In five ways our souls come in contact with the world in which we live.
Or if you will, that world that is all around us enters our souls in a five-fold way.
We have contact with that world by the sensation of sight. We see the world. There is a sensation of its color, size, shape, height, length and depth. The blazing color of the bed of flowers, the clear blue of the sky, the soft green of the field, the brilliant whiteness of the snow, the beauty of the rainbow all enter our souls through the eye. The lofty mountain peak, the depth of the canyon, the broad expanse of the desert all become known to us and make an impression upon our souls through that sensation of sight. No power shines forth out of the eye as the beam of light that emanates out of your flashlight. The eye is rather like the camera with its lens and sensitive film. The light that radiates from an object enters through the lens and strikes the sensitive film upon which it makes an impression. So the color, size and shape of the things in this world enter into our souls through the eye.
We hear the world. Sound waves are constantly moving through this world in which we live. They are picked up by the ear; and we hear music, singing and laughter. Or we hear crying and moaning. The sound of the bird’s singing, the roar of the jet plane flying overhead all make an impression upon our souls. We are moved to laugh and to sing. We are brought to tears and grief by these sound waves that reach our souls through the sensation of hearing. In our ears are spoken the words of sudden death and bereavement, to our souls come the message of impending war and of the enemies approach; and fear grips us, sorrow floods our souls. So it is also with sounds that bring joy and laughter. Through our ears the things in the world round about us are brought into our souls; and we react one way or another to that which is brought into our souls.
We taste the world and that which is in it. We delight in what we taste or else we spew it out of our mouths in disgust. But whether the taste is pleasing or not, it is through our tongues and the sensation of taste that we further explore the world in which we live and come in contact with that which it contains. Similarly we smell the world, and its aromas touch our souls with pleasure or with sickening displeasure. We interpret that which we experience through the sensation of smell as a stench or as a fresh, exhilarating smell. But he who cannot smell that which is in the world—both the perfumes of the flowers and the stench of decomposing matter—is cut off from much of that which is in this world.
And, of course, we tough the world with the sensation of feeling. We are able to feel—as well as see—whether the things in the world are rough or smooth. But we also experience whether they are wet or dry, whether they are cold or hot. And, for one who has lost his faculty of sight, this sense of feeling serves to acquaint him with the size and shape of the things near him.
Marvelously were we made!
What atheistic philosophy to believe that all these delicate sensations and valuable faculties came into being by and evolutionistic process as man evolved from creatures—plants for example—which do not have these abilities! What atheistic nonsense that man, who, even by the evolutionist, is considered to be the acme of earthly creatures, should evolve into a being in which these faculties are far less keen than in the beasts from which they evolved. Indeed there must be some “devolution” along with the evolution. Who can deny that the sense of smell, of hearing of sight and of taste are far more delicate in many beats than it is in man? Nay, but we were made by an ALL-wise God and made in His image.
Of Him we read frequently that He sees, hears, tastes and smells. The first two, no doubt, will not be questioned. But let us quote a few verses of Holy Write to substantiate. This claim that we so read of Him.Genesis 1:31, “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Or again in Psalm 33:13, “The Lord looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men.” In that same vein in Genesis 6:5, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was very great in the earth. That He hears is stated in such passages asPsalm 116:1, “I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplication.” Were that not the case, that God hears us, all prayer would indeed be folly. But Solomon prays to God, “If any man trespass against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: Then hear Thou in heaven, and do and judge Thy servants.” I Kings 8:31, 32.
That He tastes and smells are also mentioned although not so frequently. These sensations are not presented literally (that is, of tasting) nor as clearly, therefore, as those of sight and hearing. We do read inRevelation 3:14-16, “And unto the angel of the Church of Laodiceans write: . . . I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” The implication of tasting that they are neither hot nor cold is strongly made here. And, of course, with God these experiences are not as with man. He does not see, hear, feel, smell and taste as man does. Nevertheless these expressions indicate that He knows the whole of His creation fully, experiencing all that which He causes to take plae in it. As far as smelling is concerned, we do have the literal statement, “And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake . . . .” Genesis 8:21.
But what interests us especially, as we consider this matter of being spiritually sensitive, is that Scripture speaks thus of us as far as our spiritual life is concerned. We see, hear, taste, smell and touch spiritual things. And we have spiritual sensations. We would, therefore, call your attention to a few passages of Holy Writ that express these things.
A combination of two of these spiritual experiences when the things of spiritual world enter our souls is found in Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blesses is the man that trusteth in Him,” the psalmist declared. Note that by the word “trust” he indicates that it is the act of faith whereby we taste and see that God is good. Similarly in the Netherlands confessions, article XXXV, we read that faith “is the hand and mouth of our soul.” This matter of seeing is again presented in John 3:3 where Jesus says, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That kingdom is a spiritual reality, and those who have not been born again have no spiritual eye. They, therefore, cannot see this spiritual reality and cannot believe that there is such a kingdom. Spiritually they are blind, and to them it is as though there were no such kingdom.
In Hebrews 6:4-6, we read of “tasting the good word.” The author writes, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God . . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.”
In Philippians 1:9, 10 the apostle Paul has this to say, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all judgment, That ye may approve things that are excellent (or as in the original, things that differ), that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.”
There is, therefore, a certain spiritual sensitivity.
This is not something that is peculiar to the child of God. Also amongst the unregenerated there is a certain experience of spiritual things. Only the reaction is the opposite in the regenerated from what it is in the unregenerated. That is true even of us as far as our physical sensitivity is concerned. What to the eye of one may be a breathtaking scene, full of color and grandeur, may leave another cold. What may be a very pleasing and stimulating flavor to one, may be extremely distasteful to others. One likes his steak well done; the other prefers it rare. The one relishes an onion or even garlic flavor; the other would find his food spoiled by this addition. The one finds this perfume too sweet and sickening; the other finds it just what his nostrils desire. The one likes it hot; the other likes it cold. The one is moved to tears by music that makes no impression at all on others. And so it goes. It is not strange, then, when there are those who feel as the Psalmist when in Psalm 119:136 he declares, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law,” while there are others who rejoice and celebrate when God’s law is not kept. The one is a regenerated child of God who has the eye, the ear, the tongue of faith which delights only in that which is good in God’s sight and to His glory. The other’s heart and mind is under the power of Satan and of sin so that his eye, his ear, his tongue, his nose and hand can reach out only toward wickedness.
And you . . . ? How spiritually sensitive are you?
Does the lie have to be presented in its strongest form before you can smell that it is a lie? Does a work have to be one of bold, blunt and extremely obvious wickedness before you can see that it is not according to God’s law? Can you hear, things that insult the Living God and not realize that such is the case?
And does wickedness cause you to shudder or to laugh? Are you attracted to the lie or do you wish to stop up your ears when it is proclaimed and propagated?
We wish to say more about these things next time, the Lord willing, and to point out that we and our children can be and should be trained in our spiritual sensitivity that we be not “dull of hearing” as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews states but instead those “who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”