As Blind as a Bat: Temporary and Permanent Spiritual Blindness

No comments

Contrary to myth, bats aren’t blind. In fact, research shows that depending on the circumstances, bats sometimes prefer using eyesight to sound when hunting. And many fruit bats, which drink nectar rather than hunt insects, don’t echolocate (use sound) at all. These species have particularly sharp vision, and some can even see ultraviolet light.

“As blind as a bat” is a term is attributed to a similar one by the famous Aristotle; he wrote: “For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.”

At least that should be the case. Many humans, however, are quite blind to the nature of God that is displayed plainly; yet that revelation is so often ignored by many people, whom God says, “are without excuse:”

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).

A famous atheist dies

I’m always amazed – and I shouldn’t be – that people often lack spiritual insightfulness. (I get upset with myself for the same reason!) Some people are totally blind to the reality of God, though they have brilliant insight into the cosmos and how things work. Recently, one of the most brilliant men in the world died. The sad and most distressing thing is, despite his incredible intellect, Stephen Hawking was spiritually blind. He was an atheist. Following His death he found out that God does indeed exist.

Before his death at the age of 76, Stephen Hawking was generally considered one of the smartest people on Earth. He was a world famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist who received many honors for his work in the field of cosmology, quantum physics, black holes, and the nature of space-time.

So, when Hawking said that God didn’t exist and added the sentence, “I am an atheist,” to his statement, the world took notice. But God didn’t since He knew the heart of Hawking from the beginning of time. As incredible as it is, without the Light of God, people remain in spiritual darkness, no matter their IQ, philosophy or degrees.

The Bible declares in Psa. 36:9 that “In your light we see light.” Without that light, we all remain in the dark whether in a temporary state, or God forbid, a permanent one.

Without the human spirit being imbued with light from above, the human spirit and mind remain in darkness, often oblivious to God and His creation. The Psalmist wrote: “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Psa. 14:1). This spiritual blindness remains until one embraces the truth of his or her blindness and sin and asks God to forgive and remove the veil that has lain over their heart:

Satan blinds

“If our Gospel is ‘veiled’, the veil must be in the minds of those who are spiritually dying. The spirit of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them. For it is Christ Jesus the Lord whom we preach, not ourselves; we are your servants for his sake. God, who first ordered ‘light to shine in darkness’, has flooded our hearts with his light. We now can enlighten men only because we can give them knowledge of the glory of God, as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:4-6 JB Phillips New Testament).

To believe, which is a verb, means to affirm as real. Those who have believed in the saving power of Jesus Christ may sometimes doubt, but they believe that He is who He said He was and have confessed Him as Lord. This acknowledgment is deemed by the Bible as salvation, as per Romans 10:9-10:

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

It stands to reason then that all of us are spiritually blind when we find ourselves not believing all God has said through His inspired Word, the Bible. You could call this relative blindness, and it has happened to everyone throughout time. Even those who walked with Jesus in the flesh often found themselves not believing what they saw.

Blinded by a miracle

For example, after Jesus fed the 5,000, immediately following this event the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus came walking to them on the water. Thinking He was ghost, they were terrified. He calmed their fears, saying, “I am He; be not afraid.” However, the disciples were overwhelmed by this event 52 “because they had not understood [the miracle of] the loaves [how it revealed the power and deity of Jesus]; but [in fact] their heart was hardened” [being oblivious and indifferent to His amazing works] (Mark 6:52 Amplified).

Hardening and blindness

The essence of God is light. Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world.” When He came into the world, The Gospel of John said in John 1:4:

In Him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend[a] it.

Those who were exposed to the Light and responded to Jesus in faith realized salvation. Others rejected the Light and remained in darkness.

The Pharisees were exposed to the same Light as others, yet their pride kept them from seeing WHO Jesus was because they actually said, “We see.” In other words, they felt that within themselves they were righteous without believing in Jesus. Jesus replied to their arrogance by telling them, “Because you say, ‘we see,’ your sin remains” (John 9:41).

We are all in dark about God until the Holy Spirit illuminates our lamp – spirit (Prov. 20:20 and 20:27) so that we not only know God exists but that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

As the old commercial said, “Life comes at you fast.” Bad things happen to us, and we may become bitter and angry, which shuts down our human spirit, thus reducing the light we normally could receive from the Father of Light (James 1:17). In other words, temporary blindness occurs, and we fail to move forward in our spiritual walk.

In like manner, there are many Christians, who boast of “having it all” without the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Saved yes, have it all? No. The Holy Spirit in them has given them the RIGHT to get it all. Most people I’ve met during the years who want the Baptism in the Holy Spirit are still sitting in churches where there is little or no move of the Holy Spirit. These are often churches whose doctrine is “Those things passed away with the first century church.” This is nothing but undeniable unbelief. If you’re thinking is, “If God wants me to have this, He’ll fall on me. Let me say, unequivocally, no, He won’t! Ninety-nine out of 100 times, one has to SEEK this power from on high.

In the same way, some people who are Baptized in the Holy Spirit fail to receive all God wants to give them because they become “hardened” to moving forward and become self-satisfied to speak in tongues and/or operate in gifts. In either case, there must be unquenchable hunger for more of God.

Stay hungry!

In what is known as “The Magnificat,” Mary, who extols the Lord and prophesies concerning the joy of being the mother of Jesus, states in Luke 1:53:

53 He (God) has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

One of the meanings of the word rich here is to be increased with external wealth. In other words, Mary is saying, if our eyes are too fixed on external wealth, spiritual hunger may be diminished or even evade us altogether. External goods can blind us to spiritual reality.

In John 12:35-40 we see how temporary and permanent spiritual blindness occurs:

35 So Jesus said to them, “The Light is among you [only] a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light [keep on living by it], so that darkness will not overtake you. He who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going [he is drifting aimlessly]. 36 While you have the Light, believe and trust in the Light [have faith in it, hold on to it, rely on it], so that you may become sons of Light [being filled with Light as followers of God].” Jesus said these things, and then He left and hid Himself from them. 37 Even though He had done so many signs (attesting miracles) right before them, yet they still did not believe and failed to trust Him— 38 This was to fulfill what Isaiah the prophet said: “Lord, who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm (the power) of the Lord been shown (unveiled, revealed)?” 39 Therefore they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, to keep them from seeing with their eyes and understanding with their heart and being converted; otherwise, I [their God] would heal them.”

When we are given light to understand the things of God, it is imperative that we hold on to that light. We are to continue to avail ourselves of that light. This comes to us through perseverance, continuous worship, the Word of God and daily seeking God in prayer and mediation.

If we do this, we will ever-experience a walk of light that grows brighter until the end:
But the path of the just (righteous) is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day (Prov. 4:18 Amplified).

Joe Beckham is the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls and Overcoming Bipolar Disorder: A Christian Perspective

Get the print version today at The print version also will soon be available on Amazon, ITunes and other book distribution websites along with the epub version, which is already available. Joe is also the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls –

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.