God has given us spiritual senses by which we can know Him. Just as we have five physical senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching) by which we discover the physical world, each person has five spiritual senses that can lead us to discover the spiritual realm, if we allow them to.
Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash
Sometimes those who lack physical senses are the best at discovering God through their spiritual senses. My friend Dave Yager had ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He gradually lost feeling and control of most of his body. Yet as he lost his physical senses, he developed keen spiritual senses.
Likewise, those who are dying and losing their connection with the physical world are often those who have the keenest understanding of the five spiritual senses. My wife Carolyn’s sister Gwen died of cancer in 2007. But she thanked God for the cancer, for through it she really came to know the meaning of life through Jesus Christ. Amazing.
So, what are the five spiritual senses?
Here’s my observation of the 5 spiritual senses that lead to faith:
Consciousness is defined as “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.” The marvel of the existence of this first of the five spiritual senses is starting to be addressed by the academic and scientific community.
Richard Dawkins has confessed that as an atheist, he has no solution for the “Hard Problem of Consciousness.” In Scientific American magazine, he admitted that “…maybe the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness is forever beyond us, just as calculus is forever beyond the mentality of a chimpanzee.”
But just what is this Hard Problem of Consciousness? An article in The Guardian by Oliver Burkeman describes it this way:
Why on earth should all those complicated brain processes feel like anything from the inside? Why aren’t we just brilliant robots, capable of retaining information, of responding to noises and smells and hot saucepans, but dark inside, lacking an inner life? And how does the brain manage it? How could the 1.4kg lump of moist, pinkish-beige tissue inside your skull give rise to something as mysterious as the experience of being that pinkish-beige lump, and the body to which it is attached?
This sense of consciousness is a God-given spiritual sense. Scripture says that we’re made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Like God, we are conscious beings, created for fellowship with Him. This spiritual sense should lead us to God.
Along with consciousness, human beings have a sense of morality—of right and wrong. This second of the five spiritual senses distinguishes us from animals, who don’t worry about issues of morality such as:
Covering their bodies with clothing.
Not eating their own kind or cannibalism.
Not stealing from each other.
And so on.
If naturalistic survival-of-the-fittest were the only objective, why would any of these moral issues matter? They’d be moot points. But instead, we have a sense of right and wrong, an internal moral compass, a spiritual sense that tells us there are moral laws and a Lawgiver.
This third of the spiritual senses is an incredibly powerful indicator of the spiritual realm. Human beings experience such strong emotions, they are often even more powerful than our physical sensations:
The joy and ecstasy of deep love.
The intense pain of rejection.
The overwhelming power of anger and rage.
The seething churning of jealousy.
The agony of grieving.And so on.
Once again, each of these is a powerful indicator that there is a spiritual realm. In fact, each of these are emotions the Bible says that God experiences. Since the Bible indicates we’re created in the image of God, we know the spiritual realm through these. We’re not simply physical matter, we’re spiritual and emotional beings.
This fourth of the spiritual senses is wonderful because it has virtually no downside.
As I write in my office looking out the window, it is a gorgeous sunny day with a blue sky, green trees and beautiful hills in the distance. Every few minutes a handsome bird flies by—I especially enjoy the amazing hummingbirds. There are gorgeous flowers blooming—an array of stunning colors, shapes and sizes.
At night, we look at the sky, the moon, the stars and the vastness of the universe.
When I see such beauty, I’m inspired! Part of my inspiration is to know the One who created such beauty.
This fourth of the five spiritual senses is well-documented in the Bible which says:
They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:19-20 NLT)
Intelligence is a wonderful blessing. Through it we’ve been able to develop magnificent inventions like computers, jet aircraft, and life-saving medical devices. However, this last of the spiritual senses is a two-edged sword. Why? Because some use their intelligence as a weapon to try to invalidate their spiritual senses. Imagine that: using a spiritual sense to quash spiritual senses!
Of course, those who do this will vehemently (and condescendingly?) argue that they are doing so. But those who are open-minded and look at the evidence using their intelligence, have ample evidence for faith. Not just faith in God, but in Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.
The story of Lee Strobel told in the movie and book The Case for Faith, is a great example. Lee was an atheist who came to faith through studying, as a lawyer and a journalist, the evidence for the Bible and Christ.
Many others have come to faith by utilizing their intelligence to examine the evidence. For more resources check out the apologetics websites on my Recommended Resources page.
In summary, our 5 spiritual senses are a big part of the reason that 90% of all human beings believe that God exists.
What do you think? Did I correctly identify and describe these five spiritual senses?
Your thoughts are welcome! Please leave your comment below.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Podcast: Where do dinosaurs fit in the Bible?