Judicial Blindness or Hardness
Judicial Blindness Or Hardness, a term employed to express a state of moral incorrigibility. So we read, Mr 3:5, "Being grieved for the blindness — hardness — of their hearts." So Ro 11:25, "Blindness — hardness — in part hath happened to Israel." Eph 4:18, "Because of the blindness — hardness — of their hearts." 2Co 3:14, "Their minds were
blinded — hardened;" and elsewhere. This expression is of special interest to the theologian on account of two questions connected with it.
1. Is it an infliction of God? — From such passages as Isa 6:10, some have said that God commands the prophet to do a certain thing to this peoples and then punishes the people: nay, this appears stronger still, where the passage is quoted, as (Joh 12:40), He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts; which seems to be contradictory to Mt 13:15, where: the people themselves are said to have closed their own eyes; and so Ac 28:27. These seeming contradictions are very easily reconciled. God, by giving plenty and abundance, affords the means of the people's abusing his goodness, and, becoming both over fat with food and intoxicated with drink; and thus his very beneficence may be said to make their heart fat, and their eyes heavy, while at the same time the people, by their own act, their overfeeding, become unwieldy, indolent, bloated, over fat at heart, and, moreover, so stupefied by liquor and strong drink, that their eyes and ears may be useless to them: with wide open eyes, "staring, they may stare, but not perceive; and listening, they may hear, but not understand; and in this lethargic state they will continue, preferring it to a more sedate, rational condition, and refusing to forbear from prolonging the causes of it, lest at any sober interval they should see truly with their eyes and hear accurately with their ears, in consequence of which they should be shocked at themselves, be converted, be changed from such misconduct, and I should heal them — should cure these delusory effects of their surfeits and dissoluteness. Comp. Isa 5:11; Isa 28:7. This is equally true in spiritual matters. In short, the expressions in question are to be understood in the same sense as the hardening of Pharaoh's heart under a perversion by his own willfulness of the providences of God (Ro 9:17-18). SEE PREDESTINATION.
2. Is this state hopeless? — That shiners may, by a course of persistent opposition to God, so far destroy or deaden their conscience as to be beyond the hope (but not absolutely the power) of divine grace, is a fearful fact, and one corroborated by the Holy Scriptures (1Ti 4:2; Ro 1:28; 2Th 2:11; Heb 6:6). But this condition, again, is not so much the result of God's determination as of their own inveterate perversity. SEE UNPARDONABLE SIN.