasy. This, to me, is the most tell-tale sign of blindness. When I get my joy, my happiness,  my purpose,  my identity, or my hope in something other than Jesus Christ and the love of God for me in Christ, then I am "blind in the mind." However, when the anchor of hope for my life is Jesus Christ, I see this life the way it's meant to be seen, for I have found my source of contentment from the One thing I will never lose - a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius had a servant follow him around and whisper in his ear, "Remember yourself mortal," when people became effusive in their praise of the emperor.

I wonder if every time we have apathy toward the Person and work of Jesus Christ, or when we find ourselves angry over the teachings of Christ, or during those times we lose ourselves in the idolatry of finding our happiness and security in things other than Christ, if God might send someone to whisper in our ears, "Remember yourself blind."

12 comments:

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You’ve made a point that I’ve never heard before. What a wonderful comparison of a person born blind does not miss what he’s never seen just as the lost cannot comprehend what they have never experienced.

“There’s none so blind than those who refuse to see.”

Vicki Gettys said...

Sometimes I am blind, and sometimes I can see.

Wade Burleson said...

Vicky,

Grace does that to me - too!

When I lose my sense of identity, security and happiness in Christ alone, I'm always grateful for friends who love me that will risk relationship by telling me. What they do is called "speaking the truth in love" in the Bible.

Thankful for friends who speak the truth in love.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

As you know, there is a debate among Christ followers as to whether or not every person is "blind from birth" or goes blind at a certain age (the age of accountability). I lean toward spiritual blindness from birth which requires an "awakening" to appreciate the Light.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I’m on your side.

My father built a baby bed for one, but when twins came, he made a divider with slats in the middle. One day, one baby was crying his head off reaching through the slats because the other had all the toys out of reach.

Later, a neighbor screamed at my mother, “One of your babies is about to kill the other!” That baby was swinging something back and forth in front of him with all the toys in a corner behind him.

My dad’s philosophy: “All are born to tell lies, be lazy, and steal.”

Bob Cleveland said...

1 Corinthians 2:14 tells us that "natural man" simply is unable to see God's truth. And it's hard to be scornful of folks who are, and always were, unable to see.

The other idea is true, as well. If there were not light, we would not know there was no light. I think that same thing's true of God.

There's a beautiful progression of thought in the NT. First, we're told that anyone can see the invisible majesty of God .. just look up at night. And, at mountains, oceans, forests, etc. Then He also told us the Holy Spirit will come to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. I figure that's because we won't want or even see those things unless He does. And I figure conviction comes when people look at the firmament and decide they want to know the God that put that all in place.

Having spent many years in Calvinist denominations, I can tell you the real bone of contention is whether the Holy Spirit convicts everyone, or only the elect.

And those before the "age of accountability", in my opinion, go to heaven if they die, based on the Biblical statements that there was a time in Jesus life when He, Himself, was too young. or didn't know enough, to reject the wrong and choose the right.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I recalled the stories above to my sister and she remembered mother telling that it was my brother, Hez, with the toys. Said he wasn’t playing with them but didn’t want me to have any.

In our lifetime, he only hit me once. We were in the first grade and racing each other. Our dog would bite our britches and trip us. I kicked him.

“Don’t kick Pluto!”
Bite, trip, kick, STARS!
Hez hit me with a rock in his fist.
He beat me running home and mother thought he was hurt the worse because he was crying louder than I was. He cried, “Rex’s brains are running out!”

So Wade, I have an excuse for the way I am. :)

Mark said...

Wade,
I follow your blog and I just found out my friend Johnson from China has met you. He is sharing Christmas with us.
Mark

Rex Ray said...

My twin brother lived about 20 years in Alaska where he was a coach and Athletic Director of Fairbanks. A huge building named the “Big Dipper” and playground has the name “Hez Ray Sport Complex”. He wrote a book, “The Big Dipper” that has been put in all the schools of Alaska with the idea to teach kids to ‘think outside the box’. Hez had the talent to encourage the town to do something about the youth having nowhere to play in the long winters. They had turned to drugs and many had died. They bought an abandoned military aircraft building (named the Big Dipper) for one dollar, took it apart and moved it 150 miles with volunteer labor. A lot of work was done by students. An ice skating rink was popular and the Arctic Winter Games have used it. An example of “outside the box” would be him running 3 miles to the airport instead of a taxi because he had no money, flying 626 miles to Juno, hitchhiking to see the governor, governor loaning him a dollar because all he had was a jar of peanut butter. He now lives in Phoenix, Arizona where he is on dialysis 3 times a week.

Jami Platt said...

I would love for you to share scriptures and your thoughts on the hardened heart as it relates to the blind mind. Thank you for these words! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Rex

I attempted to reply to your response but lost what I had typed when I tried to publish/upload it in the comments.

Our primary sin with respect to God is our turning away from him. A sin which is hidden from the view of others This becomes evident by the manifestations of other types of "sin" like adultery, stealing, etc. which are openly visible for others to observe. We can change our behaviour such that the manifested sins are harder to observe by others but the consequences of these manifested sins remain with us even when we seek restitution of our relationship with others or repent of those sins with the people we have offended or hurt.

When we repent of the primary sin of turning away from God, i.e. acting God like, all of our sins committed through turning away from God, i.e. the manifested sins, are forgiven by God but this forgiveness of our primary sin only becomes evident through the observation of the new fruit of our actions after we have repented and this may take year to become obvious to others because of peoples memories of the manifested sins while we were turned away from God.

Now I do agree with you, that seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt during the time of our manifested sins occurring, by repenting of our sin(s) against them is a step in the right direction, but unless we are the aggrieved party, then whether or not the person has repented of their particular sin(s) against another party is really none of our business when we are looking in from the sidelines.

If we are counselling the person with manifested sins, then we should be encouraging the person to seek forgiveness and leave it up to God to sort the person out, otherwise we also commit the same sin as the person we are counselling and turn away from God by acting God like. There is a very fine line that is crossed often by people when they are counselling another in the area of the sins whether it is the primary sin or the subsequent manifested sins.

Our fruits are often rather sourer when we show no grace towards another sinner like ourselves.

Shalom

Tom

Shari England said...

I agree Wade. I've always found it interesting that there are two things we do not need to teach our children when they are toddlers -- how to move to music and how to be selfish.