Archives For The Senses

I annoy my family every time we eat fresh strawberries or a ripe watermelon. “Are you kidding me?!! Did you taste these? How is this even possible?!!” Yes, they’ve tasted the strawberries; yes, they’re delicious; let’s talk about something more interesting. But let me annoy you with this for just a minute.

Think of everything that has to go into enjoying a strawberry. God had to first create a world in which strawberries could grow. Then he designed strawberries, but he did so with such an over-extravagant flare it’s ridiculous. They’re not black and white; they’re bright red. They have a unique shape and texture. They are capable of nourishing our bodies (which God also designed to receive nourishment from the fruit of the ground—unbelievable!). This would all be amazing even if they weren’t delicious.

Strawberries

But then God chose to give strawberries flavor. Think about what flavor entails. We’re talking about a whole language of subtleties and nuances. Wine and coffee snobs have their own jargon to try to capture some of these subtleties in flavor: sweet, acidic, smooth, robust, earthy, fruity, lingering, sharp, crisp, oaky, floral, etc. There is a world of information in every bite, so we grasp at a language that was not designed to describe such things and try to communicate what we’re tasting. Flavor is a full language, an incomprehensibly large set of data packed into the physical stuff we eat and drink.

God created this language of flavor. He encoded every edible thing with the appropriate data to make it taste as it should. Even if you’ve never eaten a fresh Oxnard strawberry, those strawberries are encoded with data by a loving Creator.

And then there’s your mouth. God had to give your mouth both the hardware (taste buds, teeth, saliva, etc.) and the software (flavor interpreters) so that you could decode the flavors that he has encoded in a strawberry. Your sense of smell is tied in as well. Every bite. Every strawberry. Every glass of wine. Every steak. Bursting with a flavor-language invented by God, decoded by the ingenious equipment God placed in your mouth.

It’s the same with your ears. We’re talking physical objects capable of producing sound waves that can carry unique timbres, flying through the air, smashing into your eardrums, travelling to your brain for interpretation. God encodes the world with a sound-language, and equips your body with decoding equipment.

It’s the same with your eyes. Multiple sources of light that cast unique visual opportunities at every moment. Objects that reflect and refract that light in a host of colors, shades, and textures, sending that light bouncing toward eyes and camera lenses. God encoded the world using an incredibly complex light-language. And he gave you light-decoding equipment that is mind-boggling in its complexity and brilliance.

Watermelon

It’s the same with your fingertips. A world encoded with textures, degrees of firmness, shapes, and all the incredible subtleties that make up the “feel” of the world. A touch-language that is infinitely explorable. And he covered you in skin capable of decoding this data with unbelievable sensitivity.

It’s the same with your nose. Particles everywhere encoded using God’s incredible scent-language. Winds that carry these scents. Noses that can pick them up and interpret them.

And here is the staggering part: ALL OF THIS IS ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY. From a certain standpoint, that is.

God could have made us purely spiritual beings, yet he chose to enflesh us. He made a physical world and loaded it with the potential for infinite sensory combinations. He gave us the equipment to utilize these five senses. He sends us out into the world to enjoy these sense experiences in all of their diversity, in all of their glory. God’s world is enjoyable—he made it that way, and he gave us the capacity to enjoy it. Truly, in enjoying this world, we are enjoying the God who made it, the God who “richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).

I truly believe that God delights in my delight of strawberries. I can turn that taste into an idol, of course. I can use it for purposes that dishonor God. But when I bite into this unbelievable piece of God’s creation, my mind turns instantly to the Creator, and I thank him for being so lavish in encoding this world, and so gracious in providing me with the ability to decode it. I enjoy God by enjoying his creation. With every bite, I remember God’s goodness.

It’s as if the strawberries declare the glory of God; the watermelons proclaim his handiwork. It’s apologetic fruit, and it’s full of wonder.

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