This notion may seem self-evidently false. While many animals do indeed have better noses and a keener sense of smell than humans, their ability is constrained to the physical world of nature. Humans however, can “sniff out” metaphysical qualities.
You have probably heard of the term the “mind’s eye.” Well, the mind also has a nose, tongue, and ears, etc. These are actually the organic forms and inner sensors of the human spirit. According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg every idea and concept must be received and processed by a corresponding and real organic form—even the most abstract of human ideas.
These rarefied organic forms make up the sensory functions of a person’s spiritual body and consciousness, which survives death (according to its quality).
God imparted to humans a supra-sensory dimension and capability for sniffing out and perceiving theological truths. This special discernment allows the human race to receive spiritual and eternal life from God’s heavenly (non-physical) influence. This deeper capacity of a person’s spiritual nose is what the Holy Bible is communicating when we read in Genesis that Jehovah breathed into human nostrils and caused them to live. In other words, God’s main activity is to help humans to live deeper, more spiritual lives—not just worldly or physical lives.
This divine spiritual endeavor is evidenced later in Scripture when Jesus breathes into His disciple’s nostrils. His disciples were already physically alive, so some additional and spiritually vivifying capacity must have been added to their mundane breathing.
We innately grasp the reality of this psychical schnozzola when we say that something smells “fishy” about a situation or when a person shows a particular talent, we will say they “have a nose for such things.” Everyone can understand this last phrase as representing a human ability that operates above the functioning of the physical nose.