Five Senses of God
By Kevin Probst
The great philosopher Aristotle is credited with categorizing the five senses that humans enjoy. They are: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The senses are a means by which humans can perceive outside stimuli. They are the keys to unlocking the world in which we live. Does God have senses? It might be questionable because God is a spiritual, not physical. But Jesus, as one fully God and fully human certainly experienced all sensations. Men are created in the image of God therefore it would seem God does surely experience senses beyond even what men are capable of experiencing. Spiritual beings have a perception of the physical world.
God sees. Who is to know if he sees in the same manner a human sees? We know he sees. Remember the story of Abraham and Sarah? The tension between Sarah and her maid servant, Hagar, eventually led to a painful separation. Hagar was forced to flee. It was a difficult time for her. She and her child were sent out into the desert with just enough provisions to survive. While plodding along to only God knows where, Hagar encountered an angel that offered words of encouragement. At the end of her conversation with the angel, Hagar became the only person in scripture to name God. She named him El Roi, God sees. “He looks to the ends of the earth and he sees everything under the heavens.”
God hears. A study released in 2008 by Brandeis University found that 90% of Americans pray. The figure seems a bit high to me considering another study claims only 76% of Americans claim to be Christians. Looks like a lot of people are praying to a non-Christian God.
Our God is a listening God. He bends his ear to hear the voice of his own children. He delights when we come to him with our praises and our supplications. He promises not only to hear us but to answer as well. “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Hagar was wandering in the desert of Bathsheba and her water skins were empty. She put Ishmael under a bush and walked off and slumped down with the despair a mother feels when she knows her child is dying, “I cannot bear to see my son die!” (Gen. 21:16) God sent the angel to minister to Hagar because “God heard the boy crying” (Gen. 21:17)
Is it ironic that the name Ishmael means “God hears.”
God smells. What is your favorite smell? I love the smell of the Christmas tree at Christmas. I feel a special warmth when I come in on a cold winter day and I smell the aroma of a hot meal cooked by my wife. I love the fresh, brand new smell of a new born baby. I love the smell of freshly cut grass on a cool summer day.
There were special ingredients the priests were to add to the sacrifice. The formula included certain grains, olive oil and frankincense. Leviticus 1:17 says that this produced an “aroma pleasing to God.”
Paul admonished the Ephesians (5:2) to "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." God was pleased with the aroma of perfect love demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He is pleased when we exude an aroma of love for Him and for others.
God tastes. If God can smell he can also taste. 75% of what we perceive as tastes actually comes from our sense of smell. Surely our disobedience leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of God. But when we are cooperative and submissive to his will it leaves a taste of sweetness. Job may have experienced that same bitterness God tastes when he proclaimed, “"As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul” (Job 27:2)
The children of Israel “could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter.” God experiences the taste of bitter water when he calls the lost sheep but the sheep will not respond. It is bitter water when people for whom Christ bled and died for on the cross crucify him all over again with the sin of their rebellion and refusal. Surely, the cries of those who are lost in hell for all eternity bring a bitter taste to God.
God touches. The leper came to Jesus in humility and faith and Jesus touched him. (Mark 1:40-45) The wonderful touch of God is indescribable. What are we to do after he touches us? We are to reach out to him. We can receive healing by merely touching the hem of his garment. (Luke 8:40-48)
“But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.” (The Touch of the Master’s Hand – Myra Welsh
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.