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Ravi Zacharias: “We now learn to listen with our eyes and think with our feelings. . . . We are meant to see through the eye, with the conscience; when we start seeing with the eye devoid of the conscience, all kinds of belief can invade your imagination.”

William Blake:

This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.

C.S. Lewis:

I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it.

Then I moved, so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.

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5 thoughts on “Seeing through, Not with, the Eye”

  1. Alex says:

    I remember an old Michael Card lyric “with and not through the eye.”

  2. Ben says:

    Awesome post. thanks.

  3. David Reimer says:

    There’s a rather nice exploration of that Lewis quote in Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia (OUP, 2008) — pp. 16-17. Well worth a read (the whole book, that is!)

  4. David Zook says:

    Ravi’s quote is chilling … and sadly correct. Thanks for the post. Keep up the good work.

  5. marko says:

    George Herbert has a good poem on this theme of seeing through not just on.
    go to

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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