I have a question about John 12:39-40. How would you interpret John's citation of Isaiah, "Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them'"? (ESV) I've never given the passage more than a passing glance. Would you understand this, as many do, to be like the hardening of Pharaoh's heart -- kind of cooperative hardening? (God blinds them because people refuse to see, so to speak?) It seems that the sequence suggests that the Jews couldn't see because God "blinded their eyes." Reformed theologians cite this passage (among others) as evidence of divine election. How would you suggest one approach this passage? -- Java Bradley
Yes, I agree with your concept of "cooperative hardening." God indirectly hardens hearts. That is, he has set up spiritual and moral reality in such a way that, when we insist on being obstinate, our hearts will harden. In the same way, God causes objects to fall to the ground. If you jump off a building, you will likely hurt or kill yourself. God created gravity. It could be said that God (indirectly) broke your leg if you jumped off the building.
For more on predestination etc, please see the Calvinism Study in Shining Like Stars.