Nude Naked and Unashamed Divine Sex

CHAPTER TWO 

NAKED AND UNASHAMED 

Comments about nakedness from other authors:

 

As expected, we find that contemporary religious writers and

church leaders declare human nakedness to be doubtlessly sinful

unless it is done in total privacy. As example of some of their

comments, consider these quotes.

 

“A term indicating various stages of undress, from being

inappropriately clad, to being totally nude. The naked body was

taboo in Hebrew society … in part because bodily fluids were

“unclean”…Clothing confined the fluids and prevented them from

contaminating public areas.

 

“In Heb. usage “nakedness” is often a euphemism for sexual

relations (cf. Lev. 18). This usage helps explain the incident as Gen.

9:20-27, where Ham apparently took advantage of his father’s

drunken state and had sexual relations with him.

 

“Public nakedness was normally considered an occasion for

shame, a characteristic of the prostitute or the adulteress (1 Sam.

20:30; Rev. 17:16). The prophets often spoke of the lascivious, naked

prostitute as a visual symbol of Israel’s apostasy (Ezek. 16:15-43; ch.

23; Hos. 2:1-13).

 

But nakedness might also be a result of extreme

poverty (Dt. 28:48; Rev. 3:17-18 (figuratively) and therefore an

opportunity for good works (Mt. 25:36-44).

 

“Nakedness was forbidden in Israelite religious ceremonies,

largely because of its association with Canaanite rites (Lev. 20:23).

 

The priests wore linen garments to cover themselves (Ex. 28:42) and

altars were built without steps lest the priest’s nakedness be

exposed to the crowd below (Ex. 20:26).

 

Aaron, under the people’s

influence, made a calf before which the people danced naked (Ex.

31:25).

 

Saul lay naked all night and prophesied (1 Sam. 19:24).

 

Isaiah walked naked and barefoot 3 years as a prophecy of doom

against Egypt, Is. 20:2-4).

 

 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced so

enthusiastically before the returning ark, that he became

“uncovered” (2Sam.6:20).”

 

– Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, pg. 746. –

“Occasionally “nakedness” is a euphemism for sexual organs.

Thus the laws of Ex. 20:26 and 28:42 prohibit the exposure of

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priest’s “nakedness” because it would be cultically defiling.

“Uncover the nakedness” in Lev. 18 and 20 refers to incest.

 

 It also

refers to the results of incest, i.e. bringing shame upon the

aggrieved party.

 

“Shame is also associated with nakedness and is seen as

originating in the garden of Eden. When man and woman became

aware that they were naked, they were ashamed.

 

 Prior to the

disobedience, nakedness was natural as it continued to be for

animals.

 

“The practice of sleeping unclothed is attested in Rev. 16:15

 

where being awake and clothed is contrasted with being asleep and

naked.”

 

– International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) vol. 3, pg. 480)

Scripture References:

 

Adam and Eve were created by God as naked and unashamed.

Man’s normal, original and Divinely intended condition was

nakedness, (Gen.2:25).

 

 Adam and Eve’s children and the human

race would still be naked if not for the fall. When God looked at His

creation and pronounced it “very good,” he was looking at naked

humanity, Gen. 1:26-31.

 

Nakedness itself is not shameful. The very

beginnings of humanity demonstrate that God’s preference for man

and woman, is that they be naked exactly as all other living

creatures are.

 

The guilt of sin causes Adam and Eve to be ashamed at their

nakedness, (Gen. 3:7,10). Sin brings shame, but it is not necessary to

think that Adam and Eve’s shame was due specifically to the physical

nakedness of their sexual organs.

 

Why were they ashamed: because

their physical bodies were unclothed, or because suddenly they

have become self-consciously guilty of sin, and realize that each

other and God know of the guilt?

 

 From the beginning, all they had

known was physical nakedness, so how does their sin cause them

to find something wrong with nakedness as such?

 

It is more likely

to think that their physical nakedness represents to their mind that

they are now open to the spiritual gaze of each other and of God.

Their motivation is to hide from God, not to cover their sex organs.

 

Their shame at being uncovered is in the same category as that of

the criminal who hides his face from the TV camera as he is being

led away in handcuffs. It is similar to the sheepishness of a child

caught with a hand in the cookie jar? Since their sin had nothing to

 

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do with their physical nakedness, and did not involve their sex

organs, why do we jump to the conclusion that their attempt at

clothing, was to hide their body? More on this later.

 

 

Ham “sees” Noah naked. Noah curses him, not for seeing him

naked, but for what Ham “did, ” (Gen. 9:21ff.). What did he “do?”

 

It was not seeing his father naked that was sinful, but something

more drastic. As suggested in the above quote from Eerdman’s

Bible Dictionary, Ham must have committed sexual offense against

his father, committing an act of incest. For this he is cursed.

 

If seeing his father naked and remarking about it to his brothers was

his offense, then any condemnation of nakedness based on this

incident must conclude that it is shameful and worthy of cursing a

child if (s)he should see a parent naked and say anything about it.

 

Israel was required to build her altars without steps lest the

priest’s nakedness be exposed to the crowd below, (Ex. 20:26).

 

 The priests wore linen garments to cover themselves, (Ex. 28:42).

 

Nakedness was forbidden in Israelite religious ceremonies,

(Lev. 20:23), as the above quote from Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary

indicates, “largely because of its association with Canaanite rites.”

 

These Scriptures are set in the culture of a people surrounded by

nations that customarily made sex a part of their religious exercise.

 

To protect against all such corruption of their religious ritual, as

well as to remove anything that would surely distract from

worship as would be the case with a priest’s sexual exposure, God

ordained this precaution. It is interesting to observe that no such

precaution is made for other situations.

 

For example, Moses

climbed Sinai twice to obtain God’s law. If going up in the presence

of Israel would expose a man’s genitals, why not the same

prohibition here, if God’s interest is solely to keep genitalia from

public gaze?

 

When God commanded Israelites to go outside the

camp to have a bowel movement, and to bury the results with a

shovel, why did He not also precaution them to be sure they hid so

no one saw their genitals?

 

 Why did God never make such a

requirement in any other circumstance than this one that related to

a priest’s ministry in Israel’s presence?

 

 It was because of the pagan

use of sexual practice in their worship. God was very careful to

eliminate any practice that might lead Israel to consider including

sex as apart of worship to Him. This was an unusual request for

 

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God to make of the priests. That they had to be specifically

instructed to wear “underwear” means that they would not

ordinarily wear such garments.

 

Wearing panties and briefs was not

a common thing in Israel’s culture, nor was it common in the

nations around them. If carefully covering one’s genitals is

important to God, we should expect to read a command like this

addressed to all men and all women applicable to all

circumstances. But, of course, such is not the case.

 

We who attach

shame to sex organs, make such undergarments “necessary.” To

some in our society it is “shocking” to think a man or woman

would choose to not wear underwear under their clothes. Many

think it is shameful for a “godly” woman to go “bare legged.”

 

Many think it is tasteless and even vulgar for women to go bra-less.

Yet there is nothing inherently negative, unclean or tasteless about

not wearing underwear.

 

Public opinion must be considered before

going bra-less in public, but otherwise, nothing negative can

legitimately be said about it.

 

Ruth, seeking to offer herself to Boaz as his wife, is told by

Naomi to go to his bed while he sleeps and “uncover his feet” and lie

down until he awakes and tells her what to do, (Ruth. 3:7).

 

 The action Ruth is to take here is not merely to simply lay down at the

foot of his bed and put the end of the blanket over herself.

 

“Uncover the feet” was a well known euphemism in that culture for “expose the genitals.”

 

Moffatt translates the Hebrew words this

way: “uncovered his waist and lay down there.” She was advised

to uncover Boaz’s genitals and lay down beside him.

 

When he awoke with his genitals uncovered and Ruth lying beside him, he did not have to guess what she wanted!

 

She was offering herself to him sexually, and he was willing! When she asked him to “spread your covering over me” she used a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

 

 This phrase arose because in sexual intercourse, a

woman lying on her back lays open her robe to the man. The man

spreads his robe apart as he lies on top of her.

 

 Thus the phrase “cover with my robe (or skirt, or covering)” also came to refer to sexual intercourse.

 

Today if a man asks a woman, “will you go to bed with me” we know he is not asking for a place to sleep! In the same way, in that Israelite culture when a man asked a woman if he could “cover you with my robe” he was asking for sex. So Ruth is unabashedly asking Boaz to copulate with her. He says “I will do

 

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whatever you desire,” (vs. 11), which probably means that he had

intercourse with her that night, for they indeed spent the night

together, (vs. 13, 14).

 

There is no need to be offended by such suggestions.

 

Firstly, the Biblical words themselves warrant such an explanation of the

scene.

 

Secondly, these people were not living under the heap of

purely human traditions and religious regulations that have been

handed down to us. Thirdly, the action achieved its result;

 

Boaz accepted her sexual proposal, and they were married and became

the parents from whom eventually David and Solomon descended.

 

It is worthy of note that these two doubtless had sexual intercourse

before they were officially married. At any rate, there was nothing

shameful to these people about “naked” sex organs.

 

Such an approach by a woman to a man, while considering both

of them to be righteous people, is almost sacrilegious to most

religious people today. Yet to Ruth, Boaz and Naomi, it was an

expression of a freedom and naturalness about sex that found

nothing dirty or unholy about it. Our struggles arise from the

mistaken notion that our attitudes toward sex must necessarily be

the same as God’s attitudes. In a culture where most of us are

reluctant to even talk about sex we cannot imagine that the godly

men and women of Scripture could be so free, unashamed and

natural about sex, regarding both its functions and its pleasures, as

the Bible shows them to be.

 

Sexual freedom and openness about it all was a hallmark of

these people. They shared none of our hang-ups and consequently

none of our false guilt. To neither Naomi, Ruth nor Boaz would

Ruth’s behavior be “brazen” or offensive. Men and women have

sex. And men’s and women’s genitals are neither “holy” nor

“horrid.”

 

Even in an age when we consider God’s Levitical Law to

be totally controlling of Israel’s behavior, such scenes as these are

played out time and again in Scripture with never a solitary hint

that God is displeased. Given God’s demand for holiness, His care

to inform His people of all offenses against holiness and His primafacie

acceptance of nakedness; and given the Biblical depiction of

overt sexual advances of men and women toward each other with

never a correction from God, our conclusion can only be that God

did not view exposure of one’s genitals to be either a spiritual crime

or “uncleanness.” Though one could not expose another’s

nakedness against their will, for purely personal satisfaction, (Hab.

 

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2:15) one could do so in a situation like this, where the intent and

method honored the dignity and rights of the other person.

 

 Boaz actually thanked Ruth for showing such interest in his sexuality,

(Ruth 3:10).

 

In a more famous incident God’s demonstrates His acceptance

of human nakedness even when displayed before members of the

opposite sex.

 

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced so

enthusiastically before the returning ark of the covenant that he

became “uncovered,” exposing himself to the “maidens,” (2Sam.6:20).

 

It is apparent that during his vigorous dancing movement his

genitals were visible to the men and women who thronged the

streets to watch the parade. Five Hebrew words describe David’s

actions as he danced “with all his might.” David “danced,” “rotated,”

“jumped,” “whirled,” and “skipped.”

 

 There is no indication if his “uncovering” resulted from David’s “ephod” (vs. 14) flapping loosely  as he gyrated, or if he took it off. An ephod was no more than a

long cloth with a hole in the center through which one put his head.

 

It fell down the front and down the back, sometimes with ties to

hold the sides together. From verse 14 it appears that this is all

David wore and its specific mention seems to be given to explain

how he could have been “uncovered.”

 

Wearing undergarments is a modern invention.

 

 David was not wearing his “fruit of the looms.”

As he danced he either intentionally threw off his ephod and

danced naked, or it flapped open exposing his genitals.

 

 If one is repulsed at the suggestion that David might have intentionally

danced naked, we remark that nude dancing was well established

in virtually all cultures of that day. Women and young girls

especially, danced naked in public parades and celebrations.

 

Israelites stripped and danced naked around the golden calf (Ex.

32:6, 25).

 

God’s displeasure with them on this occasion related not

to their nakedness per se, nor even to sexual activity, but to their

worship of an idol, Aaron’s golden calf.

 

Isaiah was commanded by

God to walk naked and barefoot through Jerusalem for three years,

(Isa. 20:1-4). Nakedness in general was not as evil to Israel and

surrounding nations as it is to us. And it is apparent that God by no

means thinks of nakedness as vile and shameful. Man put the

stigma of shame and sin on nakedness.

 

God did not.

David was sufficiently exposed to invoke his wife’s anger and

contempt. The words “uncovered” and “shamelessly” are translated

from a Hebrew word meaning to “denude” (Strong’s # 1540). It is

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used of Noah when he was uncovered in his tent, (Gen. 9:21).

 

 In

Lev. 18:6-19 it is used repeatedly in reference to uncovering one’s

sexual organs. Consider these translations:

 

“… exposed himself to the girls along the street like a common

pervert!”

 

(The Living Bible)

“…exposing himself before women…as any loose fellow would

expose himself indecently.” (Moffatt)

 

“...as he stripped himself in the sight of the maid servants…as a

common rake exposes himself! (Goodspeed)

 

“…uncovering himself this day to be ogled by the female

servants…as some worthless fellow would strip himself.” (Modern

Language Version)

 

So David was not just dancing “shirtless.” His sexuality was

exposed, and this “strip tease” was reprehensible to Michal. She

did not object to his exuberant dancing.

 

She objected in jealousy to

the fact that the women in the street had seen his genitals!

 

 Rather than being shamed by her jealous anger, David replied, “It was an

act of celebration and worship to God and I am willing to go even further than this. When I do I may humble myself, but the maidens of whom you are so jealous, will hold me in high esteem.” (2 Sam. 6:21, 22)

 

The only explanation for Michal’s anger, seems to be jealousy. The fact is that

men, women and children in Israel did not “look at” sexual organs

the same way we do. It was not all that unusual for men to see

women’s genitalia, and vice versa.

 

If God was repelled by this public, uninhibited display of

David’s genitals, and that women along the road had seen them,

why do we have no word that even hints at such Divine

displeasure?

 

Why did God not correct David for his “vulgarity and

excess?” Now that we know “the rest of the story” about David’s

actual nakedness in this dance, it astounds us that God accepted his

abandoned, uninhibited worship!

 

 The fact that God blessed David

and cursed Michal because of her reproach of David’s “exposed”

dancing, proves God did not find David’s exposure either sinful or

distasteful. Human nakedness does not bother God any more than

does the nakedness of animals.

 

Nakedness bothers humans who

have been brow-beaten by decades of false teaching and who do

not know how to deal with their internal guilt and shame. Clothes

are nothing more than an artificial cover-up for what is wrong

inside us. The invention of clothing didn’t work for Adam and Eve,

as we shall show, and it will not work for us.

 

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“Uncover the nakedness” in Lev. 18 and 20 refers to incest. It

also refers to the results of incest, i.e. bringing shame upon the

aggrieved party. “Uncover the nakedness” is a euphemism for

sexual intercourse.

Public nakedness was a characteristic of the adulterous

prostitute and considered an occasion for shame, (1 Sam. 20:30;

Rev. 17:16). The prophets often spoke of the lascivious, naked

prostitute as a visual symbol of Israel’s adultery, (Ezek. 16:15-43;

ch. 23; Hos. 2:1-13). These verses do not make nakedness, as such,

shameful. It is the relationship of nakedness to sexual sin that is

shameful. It is nakedness used for enticement to adultery, that is

shameful.

 

Saul lay naked all night and prophesied, (1 Sam. 19:24). Was this

a shameful act? No hint of such is found here.

 

Isaiah walked naked and barefoot 3 years as a prophecy of

doom against Egypt, (Is. 20:2-4). Did God command Isaiah to

commit what is “normally”(?) a sin, in order to make His point

with Israel? While public nudity may not have been normal in

Israelite society, there is no proof from Scripture that they

considered nudity a sin. There certainly is no Divine law that

makes it so.

Babylon’s “nakedness” will be exposed & her shame

“uncovered” as God’s judgment, (Isa. 47:1-3).

 

Nineveh is cursed because of “wanton lust of a harlot…who

enslaves nations by prostitution and witchcraft,” so God will “expose her

nakedness,” (Nahum 3:4-8). In all such cases, “exposing nakedness”

is to force sexual exposure upon one.

 

This has nothing to do with

any supposed inherent shamefulness of physical nakedness. As

indicated by the Word Biblical Commentary on Isa. 47:3, stripping

one of clothing was an act of humiliation, involuntarily exposing

one to public taunting, ridicule and vulgar treatment that was used

against slaves especially.

 

To “expose one’s nakedness” is to leave

one without any covering or defense.

“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drunk so he can gaze at their

naked bodies,” (Hab. 2:15). It “is your turn to be so exposed,” (vs. 16).

This is taking from someone what they are unwilling to give. To

 

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expose anyone against their will for sexual exploitation, is sinful.

There is no word here to indicates that voluntary nakedness is

wrong.

 

The Christians in Laodicea must get white garments “that the

shame of their nakedness may not be revealed,” (Rev. 3:18). This is a

reproach of their thinking they are independent of a need for God.

 

King Ahasuerus, during a large feast with many guests, sent

servants to call his queen, Vashti, to appear before the guests in

order that they might admire her great beauty. (Esther 1:11)

 

She was an uncommonly beautiful woman, and this verse suggests that

the king wanted her to appear naked so as to display her total glory

to all admirers.

 

The Jewish Targum says she was commanded to

appear naked, as do Josephus and a Midrashic passage (Megillah

12b), (Kevin Aaron, Journey From Eden, p.47) There is good reason

to accept this as the real situation.

 

The circumstance that she

refused to appear before the king’s guests has been used as an

indication of her great virtue, and her “example” has been used in

many sermons designed to instill in women a sense of shame at

being unclothed in the presence of other people. This incident is

also touted as an example of the crudity and sinfulness of a man

desiring to display his wife’s beauty to others.

 

 However, neither

conclusion can be legitimately drawn from the Biblical text. Both

are examples of imposing present concepts upon the text, based

upon our cultural setting and paradigms, rather than deriving the

meaning from the text in a way that is consistent with what we

know about the culture in which it was written.

 

Is it necessary or even possible to conjecture that Vashti was a

“morally virtuous” woman who was “repelled” at the idea of

appearing naked before the king’s guests?

 

Not one word in the text

gives any basis for such a conjecture. Any conclusion about Vashti’s

motives can never be more than opinion. So since we are

considering opinions, let us offer one of our own, based on what

we can learn about that culture.

 

In that pagan society, known for

sexual liberty of every kind by both sexes, it is more likely that

Vashti would have been naturally eager to show off her physical

beauty, especially knowing it would bring special favor from the

king. That the moral standards of such a pagan woman would have

been too high to allow her to appear naked in such a situation, is

disproved by well documented practices of all human history,

 

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including our own day. History demonstrates the willingness and

even eagerness of women to strip before men specifically to display

their body, and especially for payment of money or for other

favors. Where would Vashti have gotten such a boldly different

moral view of this since it was then, and still is, common practice

among “unbelievers?”

 

Interestingly, no one comments on the contrast between “pagan

Vashti’s” supposed moral virtue and “Israelite Esther’s”

 

participation in a sexual relay with this same king. Vashti is

heralded as pure and righteous for refusing to appear naked for the

king’s guests, then Esther is also heralded as the righteous, faithful

servant of God whose faith and courage save the nation of Israel.

 

Yet Esther, with her uncle Mordecai’s knowledge and consent,

willingly participated in the nightly “sex-capades” by which the

king chose his new bride.

 

 Now, on the one hand, we applaud

Vashti for refusing to appear naked before the king’s guests. On the

other hand, we say nothing about the fact that Esther did not refuse

to participate in the king’s sexual merry-go-round. Do we think it

was worse for Vashti to appear naked, than for Esther to simply join

the line-up of sexual playthings for the king? Why is Esther not

castigated for not refusing to participate in such a “degenerate”

act?

 

As long as we must conjecture, it is more probable that Vashti’s

refusal had selfish reasons, calculated to gain some special favor,

perhaps thinking that the king might offer extra favors for her

appearance before his guests. Or she may have been angry with the

king, or ill, in her menstrual period, or perhaps a number of

reasons could explain her refusal of the king’s command, none of

which have anything to do with a sense of moral impropriety.

 

Esther knew what she was getting into and acted voluntarily at

the advice of her uncle. However the king did not merely “ask”

Vashti to appear naked before his guests. He demanded it. Had he

asked, allowing her to make the decision for herself, might the

situation have been different? Who knows? There is no Biblical

reason for such a request to be looked upon as vulgar, filthy,

perverted, or any such thing..

 

This story illustrates a common trait of men that people are

reluctant to consider nowadays: A man is more proud of his wife’s

beauty than he is of anything else he “possesses.” As eager as a

man is to invite other men and women to look at, examine, caress,

 

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etc. and thoroughly enjoy his beautiful car, his guns, his boat, etc.

so are most men eager to show off their wives. A common fantasy

of most men, is their desire to show off their wife’s body, especially

to other men. It has to do with male self-esteem. In our society, that

desire is not overtly demonstrated except in very limited occasions,

 

such as beauty contests which boyfriends and husbands support

strongly, encouraging and helping their girlfriends or wives

prepare, and watching with delight as they walk the runway in

bikinis and revealing gowns, for all to see their glory. Years ago a

friend, commenting on a mutual acquaintance's penchant for

wanting his very beautiful wife to dress in short skirts, and without

bras, said “he likes the guys to see what he has at home.”

 

Some will

respond by saying, “It is different with one’s wife, than with one’s

car, boat. etc.” Perhaps. But exactly how is it different? And who

says so? If it is no more than a human opinion, then it is worthless

for this discussion.

 

The question is, does such a desire mean a man is wicked,

debased, vulgar, etc.? Nowhere in Scripture is such a suggestion

made. If it is sinful for men to have such thoughts about displaying

their wife before others, the Bible makes no mention of it and we

can learn it only by human reasoning. As we have already said, we

refuse to accept moral standards that cannot be supported by

Scripture.

 

Morality based on human reasoning can never be God’s

morality. No human should feel the slightest compulsion to accept

human doctrines and man made rules for moral behavior. If God

didn’t say it, we can safely discard it.

 

Why would any husband desire others to look at his wife’s

beauty? The obvious reason has already been suggested: his male

ego is fed by the admiration of others for what he alone possesses,

just as with the display of his car, etc. There is also the desire of a

self-assured man to allow his wife the satisfaction of being admired,

 

with the ego boosting and self-assurance and self-confidence that

such brings to her. Women have been held in the background and

treated as if they should never expect to be encouraged to enjoy

being who they are, or to enjoy their beauty, or to seek and receive

 

praise from others because they are beautiful. Such a desire on

woman’s part is not vanity or pride. It is normal. If men would

more overtly work at encouraging their wives to be independent,

self-confident, etc. what a wonderful change it would make in our

women. Women want and need to feel that they are beautiful and

 

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that their husbands are proud of their beauty. For a man to

encourage and enable his wife to so display herself that she might

receive praise for her beauty would be a wonderfully liberating

thing for her. What motivates a man to allow his wife to enter a

beauty contest, to wear revealing gowns, and to strut her stuff in

the “swimsuit competition?” No one really thinks much about a

man actually encouraging or “supporting” his wife to do such a

thing. The motive for the man is both his own self esteem in having

 

such a beautiful wife, and in ministering to his wife’s desire and

need for recognition and admiration, and congratulations for her

physical charms. If men were confident in their own identity, if

they were assured of their wives’ love for them, and if they were

not filled with fear and jealousy at the thought that other men

would look at their wives with admiration for their beauty, how

much would it do for women everywhere, to be free to receive, and

bask in such affirmation of their beauty? Tell me, what is

 

fundamentally different about a man’s wife posing, strutting in a

beauty contest in a swimsuit, and this king’s request of Vashti? Do

we say, “well, the beauty contestants have some clothes on?” Still

the purpose is exactly the same – to display the beauty of woman’s

body. The human body is gloriously beautiful and was made by

 

God to be that way. Nothing about nudity is inherently sinful. And

there is nothing inherently sinful about people admiring the beauty

of other people’s bodies. For a man to look at a woman’s nakedness

and relish the sight, or for a woman to look at a man’s nakedness

with admiration, for example at a “Mr. Universe” contest, is of the

same nature as God’s looking at his naked man and woman and

saying, “that’s very good.” If God looked and pronounced it good,

how can we look and pronounce it evil?

 

The Song of Solomon is the most straightforwardly sexual book

in the Bible. It’s theme is that of two lovers who take pure delight in

each other’s bodies and sexual love. In 4:1-5, the man describes the

woman’s body in detail, using Hebrew words that have strong

sexual meaning. In 5:11-15, the woman describes the man’s naked

 

body, from head to toe, including euphemistic references to his

penis (“belly,” cf. Strong’s #4578) or as one translator put it, “His

rod is arrogant ivory.” In 7:1-6, the girl is wearing nothing but shoes,

for the boy’s description of her body moves from feet to head.

Admiring her “navel” refers to her vulva, according to The

 

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Interpreter’s Bible. In the context, the girl is dancing, (thus the shoes)

and the people call to her to turn around so they can look at her.

Her back was turned and they could not see her full naked beauty.

The man is pleased with their admiration of “his girl,” and asks

teasingly, why they love to look at the girl who dances (6:13). Of

course, he knows why they look: they look because she is beautiful

from head to feet, and he delights in their admiration of her body.

 

The Interpreter’s Bible commentary says this was some special

dance apparently performed in the nude. The Pulpit Commentary

says the dancing girl may have worn clothing of a light texture

through which the outlines of her body and breasts were seen,

“according to the mode of dancing in the East.” (Journey From Eden, p.

49). Such nude dances as these were common in that culture. Adam

Clark thinks she wore “transparent garments,” which allowed her

 

body to be viewed. The girl was dancing in such fashion that her

breasts were visible and described as a perfectly matching pair,

“two young roes that are twins.” As she danced her breasts bounced

like young roes jumping on the hill. This girl had breasts like

“towers” – large, firm breasts – and this was a major factor that

caused the man to delight in her, (8:10).

 

Given the jaundice with which especially religious people have

learned to look at sex and nudity, it is impossible for most

Christians to handle such imagery as used in the Song of Solomon.

But it is nevertheless there for all the world to read and to profit

from. Churches have tried their best to help God out, since

apparently, in many minds, He did not do an adequate job of

defining decency. Modern religious people are offended at the

 

suggestion that God would actually inspire such a book as Song of

Solomon. Most commentators refuse to deal straightforwardly with

its explicitly sexual language. Adam Clarke suggested that the

sexual references in this book were so explicit that even a medical

Doctor would be embarrassed to use them. Yet the fact remains that

 

this book is part of inspired Scripture. Any suggestion that it’s

language and sexual references are crude, unacceptable for decent

society, vulgar, etc, is an accusation against God’s personal

holiness, purity and righteousness. On the other hand, if we can

accept that this book is inspired by God Himself and that its sexual

 

content is not shameful, unholy or in any other way foreign to

God’s character, then we are in a position to be able to understand

God’s true attitude toward sex. God made sex. God made sex

 

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enjoyable. God made human bodies. God made them beautiful to look

at. God also created men’s and women’s sexual reaction to the

naked bodies of others. God sees this as good. And it all

harmonizes with His essentially Holy nature. In God’s mind there

 

is no dirt connected with sex or human nakedness. All the dirt

exists in human minds. We have taken our human standards so

seriously that we believe we are able to define (since God did not)

 

what is “decent” and what is not. Humans (religious ones) have

through the years, shown just how expertly they can define

morality. They have at different times prescribed exactly how short

is too short for skirts, that a woman’s knees should not be seen, that

 

she should wear long sleeves so no one will be excited by her naked

arms, that she must not allow her legs to be seen at all, that she

cannot be seen in public wearing a “swimsuit,” or if she does, it

must be a one-piece suit, etc. If holiness is defined by how much

clothing one wears, then surely those religions that require women

 

to cover everything, including their faces, are the most holy of all.

Against this modern backdrop, imagine if you can, the fact that

as the church developed, in many churches nude baptism was

conducted. Will Durant said: “Total nude immersion was required

lest a devil should hide in some clothing…”(The Age of Faith, pg.

75). References to nude baptism are contained in writings by

Chrysostom, Ambrose, Cyril of Jerusalem and others (Rousas

 

Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, pg. 758).

It is well known that in Greece, athletic contests and training

were conducted in the nude. The word “gymnasium” means “a

place for naked exercise.” Our modern Olympics is the offspring of

 

these Greek games. Today, both men and women in these games

wear such brief attire that nothing about their physique is left to the

imagination. They could as well imitate the Greeks and simply

“run naked.” Outlandish as it sounds to most people in our society

 

this is not inconsistent with anything in the Bible. The Bible does

not advocate nudity, but neither does it condemn it. In fact, as the

Song of Solomon and David’s dancing indicate, God even accepts it.

We will then make this bold, radical statement: No Scripture

 

exists that calls forth God’s judgment upon humans appearing naked

before other humans. No law exists in God’s book that makes public

nudity sinful. While this may sound outlandishly radical, the test is

easy for anyone to take: simply read through the Bible trying to

find such a law. It does not exist. There are some occasions where

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nakedness is forbidden (e.g. Priests must wear undergarments

when ministering above the crowd below; exposure for purpose of

enticing to adultery). There is a law against exposing other’s

nakedness against their will, for purposes of selfish sexual

enjoyment (getting someone drunk, then undressing them for

 

sexual exploitation). God condemns those who display their

nakedness for purposes of enticing others to adultery (e.g. married

prostitutes who appeared naked in public). But there is no law

against being naked, even in public. Make of this what we will, it is a

fact. Indeed we have seen Biblical examples of public nakedness of

 

which God approved. In view of the principles established in

chapter one, What Makes a Thing Sinful, we must re-think

carefully the conclusions we have made about human nudity and

establish, if necessary, new rules based on the Bible rather than on

our own opinions.

Additional Observations and Conclusions:

Nakedness is neither moral nor immoral. Because God created

nakedness as the original and “very good” condition of humanity it

cannot possibly be thought to be immoral, nor questionable. What

God saw as “very good” was human and animal nakedness. This

was God’s ideal. Clothing is a hiding of God’s perfect creation. In

God’s perfect scheme, nakedness is perfection. Clothing is not

desirable. Nakedness remains the norm today for all creatures

 

except man. The awakening of human conscience, the awareness of

sin, the shame of guilt, etc. cannot transform an inherently moral

condition into an immoral condition. If nakedness itself is not

immoral or sinful then acts of sin cannot make it so. Just as eating

too much may cause one to sin through gluttony, the act of eating is

 

not thereby made sinful. Drinking wine is acceptable and even

recommended by God to be a blessing. But drinking too much and

becoming habitually drunk, is sinful. The sin of drunkenness does

not make it a sin to merely drink wine. The Bible does not teach

that nakedness became sinful on the basis that Adam and Eve

 

sinned. It is not nakedness that is shameful; it is the guilt of

disobedience that creates shame. Clothing was not invented by

Adam and Eve as an attempt to hide the shame of physical

nakedness; it was their attempt to hide the spiritual shame of sin. It

is possible for humans to be naked in front of each other without

guilt.

 

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Nakedness was the normal state of everything God created. His

original intention was stated in the form and character in which He

created man and animals. Animals cannot sin thus no shame can

attach to anything they do and their nakedness has no moral

 

implications. When God looked at the state of His totally naked

creation, He announced that it was “very good.” God never intended

people to wear clothes. Their physical beauty, like that of animals,

should have borne perpetual testimony to the awesome handiwork

of the Creator. That human bodies are covered detracts from the

 

glorious tribute to God’s creative genius that should come from all

God’s creation. Certainly, nothing God made is so beautiful as the

human body, which is proven by the fact that history’s greatest

 

artists have painted, sculpted and photographed the naked human

body for the collective (even if in most cases, furtive) admiration of

all who see their images. This should be normal.

The entrance of sin brought shame and a compulsion to hide. It

is most unlikely that Adam and Eve were ashamed of the mere fact

that their bodies were naked. It is more likely that their shame was

at the realization of their disobedience and their total exposure to

the holy gaze of God. They were now aware that they were

 

violators of that holiness and that they could not hide that fact from

each other or from God. This is demonstrated by the fact that they

did not stop at clothing their bodies. They were compelled to try to

hide among the trees of the garden. Their clothing, like their

cowering behind trees, was a factor of their transparent

 

disobedience – not of the shamefulness of their physical nakedness.

God’s act of clothing them with animal skins was not His testimony

that man must now be clothed, but was God’s dramatic

demonstration of the spiritual fact that man cannot hide the

consequences of sin. Only God can cover sin and only blood

 

sacrifice can do that, thus the animal skins. If mere clothing was the

issue God could have shown Adam and Eve how to make sufficient

clothing without killing an animal. And if clothing becomes

mandatory for us because Adam and Eve were ashamed, why does

it not also become mandatory that we hide behind trees from each

other?

 

If nakedness was the inherently innocent, “very good” aspect of

creation that God said it was before the fall, then the fall of Adam

and Eve did not change nakedness itself into something inherently

shameful. Man’s sin does not transform the nature of any of God’s

 

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creation. But sin does place all of God’s creation in a less than ideal

condition. Sin changes man’s ability to relate to God’s creation in

total innocence. Sin becomes a matter, in most instances, of using

God’s “very good” creation in wrong ways and for wrong

purposes. Such is the case with the whole realm of sexual activity

with which this study deals and with nakedness. Apart from sinful

use of nakedness, nakedness itself is no more sin now than when

man was originally created. Nakedness becomes shameful and sinful

 

only when it is misused. Nakedness is misused when it is used for

enticement, to disgrace another, to expose one against their will, to

flaunt public morals, to hurt another’s conscience, etc.

 

Since, at the fall, there were only Adam and Eve to see each

other’s nakedness, and they hid from each other via clothes, do we

conclude that to be naked in the presence of our mates is sinful or

shameful? The shame in this instance had nothing to do with their

mate or any other human (had there been others) seeing their

naked bodies, nor is there any verse that indicates that their shame

 

consisted of being seen by each other. If this situation is the

platform upon which to build an attack upon human nudity under

any circumstances, then it is certainly a platform upon which to

build a case against nudity between husband and wife. In which

case, those who advocate marital sex only under circumstances

wherein a husband and wife do not see each other’s naked bodies,

 

are right. Who can believe it?

The factual case is that “nakedness” “shame” “clothing” appear

in a context where the only parties involved are a husband and wife. Do

we conclude that husbands should always be clothed when in the

presence of their wives and vice versa? Any case against nudity

built on these verses, makes this position mandatory, for these

verses cannot legitimately be forced to serve in debate against

nakedness on a general scale, if they have nothing to do with

 

nakedness on the particular scale. If we eliminate certain

conclusions on the particular scale, and that scale being the only

one under consideration in the passage, then we thereby eliminate

those conclusions on the general scale. If the clothing of Adam and

Eve proves anything as to the “sin of nudity,” it proves it is wrong

 

for a husband and wife to be nude together. It would thus be

wrong for a man and wife to bathe together. A husband must not

enter the bathroom while his wife is naked in the shower, etc. Most

of us can see that such application to the particular situation

 

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involving Adam and Eve/husband and wife, are absurd. We

should be able then to see the absurdity of trying to make generally

applicable, what will not serve the particular situation. The very

absurdity of such ideas should help us realize that some of our

other conclusions about nudity may also be wrong.

 

Why did Adam and Eve hide themselves from God “among the

trees of the garden,” (Gen. 3:8)? What does this have to do with “and

they knew that they were naked,” (vs. 7)? Why did they clothe their

 

bodies? What did their sin of eating the fruit have to do with their

realization that they were naked and why did this specific

realization motivate them to clothe themselves? Is it a shame to be

naked in God’s presence? Were Adam and Eve hiding their bodies

from each other? from God? from the animals? Who else was there?

And is fallen man to be ashamed of his physical nakedness in

 

God’s presence and his wife’s presence? Since they were naked and

unashamed from the start, but sinless, was their “shame” the result

of seeing each other’s nakedness? Do we suppose they were

somehow blinded to each other’s bodies before the fall? Is the

passage dealing with nakedness itself, or is there more to this than

meets the eye?

 

Adam and Eve had seen each other’s naked bodies before the

fall without shame. God had seen their naked bodies before the fall

and they were not ashamed. It is not possible that Adam had never

noticed that Eve was “different” from himself; that her anatomy

and his were not only different but that the difference was

compelling. Who can believe that Eve had never noticed that Adam

had a penis and she did not? As they looked at each other’s bodies,

 

and as God looked at their bodies, there was nothing unusual about

the sight. They knew the difference in their anatomies and Adam

and Eve had doubtless investigated each other’s specific differences

relative to penis, testicles, vulva, breasts. God’s mandate to them

and animals was to “multiply and replenish the earth.” Do we

suppose that they and animals were ignorant of the means of doing

this until the fall? If so we must conclude that man had no way to

 

fulfill God’s mandate until he sinned! What an absurd idea! Sexual

activity, copulation by both humans and animals, must have been a

part of life in Eden before the fall. Adam and Eve could not have

been ignorant of their sexuality and had surely enjoyed the

pleasures of sexual love. Whatever was the source of their “shame”

 

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at being naked, it could not have attached to physical nakedness as

such. And the fall did not involve sexual sin, so there was nothing

attached to the use of their sex organs or to the sight of them, to

which the fall applied. Therefore no sexual connotation could be

made of their nakedness. Adam saw Eve’s breasts and vulva before

 

the fall and neither of them were ashamed. Eve looked at Adam’s

penis and testicles before the fall and neither she nor he were

ashamed. God saw all these sexual parts and neither He nor they

were ashamed. Since Adam and Eve’s sexual organs were made for

sexual activity just as was the sexual apparatus of animals, may we

not conclude that Adam and Eve had “done what comes naturally”

and animals had done so as well, before the fall?

 

 Did they begin to

actually relate to each other as husband and wife before the fall?

 

Did sexual activity not begin for animals or man until the fall?

 

Common sense tells us that Adam and Eve were not oblivious to

each other’s sex organs before the fall. So what happened at the fall

that caused them be ashamed of their bodies? They were not seeing

each other’s naked sex organs for the first time! They were not just

 

at that moment, for the very first time, aware that they had no

physical clothes on. They had never seen a living creature of any

variety wearing clothes, so they had no context for thinking

something was amiss because they had no clothes. It was not their

bodies that fell, but their souls. Their realization was that they had

 

absolutely no way to hide their guilt from each other or from God.

It was the natural reaction of a moral creature to personal

recognition of wrongdoing. Guilt in their soul produced the effort

to hide themselves as persons. What they are inside is now fully

 

exposed and the shame is too great to bear. They are not ashamed

that their flesh is naked. Nothing about their sin had to do with

naked flesh. Nothing about their sin had to do with sex organs.

They are ashamed that their soul is naked before each other and God

and they are compelled to hide – in the only way they could think

 

of at the time – by putting something artificial around them and by

hiding among the trees. People still do the same today: hiding from

cameras, hiding behind other people, hiding faces from view, etc.

The clothing provided by God required the sacrifice of an

 

animal, (Gen. 3:9). The Bible nowhere says or even implies that fig

leaf aprons were “insufficient clothing.” This is man’s guesswork

theology, and has zero authority. There are at least two more logical

and theologically consistent reasons:

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[1] Adam and Eve are to be expelled from the garden into an

environment unlike the mild and healthful state of the garden.

Outside the garden, in a world cursed by sin’s effects such as

harsh fluctuations between cold and heat, adequate clothing

becomes a practical issue, but not a moral issue. Even then, where

climate does not recommend clothing there is nothing moral,

Biblical or spiritual that mandates it.

[2] Adam and Eve must understand that man’s effort to

cover the consequences of his sin are never enough. Man cannot

hide his sin or his guilt. Only God can do so. God’s way of

 

dealing with sin, guilt, shame, is always the same - sacrifice of

an innocent victim as substitute. God Himself gave Adam and

Eve proper covering for their guilt by providing a sacrifice for

them. As they left the garden they wore on their back the

 

constant reminder of the consequences of their sin. No clothing

of their own making could possibly have taught them this

lesson. Nor could anything but substitute sacrifice provide the

cancellation of that penalty of death “in the day thou eatest.” By

slaying animals in their behalf God provided “salvation” for

 

them from His announced penalty of death, and by making

clothes for them of the hides He taught them that the only

covering for sin is blood sacrifice, and only God can provide it.

Consider these comments from various Biblical Scholars:

“Now for the first time, blood was shed, and it was shed by

God Himself. To use the skins of animals, it was necessary to

 

slay them. This God did, and it would be difficult to find a

simpler object lesson to show us that it would take the death of

the Savior, the Son of God, to clothe us with a righteousness

which is not our own, but which comes from Him by virtue of

His atoning death.” (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Genesis, a

Devotional Commentary, p. 27)

 

“Man is ever seeking fig leaves to hide his shame and cover

his sins, but they are ever visible to the all-seeing eye of God.”

(Lange’s Commentary on Genesis)

 

“This verse (3:21), gives us a typical picture of a sinner’s

salvation. It was the first gospel sermon, preached by God

Himself, not in words, but in symbol and action…It was the

initial declaration of the fundamental fact that “without

 

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shedding of blood, there is no remission.” It was a blessed

illustration of substitution – the innocent dying in the stead of

the guilty.” (Arthur Pink, Gleaning in Genesis, p. 44)

“Here is the beginning of animal sacrifices: God sheds blood

in order to make clothing for Adam and Eve. He made them

from skins of animals therefore those animal’s lives were

sacrificed to clothe Adam and Eve. (Ray Stedman, Expository

Studies in Genesis 2 & 3, p. 104)

 

“The text tells us that they saw that they were naked, that is,

[1] That they were stripped, deprived of all the honors and joys

of their paradise state. They were disarmed; their defense had

departed from them. [2] That they were ashamed. They saw

themselves laid open to the contempt and reproach of heaven,

 

and earth, and their own consciences….Adam and eve made for

themselves aprons of fig-leaves, a covering too narrow for them

to wrap themselves in. Such are the all the rags of our own

righteousness. But God made them coats of skins, large, strong

and durable, and fit for them; such is the righteousness of

Christ. Therefore ‘Put on the Lord Jesus Christ’.” (Matthew

Henry’ Commentary, on Gen. 2, 3.)

 

“Having become conscious of their shame Adam and Eve at

once endeavored to hide it by making unto themselves aprons

of fig leaves. This action was highly significant. Instead of

seeking God and openly confessing their guilt, they attempted

to conceal it both from Him and from themselves…Church

going, religious exercise, attention to ordinances, philanthropy

 

and altruism are the fig leaves which many today are weaving

into aprons to cover their spiritual shame.” (Pink, p.38).

“It was not skin nakedness that they discovered, but the

nakedness of their dead souls…They became aware of their

condition and they sought to cover themselves as quickly as

possible…Fig leaves were a substitute for righteousness.”

(Donald Grey Barnhouse, Genesis, a Devotional Commentary, p.19,

 

20)

 

“They sew together for themselves girdles of leaves. For

what end? That they may keep God at a distance, as by an

invincible barrier…with a covering so light they attempted to

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hide themselves from the presence of God.” (Calvin’s

Commentaries, Vol. 1, Genesis, p.158, 159)

“What is involved here? It is not a matter of physical sight.

Adam and Eve were not blind before the fall. Adam’s eyes were

not opened physically for the first time so that he saw Eve’s

nakedness now, though not before, and became aware of his

own nakedness also. What is involved, is spiritual nakedness, that

 

is, nakedness before the eyes of that Holy God against whom

they had sinned. It was their sinful state they were aware of,

which their nakedness symbolized.” (James M. Boice, Genesis, An

Expositional Commentary, p.118)

 

“The reason why we do not like staring is that we associate

staring with prying, and are ashamed to have anyone pry into

what we actually are like. So we hide ourselves. We wear

masks, pretending to be what we think other people will respect

and admire. In a psychologically related manner, we project

these false images but reveal our true psychological and

 

spiritual nakedness through the choice and use of clothes. So

did Adam and Eve. They made fig-leaf clothes. And when they

heard God coming toward them in the garden, they hid,

knowing that their clothes were inadequate to disguise their true

selves.” (James M. Boice, Genesis, An Expositional Commentary,

p.119)

 

The compulsion to clothe themselves is not necessarily anything

more deeply significant than the normal(?) human reaction of

humans, even today, who are embarrassed when attention is

drawn to them. They may giggle, hide their face, blush, etc. The fall

brought self-consciousness, and with that came awareness of things

about self that had not previously been significant. Specifically,

 

their self-awareness was infused with the knowledge that they had

violated their Creators’ law and were condemned. As they looked

at each other and themselves in this new light, mutual sinconsciousness

produced compulsion to hide from each other and

 

from God. Their nakedness was the physical symbol of their

spiritual vulnerability and their attempt at clothing was an attempt

to insulate themselves from the knowing of, and being known by

others, especially by God. The need to clothe ourselves is not

spiritual, but psychological. Clothing helps us feel more comfortable,

 

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more secure, more adequate, less vulnerable around others.

Clothing, even today, has more to do with the mind than with the

body. Clothing is largely a means of hiding our real self from

others. It projects an image that is not true to reality. Amazingly,

 

people’s self image changes dramatically simply by changing

clothes! In Adam’s and Eve’s case their intense guilt and fear

produced their compulsion to hide from each other and from God.

 

Their clothes could not suffice, and when God came calling they

tried to hide behind the trees. Their “clothing themselves with fig

leaves” no more sets a precedent for humans to wear clothes than

does their hiding amongst the trees.

 

Hiding is the instinctive reaction to guilt, whether it takes the

form of putting on clothes or covering one’s face, or a host of other

devices. Adam and Eve clothing their physical nakedness is no

more to be received by all humanity as the “norm for fallen

 

creatures,” than if they had made masks for their faces. After the

fall, their physical nakedness was no more shameful and sinful

than it was before the fall. They were ashamed because they knew

they were defenseless and exposed to each other and to God, and

 

any device to cover themselves in a crisis was brought into being.

Nothing about the fall made physical nakedness inherently

shameful or sinful. Nothing in man’s mind today can make nudity

inherently sinful or shameful. If nakedness between Adam and Eve

 

was God’s original plan, their rebellion did not change God’s

goodness into sinfulness. Their choice of physical clothes to hide

spiritual guilt cannot be made a moral norm for all society for all

time. Doubtless, people will always choose to wear clothes in order

 

to insulate themselves from the gaze of others. But the choice to do

so is not a moral choice, but is rather a psychological choice. There is

nothing inherently sinful in looking at another person’s naked body.

(The case of a man “looking upon a woman to lust after her…” in Matt.

 

5:28, is discussed in detail later.) Public nudity is not inherently

sinful now any more than it was in Eden. The question of whether

it is socially acceptable is a different issue. As in many other specific

cases public nudity becomes questionable or sinful only to the

 

degree that it violates personal conscience, causes another person to

violate their conscience, or is done in a way that violates civil

statutes. Nudity can be practiced without sin if one takes steps to

not offend others.

 

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As with everything else, the redemption purchased by Jesus

Christ, affects all creation. It affects the issue and practice of human

nakedness just as it does all other aspects of man’s nature. Fully

redeemed men and women are no longer under bondage to the

curse put upon their lives because of sin. Just as redeemed people

 

may expect to be rid of the curse of sickness, demonization,

poverty, etc, and from misinformed legalism, so may they expect to

be redeemed from the “curse of clothing.” Men and women who

are redeemed of sin and guilt no longer have any reason to hide

from others. The whole Biblical logic for wearing clothes is

 

eliminated for those whose sin and guilt have been removed by the

blood of Jesus. We straightforwardly declare that nakedness and

sexuality are not incompatible with holiness. Men’s and women’s

spiritual character is not defined by their physical appearance,

clothed or unclothed. Godliness is not a factor of how much

clothing one wears. People are neither holy nor unholy on the basis

 

that they either do or do not wear clothes.

In his book “The Great Divorce,” C. S. Lewis paints an

intriguing, imaginary picture of Heaven, in which he describes all

Heaven’s inhabitants as naked. This must surely be a correct

concept, for if the original state of man was unclothed, and this was

God’s best effort, then full redemption must bring us back to that

original “very good” state.

 

The question we must now ask is, “What are the demands upon

redeemed ones, relative to nakedness?” Part of the answer comes

from those Scriptures that require us to do nothing that will harm

the conscience of another person. Like eating meat sacrificed to

 

idols, the thing itself is innocent and can be indulged in by an

informed saint. But to do so in a way that hinders the faith of an

uninformed saint is forbidden. To think of a “saint” walking naked

in the outdoors seems incongruous to many. Yet we have no

problem thinking of Adam and Eve doing so. There is nothing

 

inherently sinful about a redeemed sinner being naked, indoors or

outdoors. What makes it sinful is the purpose of the nakedness, and

it’s effect upon others. Thus:

If the purpose of nakedness is to entice into sexual sin (like

the adulterous harlots in above referenced Scriptures), then

nakedness is sin.

 

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If the purpose is to “rub people’s nose in it” by flaunting

nakedness in the face of society where it is unacceptable, then it

is sin.

 

If the effect upon others is to hinder their conscience and

cause them to sin, nakedness is sin.

But: if the purpose is to enjoy the normal state of God’s

 

original creation, and to enjoy the exhilaration and freedom of

being in the open air, under the brilliant sun, unhindered and

unhidden by clothing, it is not sin.

And if the effect has no negative bearing on the lives of

others, then it is not sin.

 

The question then arises about how may a Christian enjoy his

original state of nakedness, as part of the blessing of his redeemed

status?

 

Nakedness in one’s home is unquestionably safe. Even though

some saints, because of personal hang-ups due to ill-informed

consciences, would never walk around the house naked in view of

other members of the family, nothing in Scripture makes such

scruples valid. If one’s conscience will simply not allow one to do

so, one must avoid nakedness even in one’s own home. (Rom.

14:23) But how sad this is!

 

Family nudity is innocent as parents and children simply enjoy

the freedom of nudity in their own homes and even outdoors

wherever they can practice it without social repercussions. For a

whole family to be naked in their home, or in their back yard, or in

the woods, or in the desert, carries no sinful implications. For

married children to return to visit in their parent’s home with

grandchildren in tow and for them all to be nude together, is

 

innocent. Nothing Scripture says makes such a thing either sinful

or ill-advised. Family nudity provides a setting where parents can

teach their children by both precept and example that there is

nothing shameful about their naked body. Family nudity is one of

the many ways redeemed, holy people may take advantage of the

 

freedoms bought back for them by Jesus Christ. Family nudity

could only be practiced if all concerned have been taught and know

that it is right and there is no sin. All would have to learn a

different mind set than we presently have. Existing children would

need to be taught as thoroughly as possible, before beginning the

practice. But if children had the advantage of living in an

 

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environment in which all family members are naked and

unashamed they would not only be able to accept their bodies as

something for which they should thank God but they would also be

more likely to discuss sex issues openly and without shame.

Many Christian people with high moral standards, and a

 

devout desire to please God and serve Him faithfully, are

“backyard nudists.” They shed their clothes whenever and

wherever they can do so without offending neighbors. They may

walk the desert naked and lie in a secluded place to soak up the

sun. Women can love Jesus Christ and still enjoy being nude at

home, doing their work or simply relaxing in the nude. And when

 

they desire to go outside they may enjoy the freedom to experience

the sun, air, rain and pool, without the encumbrance of clothes and

without apology to themselves or God. Again we remind the

reader: This is how God intended it. This is normal as God created

normality. No Christian should bear any guilt at the desire to be

“naked and unashamed.” Anywhere and at anytime they can

legitimately do so they should feel absolutely free to do so.

 

One of the opportunities for people, including Christians, to

experience the joy of wholesome nudity, is at a nudist resort. The

stigma that attaches to nudist resorts is unfortunate and without

either moral or logical foundation. Nudist resorts could be safely

visited by saved people because those who visit such camps have

like attitudes toward human nakedness. Their conscience would

not be offended by the participation of a Christian.

 

We quote the following from the preceding chapter on “What

Makes A Thing Sinful?”

 

“When in the company of believers or unbelievers, a saint is

not obligated to try to figure out in advance what they might

think of their behavior. If what they do is inherently innocent,

then saints may do it without concern about the potential

 

reaction of unbelievers. Note especially “Eat anything sold in the

market place without asking questions, for conscience sake, for the

earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (1 Cor. 10: 25, 26).

We might paraphrase this to say “therefore be free to go naked

before unbelievers who are like-minded without asking how they

react to it, for conscience sake, for nakedness is a blessing from the

Lord.”

 

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And note: “If an unbeliever invites you and you wish to go, eat

anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience

sake. But if anyone should say to you, ‘This is meat sacrificed to idols,’

then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you and for

conscience’ sake.” (1 Cor. 10:27,28.

 

Again we might paraphrase this: “If you have opportunity to

practice nudity among unbelievers, feel free to do so, without

asking what their reaction may be. But if one of them says, ‘I don’t

think a Christian should practice nudity,’ then do not do it, for the

sake of the one who questioned you, and for conscience sake.”

To quote again:

 

“We simply cannot possibly try to figure out in advance

what others will think about every action we want to take. God

sets us free to come to our personal conclusions about our

desires and conduct, then freely act on those convictions unless

we know that doing so will bring spiritual harm to another. We

are not required to investigate in advance, what our actions will

do to others. We are simply required to operate with due

respect to those around us, and not intentionally offend them.”

In a nudist resort, for example, the question becomes irrelative.

Being nude among nudists will not offend them. And we do not

have to go around to each one in advance, and ask them if our

nakedness will cause them any offense.

 

Quoting again:

 

“Society’s standards, or the church’s traditions cannot make

a thing sinful, to any degree. If God’s law does not forbid an act,

and one does it without guilt, he is free, regardless of what

others think. If society and the church frowns on an act, a

Christian who knows better may still enjoy that act as long as it

 

is done in enough privacy that others will not be led to offend

their weak consciences. If this is not so, how do we apply these

Scriptures that teach it is okay to eat meat, if we do not harm

another’s conscience by doing so. Paul could and probably did

meat sacrificed to idols, in privacy, even though some of the

Corinthians would have thought him a sinner if they knew he

did it. His liberty is not eliminated by the weak consciences of

others. He must simply control his liberty.”

 

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What does this say about the aforementioned practice of both

family and social nudity? Some believe it is sinful, unclean, etc. to

go around one’s own house without clothes; to undress in front of

even one’s own mate and especially in front of one’s children; for

married people to bathe together; to lay nude under the sun in

one’s private yard, etc. Even more people believe it is utterly

 

reprehensible for nudist resorts to even exist. For them it is

unthinkable that a Christian might visit such a resort. But what sets

the moral standard for this? Certainly Scripture does not make

these things sin. Therefore no other standard can make it sin. A

Christian can enjoy nudity as long as he/she does not knowingly

hinder another’s conscience.

 

Many people, including some Christians, believe it is innocent

to practice nudity even in social settings, for example, in nudist

resorts, where everyone shares the same moral values about that

specific act. The teaching of Scripture for bids us to classify this as

outright sinful simply because God has no law against it. To the

contrary, Scripture allows social nudism for those whose personal

conscience allows it. We know Scripture does not prohibit it. We also

 

know Scripture proves nudity to be God’s preference. That means

nudity can be enjoyed with a clear conscience by those who have no

intention of enticing another person to sin by committing adultery,

and who take care to not offend others by their practice.

Only God’s law can establish anything as sinful. So if God’s law

 

does not forbid nudity, what do we do with this knowledge?

Obviously, truly public nudity cannot be practiced without public

knowledge and society and church traditions would disallow

public practice. But what of the private or highly restricted practice of

such? Since nudity in the private, protected environment of a

nudist resort is not a public issue and attending such a resort

 

would not be a matter of “public nudity,” what is to prevent those

who desire to exercise their freedom to live without clothes, from

either occasionally visiting such resorts, or even from living in one?

To this author’s mind, there is no valid moral restriction against this

practice.

Is it a mark of “civility,” that humanity is clothed? Is public

nakedness “uncivilized?” In the Western world, we condemn as

“uncivilized savages,” cultures (African tribes, etc.) that practice

partial or full nudity. We believe it is our “Christian duty” to

 

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educate and “civilize” such people and teach them to wear clothes.

In doing so we are not actually placing God’s requirement upon

them but are simply imposing our own human standards upon

them. A “televangelist” recently said something like this: “When

little Johnny was 18 months old, and running naked through the

 

house, it was cute and innocent. But when 18 year old Johnny runs

naked down the beach, it is lust.” In spite of the many “amens”

from the crowd, we ask the question: “Is this true because the Bible

says so?” This author does not believe the Bible teaches such a

thing.

 

When Adam and Eve were created, naked and unashamed,

were they “civilized?” To be perfectly “civilized” in God’s original

estimation was to be human and naked and unashamed. To simply

brand as uncivilized and savage those who wear no clothes, is to

impugn God’s original creation and is to correct God. It is no more

uncivilized to practice nudity now than when God made nakedness

to be the normal condition of human existence.

 

On the issue of human nakedness, as with most sexual practices,

we are free to draw conclusions and form opinions for ourselves

and establish our own rules for our personal conduct. But we must

not establish rules for the behavior of others. Only God’s law can

do this. Again the final word is, “where there is no law, there is no

 

sin.” If God did not legislate against human nudity as such then no

amount of human engineering can produce a valid law against it.

And if God did not make a law against nudity what insanity makes

man think he has a better concept of it than God does?

 

Is clothing universally attested? Some think that everybody,

everywhere, wears clothes, and that this fact establishes the

“collective human conscience” that nudity is sinful. But what of the

many tribes still practicing communal nudity, and of past

 

civilizations that did so until “enlightened” by cultural, religious

interference from outside? If not for our meddling and imposition

upon other cultures of our own standards, many tribes that

 

presently wear clothes, would not be doing so. Many tribes still do

not wear clothes (Read National Geographic, watch Public TV and

learn). Public nudity, nude beaches, nude bath houses, etc. are

common in many parts of the world. It is misinformation that

 

causes us to think that, “clothing is the norm all over the world.”

Even in America, many Native American tribes practiced either

 

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partial or total communal nudity before the “white man” came to

“civilize” them.

The existence in so many places of the tendency toward nudity,

is not a testimony to the fallenness of man. It is rather a testimony

of the original condition of man. What was normal and “very good”

for man in his original state, still exists as a desire in his soul. The

inner desire to be naked and unashamed is a longing to get back to

our original perfection. There is nothing dirty, unclean, impure, or

sinful about either the desire or the practice.

 

Women and “Modest Apparel

 

What is the meaning of “women adorn themselves in modest

apparel,” (1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:3)? These verses have nothing at all to

do with how much or little clothing a woman wears. It has to do

specifically with “orderly” clothing. The Greek word is kosmois,

meaning “orderly, in regard to how women appear in public

worship (cf. R.C.H. Lenski’s commentary for example). That Paul is

 

not discussing amount of clothing, but the nature of clothing is

demonstrated by his prohibition of “braided hair, gold, pearls, costly

garments;” and then stating that her clothing is to be “good works,” (1

Tim. 2:10). As Lenski says, the purpose is to avoid “vanity, pride

and other improprieties. Extravagant dress is generally worn for

mere display with the secret desire to produce envy.” Spirituality

and good taste as conducive to worship, is Paul’s point. To press

 

these verses into service to forbid women to wear tight clothing,

shorts, sleeveless dresses, pants, swimsuits, etc. is to abuse

Scripture. The argument that a woman must be careful to dress so

that a man will not look at her with sexual desire, gives women an

impossible task. It makes woman responsible for whether a man

sins or not. By his nature, men will look at the most completely

covered woman and will have sexual thoughts. The argument that

these verses forbid a woman to go to a swimming pool wearing a

swimming suit, is invalid. Interestingly, no such arguments are

made from these or any other Scriptures, that forbids a man from

wearing swimming trunks in public. Do we conclude that God

commands women to be fully clothed in public, but that He does

not so command men? Of course not. The verses do not address

this issue, but rather the issue of women’s penchant for overdoing

dress for the sake of impressing others.

 

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If we take the words of Scripture as literally as some want us to

do, pretending thereby to find a rule by which they can measure

the modesty of women’s clothing, then let us take Peter’s statement

literally. He said “Let not your adornment be external – braiding the

hair, and wearing gold jewelry, and putting on dresses; but the hidden

person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet

spirit, which is precious in the sight of God,” (1 Pet. 3:3,4). Based on this

Holy Spirit inspired statement, and taking it literally, we have

 

“authority” for total nudity because Peter writes very clearly that

women are not to wear either jewelry or dresses! Such a conclusion

is, of course, absurd. But it illustrates the absurdity of trying to take

words out of context in order to prove a case. Peter, as did Paul,

wants women to “adorn” themselves in the “clothing” of holy

character. He does not prescribe dress length, nor define a

“tightness factor,” nor forbid wearing pants or shorts, or halter

tops, or bikinis, or.…

 

On the subject of public swimming pools, One of the ways

people demonstrate their innate desire to be unclothed, is to strip to

the bare minimum in such public places as swimming pools. Both

men and women wear so little at these places that nothing is left to

the imagination. Men’s swimming trunks often are so skimpy and

tight that the outline of their penis is obvious. Women’s suits are

also so skimpy that often their pubic hair is visible, as is the outline

of their vulva and the nipples of their breasts. The material is

usually so thin that a man or woman’s full sexual splendor is not

truly concealed. The popularity of the bikini and its extreme form,

 

the string bikini or thong, carries this trend to the limit. One can see

on public beaches and swimming pools, as much nudity as one can

see in many striptease shows. Is it a sin for a woman to wear a

bikini to a public pool? We no longer believe so. If our society

accepted nudity at our public pools, would it be sinful? We no

longer believe so. Nudity is not condemned in Scripture, and what

condemnation is spoken as related to nudity, is related to its

 

connection with sexual sin (adultery, fornication) or with idol

worship. It appears to us that, this being true, whatever degree of

public nudity is acceptable in a given society, is allowable. People,

including Christians, may feel free to enjoy the freedom of

whatever degree of nudity is allowed in their culture. If this

 

suggestion still sounds outrageous, remember that nudity is God’s

first choice for humans. From God’s perspective clothing is not ideal,

 

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nakedness is ideal. God does not mind seeing people naked. God is

not offended by human nudity any more than He is offended by

animal nakedness. Why would God be more offended by a man’s

unclothed penis than by an ape’s penis? Why would God be more

offended by a woman’s bare breasts than by a cow’s exposed

udder? God intended for earth to be populated with naked men,

 

women and animals. From God’s perspective, going naked in

public is what He originally intended. The invention of clothing did

not come from God, it came from man. And man’s invention of

clothing did not make clothing more preferable than God’s original

pattern of nudity. To be partially unclothed, as with swimming

 

apparel, or to be totally unclothed is not an issue with God. Man

must deal with his own personal attempt to hide himself from God

and others. When he is delivered from this compulsion and wishes

to practice nudity the way it was meant to be, he is free to do so as

long as he considers the effect of his freedom on others who are still

bound by various bondages of false guilt and shame. Nudity is a

human issue, not a God issue.

 

Why would one desire to attend a nudist resort? A related

question is: Why would one desire to go virtually naked at a public

swimming pool? We are talking about a difference of only a few

square inches of cloth. It seems that living without clothes is the

normal desire for mankind and the desire to return to this original

and normal condition exists, at least latently, in the hearts of us all;

 

in some more than others. It is this original condition to which

many desire to return. Since we cannot do so in most cases without

incurring the wrath of others, we must pursue such liberty

carefully. But in situations where there are none to offend, and

 

where nudity may be practiced without repercussions from others,

there is no reason to forego the lawful pleasure of nudity.

Since God did not condemn nakedness as such, even in fallen

man, but condemned only its misuses, then God does not forbid the

practice of nudity in those situations where it can be enjoyed

without harming the conscience of another person.

 

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