When I was a kid, my best friend and I decided to learn braille, just in case we ever went blind. We also learned to spell in sign language, in case we went deaf. (I don't think we were really as pessimistic as that sounds -- we just liked to learn cool stuff.)
I was pretty fascinated with the idea of living without one of the senses back then. Even more fascinating to me is the idea of being born without one of the senses. Can you imagine never having been able to see? Not having any concept of what color is? And you wouldn't even miss it, because you've never experienced it. I don't know how you'd begin to explain color to someone born blind.
I was also fascinated with the idea of our possibly having senses that we aren't even aware of or using. I mean, we apparently only use a small percentage of our brain's capacity as it is -- who knows what we would be capable of if we were operating at our full potential? Maybe there's another way of "knowing" that we have inborn senses for, but don't know about. ESP and stuff. Yeah.
I kind of outgrew those fantasies a while ago . . . until I read A.W. Tozer, an old theologian who awoke those wonderings in me again.
Tozer notes that, for most people, even Christians, God is an inference more than He is a reality. We infer His existence based on the things we know. All evidence points to the fact that He is there, and that certain things are true about Him, so we assume it is so because we are a people of reason. (Romans says the natural world screams the existence of God, so that we are "without excuse.")
But the Bible doesn't treat God as an inference. When you read closely, the Bible clearly indicates that human beings should have the capacity to know God as a reality, the same way we know our fellow human beings.
How can this be, if God is spirit and we are material? ""We have in our hearts organs by means of which we can know God as certainly as we know material things through our familiar five senses," Tozer explains. "We apprehend the physical world by exercising the faculties given us for that purpose [vision, hearing, touch, etc.], and we possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world if we will obey the Spirit's urge and begin to use them."
Now, these spiritual senses became deadened within us from The Fall, Tozer continues; we have to be spiritually regenerated -- "born again" -- for them to be turned back on so to speak. And even then, we don't know how to use them or even recognize the information they are giving us. (Like color to someone born blind -- how can we even conceive of what this would be like, this completely different way of "seeing" or knowing? How could someone who uses these senses explain it to the rest of us?)
I'll admit: the Realist in me thinks this sounds a bit out there. But the Believer in me recognizes that, as Tozer says, this is a reasonable assumption based on what the Bible teaches, if you believe what the Bible teaches We are made to know God. Not inferentially, but really. And there seems to have been people who have known God that way. I've met a few myself.
So, I've been praying lately for my spiritual senses to be turned on. Knowing God -- really knowing Him -- is what I'm created for, after all.