tagReviews & EssaysChristian Nudity

Christian Nudity

byCal Y. Pygia©

The thought that God could sanction nudism is shocking to many, although, were they to read their Bibles, they'd understand that the deity is very much in favor of nakedness. Since the nature of God is unchanging, it must be assumed that He'll maintain as favorable an attitude concerning men's and women's strutting their stuff tomorrow as he did in times past and does at present.

Since this is likely to be a rather startling claim for many, readers, especially Christian ones--and, yes, make no mistake, many readers of erotica are Christians--they'll quite rightly insist upon documentation before they believe a word of it. Fortunately, the Bible itself supplies ample evidence to support the assertion that God sanctions nudity.

God Himself created human beings. On the "sixth day," He created them naked, and he found them, like all other things He made, to be "very good": "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31). Since Adam and Eve were created naked, it seems apparent that God also found their nakedness to be "good." When He walked and talked with them in the Garden of Eden, neither He nor they seemed to find their nakedness a matter of shame or embarrassment: "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25).

It was only after the first couple disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they considered their nakedness to be shameful and fashioned themselves "raiment" from the leaves of plants (fortunately, not of poison ivy): "Then the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves" (Genesis 3:7).

Apparently, their perception was affected by their disobedience, for God's own view of nudity didn't change. After all, His eyes were already "open," and He already knew the difference between good and evil. After all, hadn't he described His creation, which included the naked first couple, as "good"?

Even before God commanded Isaiah to appear naked in public, one of God's prophets, Saul, decided to do so on his own: "And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?" (1 Samuel 19:24 -25). Although Saul seems to have taken upon himself to strip, God doesn't appear to have been offended by his spokesman's full Monty.

King David, "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22) , dances nearly naked before the "handmaids" of his court, and when Saul's daughter Michal objects, David replies, in effect, that she hasn't seen anything yet, for he will dance nude whenever the spirit, so to speak, moves him to do so: "And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. . . . Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor" (2 Samuel 6:14-6:22).

Nevertheless, God, in His omniscience, also understood that at least some human beings now considered nudity to be somehow shameful, and He could use their feelings to His advantage, as He did when he commanded the prophet Isaiah to doff his clothing and go around naked for three years: "And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt" (Isaiah 20: 3-4).

Biblical prophets seem especially inclined to nudism. Besides Saul and Isaiah, Micah also had a penchant for appearing in public sans clothing: "Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls" (Micah 1:8).

Even one of Jesus' disciples, the apostle Peter, appeared naked. Peter enjoyed fishing while nude, although, when he heard that Jesus was approaching, he did have the decency to toss on an overcoat: "Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea" (John 21:7). Perhaps Peter's sudden modesty was unnecessary, for, Bartimaeus, a beggar, cast off his garments before approaching Jesus (Mark 10: 46-50), and Jesus neither chastised nor condemned Bartimaeus's behavior.

The Adamites were a Christian sect whose members followed the examples in the Bible of appearing, and even worshiping, naked, claiming to have recovered Adam and Eve's original state of innocence. According to a Wikipedia article concerning them, "they practiced 'holy nudism,' rejected the form of marriage as foreign to Eden, saying it would never have existed but for sin, lived in absolute lawlessness, holding that, whatever they did, their actions could be neither good nor bad and stripped themselves naked while engaged in common worship."

Centuries later, during the Middle Ages, the cult reappeared in Europe, having gone out of business after a brief existence during the second century A. D.: "During the Middle Ages the doctrines of this obscure sect, which did not itself exist long, were revived: in the thirteenth century in the Netherlands by the Brethren and Sisters of the Free Spirit and the Taborites in Bohemia, and, in a grosser form, in the fourteenth by the Beghards in Germany. Everywhere they met with firm opposition from the mainstream churches. The Beghards became the Picards of Bohemia, who took possession of an island in the river Nezarka, and lived communally, practicing social and religious nudity, free love and rejecting marriage and individual ownership of property."

One can only imagine what these policies meant for recruitment, and it may have been because "holy nudism" put other churches at a disadvantage when it came to bringing in the sheaves and fleecing the flock that "mainstream churches" objected to their practices and governments "suppressed" their activities: "Jan Žižka, the Hussite leader, nearly exterminated the sect in 1421," and, after "a brief revival of these doctrines took place in Bohemia after 1781, owing to the edict of toleration issued by Emperor Joseph II," Austria "suppressed the last remnants of the Neo-Adamites in Bohemia by force in 1849" (Wikipedia).

According to John F. MacArthur's Charismatic Chaos, the Shakers also worshiped naked.

Various modern Christian denominations still make nudism a regular part of their lives and worship, often citing the same scriptures as are identified in this article.

The conclusion of the matter seems to be that God has no problem with people being naked as long as they don't lust after one another.

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