Physical blindness is a terrible affliction, but spiritual blindness is worse as one proposes to demonstrate.
As to physical blindness it may be said to have certain advantages. For examples: (1) If one cannot see one won’t be tempted by “the lust of the eyes” as one who can (1 John 2:16). (2) If we cannot see faces we are not likely to be afraid of them (Deuteronomy 1:17). Consequently blind persons may be bolder in speaking than sighted persons. (3) A blind person’s affliction is evident and therefore usually generates sympathy. (4) Blind persons usually have compensatory advantages. They usually in my experience have better hearing and are often musicians.
Persons in Scripture were sometimes smitten with blindness because of their evil conduct. Think of the citizens of Sodom (Genesis 19:11). Then there was the army that was smitten in Elisha’s days (2 Kings 6:18). In the New Testament we have Elymas the magician who was smitten with temporary blindness (Acts 13:9-11) as also was Saul (Acts 9:8/9). Christ as we know healed blind persons when He was on earth.
As to spiritual blindness Scripture has a good deal to say about it. The passage in Isaiah 6:9-10 which includes the words; “blind” (infatuate, literally “smear“) their eyes” is quoted in some form in all four Gospels and the Acts. There is also a reference to it in Romans 11:8 and the thought is there in 2 Corinthians 4:3&4. Blindness may be because we close our eyes to things we don’t want to see (Acts 28:27), or it may be that God has governmentally allowed us to be blinded because of our evil course (Isaiah 6:10). Practically these things can go together, that is, God blinding us may be effectuated by our closing our eyes. In another connection we find that Pharaoh hardened his heart and also that God hardened his heart (Exodus 8:15 and 14:4).
Paul tells us that he preached to open people’s eyes so that they might turn from darkness to light (Acts 26:18). Paul was seeking to make persons aware of their lost condition in heathendom so that they would turn from darkness to light. Consider also Colossians 1:12/13. Incidentally, having opened eyes in thick darkness is of no use, any more that being totally blind when in the light.
There is a time when it is right to close our eyes to things. Isaiah 33:15 speaks of that kind of thing. When my children were young, two of them distracted me on one occasion so that I would not see a pornographic advert. This is an example of what we get in the passage in Isaiah I have just referred to. We may need to close our eyes to some things so that we do not fall into temptation. If we do not we may allow some things to blind us, such as a bribe (Exodus 23:8, Deuteronomy 16:19 and 1 Samuel 12:3).
Then there is the question of who we are following. Is it someone who is spiritually blind? Christ warns us about doing so (Matthew 15:14). If we follow such an one we may well end up in a spiritual ditch. A ditch is something we may have difficulty in getting out of. Today the ditch may be a religious cult in which we get so entangled that we cannot extricate ourselves, or have great difficulty in doing so. Getting out may be costly to us, financially or otherwise.
We should not limit the idea of blindness to unbelievers. Peter warns Christians that if they do not make spiritual progress they may get into a situation where they are “blind, short-sighted“ (2 Peter 1:9). Not all blindness may be total. The blind man in Mark 8:22-26 had to have a second touch, because after Christ’s first touch he could see, but his sight was defective.
There is also the fact that we may not be able to see because of darkness. Scripture speaks of this in such a passage as Proverbs 4:19. We need light both physical and spiritual. However there is both the objective (out of ourselves side) but also the subjective (the in ourselves side). God provides the light, but we have to be receptive to it (2 Corinthians 4:4).
However, there is the possibility of being blinded by light so we have in Scripture the statement; “I could not see, through the glory of that light” (Acts 22:11). Even physically there is such a thing as light blindness and when a child I knew such a sufferer. It meant that the lady concerned saw just a brilliant lightness. If it was sunny it became unbearable and she had to live with curtains drawn as well as wear dark glasses. The late Mr F. E Raven warned that if we have received divine light we may be in great danger of being blinded by it (New Series Vol. 1 page 27).
Apart from total blindness it is possible to have a sort of blind spot (a mote or a beam) in one’s eye. Such things can hinder vision physically, but there can be a spiritual mote (speck) or beam (plank) (Matthew 7:3-5) which can hinder our spiritual vision. It may be a small hindrance (a mote) or it can be a big one (a beam). Do any one of us have nothing in the way of a spiritual hindrance to seeing clearly? We need to examine ourselves to ascertain whether we are maintaining some dogma that obstructs our vision so that we cannot see what is perfectly clear to others. Scientists may be clear sighted as to many things, but may hang on to the theory of evolution because they do not want to admit that there are things that are beyond scientific investigation. The result is they are making a God of inanimate matter, saying that we originated in such matter, that is, in something which has no intelligence. Consider Jeremiah 2:25-30, in particular verses 26/27: “As a thief is ashamed when he is found, so shall the house of Israel be ashamed - they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets - saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth,” Today, the simple fact is, man is proud of his scientific discoveries and does not want to admit that some things are beyond his power to investigate, so he invents a scheme that has no more sense than the explanation for our existence given in Jeremiah. Consider also Isaiah 44:9-20.