Journey through the Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 16 (Make their Eyes Heavy)

9 And he said: Go and tell this people—Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes—lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed.

These verses have some troubling theological implications if we read them to suggest that God wants these people to be blinded to the truth. But the context of these verses suggests go us that this is clearly not the case.

After all, Isaiah has just paralleled the words of the pre-mortal Christ who declared “here am I, send me.” Isaiah’s ministry is therefore intended to invoke the mortal ministry of the savior who came into the world to preach to all mankind. It is abundantly clear that Christ invited all to come to him. He did not come to damn the world, but to save it.

It therefore becomes clear that God does not want the hearts and eyes shut. Instead, as we have already seen from the Book of Mormon, such is the natural consequence when the wicked hear the word of God. Because the things being preached are unpopular, they become more aggrieved and angry at the messenger and more distant from God. God does not desire this outcome. Quite the opposite. But he allows humans their agency and respects the consequences of our usage of agency.

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