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8 Feb

Sensation is based on something external, coming from the physical world, passing in through our physical bodies to carry information to our minds. It takes three ingredients: an external world (material), an internal mind (immaterial), and a system (created and sustained). In other words, only by presupposing that nature is consistent and comprehensible because it is contingent on a trustworthy being (i.e. God), can we have a way to trust any of our sensory information. Still because of how “the secret things belong to the LORD”, our senses have limits. All sensory information is revelation from God, but not all is revealed. What becomes a sensation starts it’s journey by divine decree (normally following physical laws), in space-time, and as matter-energy.

Traditionally the five senses are sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, but these seem imprecise as there are other aspects to what we sense as well. What are the different kinds of journeys that end in sensory information reaching our minds? Also what about our sensation of things like balance, acceleration, time, orientation, pain, temperature, and internal systems?

But first for each of these we can ask:

  1. What physical conditions come into contact with our bodies?
  2. What biological structures do we have that are affected?
  3. What sensory information reaches the mind?
  4. How does this information affect us?

Here are some of the different ways to characterize energy (kinetic or potential):

  • Electrical
  • Magnetic
  • Radiant (Electromagnetic)
  • Sound
  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Thermal
  • Nuclear
  • Elastic
  • Luminous

Some biological structures:

  • eyes (cones, rods)
  • ears (eardrum, hair cells)
  • nose (olfactory receptors)
  • tongue (taste buds)
  • skin (nerve endings)
  • nervous system
  • cerebral cortex


Next to explore: What would sensation be like with fewer limits?