Nudity and the Bible    

Recently within mainstream evangelical Christianity some rather shocking events have come up within a close proximity of each other. One evangelical church’s youth group produced a nude calendar for a fundraiser, another group considered the development of a nudist camp for evangelical Christians, and a Christian minister recently posted his “scriptural reasons” for becoming a nude photographer on the internet.

Twenty years ago I would have never imagined the need to have such writing on this topic. The legalisms of many fundamentalists groups in the past have left many oppressive scars. This has led the Church on a progressive path to become more flexible in the liberality for believers in Christ. On the most part I would have to say this was rightfully done. However, it would now appear that we have let the pendulum swing to the other extreme. It now becomes necessary to address this particular subject to find some kind of balance.
This balance must contain direction from the Word of God as well as godly wisdom behind it. God’s word will always provide both. In our past we found the directive of the law but many times lacked the wisdom and reasons behind the directive. It is this lack of wisdom behind the directives that result in legalism as well as these extreme liberal positions Only when we understand the wisdom behind the directive do we find the strength or even the desire to obey the directive. Wisdom then is the missing element that will give us the needed balance to directives even to those areas that are somewhat vague or general in their interpretation called that “Gray” zone.
I hope the following will provide us with the necessary wisdom about nudity in the Bible.

In The Beginning…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  Our first mention of nudity is in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

                                                     “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not
                                                      ashamed.” Gen 2:25


In this text, the scripture is describing a time before the fall. Now this is important to understand because we cannot quote this and apply it as a permission for our day and time. The only thing we can understand from this text, is that the original intent from our creator in His perfect world was that nudity was natural and uncomplicated. We must understand that we do not live in this natural perfect world anymore. Things changed as a result of the fall. Sin was progressive as well as the attacks of the enemy Satan. We need to understand the spiritual warfare side of a bigger picture to know what can apply to us today.

Our Condition after the Fall: Setting the proper stage for this Age

Aeon is the Greek word used for world and does not mean this planet but rather the present age or system existing on this planet.
This present world system is against the ways of God and under the control of Satan. This evil one is a fallen angel and the rebel leader of fallen angels who are against God, mankind and all of creation.


“ the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” I Jn 5:19 (NIV)
 

Not only has he taken control of this present system and age, he keeps people from understanding the real truths of God’s ways and rules.

“In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them
which believe not,” Cor 4:4

He does this blinding by providing “alternatives” to the truth such as, rationalizations, justifications, compromises and flawed logic. Through these, he creates his own wisdom and ways of doing things called the natural order of things.

All we, as fallen creations have to do, is just grow up in this environment. We are automatically subject to these natural ways of believing and doing.
These alternate ways of thinking and doing become so real because, “everybody else is doing it”

The Fall produced a Flawed Mental and Physical Condition for mankind.

Mental
”the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth;
Gen 8:21

Heart here is speaking about your mind not the organ that pumps blood.
It is your ability to make a free will choice based upon experience and knowledge. What we determine or imagine apart from God’s ways are
just a part of the “natural” ways of this present system.

Our mental and even physical state was altered in a lesser form as a result of the fall of mankind. This combination is called our sin nature.

: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?” Jer 17:9


Physical:
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, ....1 Cor 15:48-50 “... flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Phil 3:21 …There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: … It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1 Cor 15:40,43-44


A historical and cultural observation of caution would confirm this physical weakness of our natural body. In dealing with nudity from our physical nature for the male, would be the testicle. This manufacturing plant for Testosterone produces the sex drives and aggressive behavior in all males. In all cultures at all times, men who were caretakers or guards of harems and palace dorms housing females for various reasons were always neutered to keep them “faithful” to their duties. They were called Eunuchs. This important observation tells us that the beginning point toward a path of unfaithfulness is due to a mental and physical flaw inspired first by the mere sight of nudity.

Biblical Profiles
David, A naked man after Gods own Heart

This weakness both mental and physical is also confirmed by many stories contained in the Bible. Let’s look at one such story, David, a man who is described as, “ seeking after God’s own heart”. This was an honorable thing to be said by God toward any individual. This also tells us that David on the most part was a strong believer in God and a great man of faith. But in spite of such a high acclaim, he fell, because he like many of us today, did not quite grasp this thing of nudity.

I have seen people use the excuse that David danced before the Lord naked.
Because David was the King and anointed of God, was this act actually approved by God? Was this the wisest thing to do on his part. The answer often used as proof of God’s approval is that fact that the Lord did seem to back up David’s action when his accuser Saul’s daughter scolds him for this public act. Included in the scolding was the judgment she determined upon him as if she knew his motives as being vulgar. This dialog clearly describes what was wrong. It was her disrespectful attitude toward not the person or action but the position as a God appointed leader. She was punished not as approval of what David did but for who he was in God’s eyes. She may have seen a potential harm, and may have been right in her concern but she was passing judgment on him and disrespecting his position. It was for that she suffered a loss.
How can I surmise this from the text you might ask. You have to look at the entire recorded life of David to understand this.
Later in David's life a situation came up that shows he probably did not understand the importance of modesty or the enticing act of the sight of nakedness.

“Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he SAW a woman bathing, and the woman was very BEAUITFUL TO BEHOLD. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child." Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David.” 2 Sam 11:2-6


The rest of the story goes on to tell how David motivated by the desire to have Bathsheba, sets up her husband Uriah, to be killed in combat by the enemy.
This lusting began when he first saw her naked. He did not guard his mind and his body fully yielded itself to the path of adultery and murder! And this happened to one who would be considered by all, as above reproach. How much less is anyone of us to be compared to King David?
An interesting side note to this is the fact that if David remained faithful to the Lord, the lineage leading to Jesus Christ was already determined. Had he not interfered in events they would have turned out to his desire in the first place. His sin was not in viewing her nakedness but, “beholding her beauty” or imagining and lusting for what he knew was wrong. Falling in his mind then led to falling in the actual physical act of adultery and murder. Sin has its progression beginning from sight then unguarded thought resulting to the physical act. He then sinned against both God and man.

Naked Prophets in the Bible

There were several mentions of nudity committed by the Prophets. This has been suggested by some as proof of acceptance to nudity in various forms in our society today. Only in the proper context can this be seen as a very foolish attempt to justify the impossible.
The nudity displayed by these various prophets were not to entice anyone into anything sexual or expressing any artistic form of anything. This was in proper context, each and every time, a visual sign of humility and a brokenness before God and man. I am sure the sight was unmistakably one of conviction and remorse. This again cannot be in any manner used for any justification for expressing nudity in today’s society.

Women too!
This weakness of being exposed to a visual form of nudity is not confined to just men. Women have Estrogen flowing in their bodies the female equivalent to a man’s Testosterone. A bit different but this substance makes a woman just as subject to the physical and mental temptations as with the man.
This story begins with sight also.

“And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast
her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. Gen 39:7

Joseph was not even nude but his handsome sight was enough to lead her on a path of deception and lies to get even at Joseph for rejecting her sexual advances. Again sight first was the initial enticement. Joseph unlike David  understood the importance of living a “guarded” life. Joseph was subject to a series of bad mishaps this being one of them. As he found himself with a rather nice looking married woman who appeared to him in a very seductive way, she literally ripped his robe off him. Finding himself alone with a naked married woman now naked himself he ran away from her out of the room. The Bible says to flee from the very appearance of evil and this was one of those incidents. Joseph acted in accordance to the Bible and Fled from the very presence of this temptation.

A Third Dimension to Contend with; Fallen Angels and Demonic Spirits.

As if we didn’t already have many things working against us in the area of nudity, we have another dimension added. There are supernatural magnifications created by supernatural beings called demons. This dimension is not fully understood by many within the church or even those involved in ministry today. The most common misunderstandings today are;
1.What are Fallen Angels and what did they do in Genesis 6?
2.How are Fallen Angels different from Demons?
3.How do they influence our lives today?
These three questions are directly involved with our topic of nudity and the Bible as we shall now see.

Angels fall first by sight

Angels who are of a much higher order than fallen man were also subject to the same temptations. Their knowledge and wisdom was from the eternal perspective. They have seen it all and understand much more than mankind, which makes them without excuse. From this more complete perspective, even Angels made the same mistake as mortal man and it started by sight.

We see this in Genesis 6:1-4
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God SAW the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Gen 6:1-4 (KJV)

For the sake of continuity, I will assume that you the reader, are already familiar with the Genesis 6 scenario and that the “sons of God” are fallen angels. If you are not, I would suggest reading Churk Missler’s book “Alien Encounters” or if you can find it, “The Omega Conspiracy” by IDE Thomas.
These two books cover the fallen angels their offspring and demons with their difference in regards to this Genesis 6 context completely.
Now these “sons of God” were fallen angels but they made a decision to crossover into flesh and blood so they could experience sexual relationships with human women. Satan had a greater plan behind this but for our purpose here, we need to understand that the initial act was started and motivated first by sight. Now the text here does not say that the women were nude but one can surmise that Angels having the ability to see everything at any time, could have chosen when to view the women and probably like David, when they were nude while bathing. Regardless, the main thought important to us is that by a visual experience in what ever state, they lusted after what they viewed and acted upon their desires breaking God’s laws.
What does that tell us about our own human frail condition. We are much less than the angels with a very limited understanding of things in our linear mortal existence. If Angels can be compelled by sight, how much more can humans be subject to the same temptations.
Another aspect of this story relevant to us today is the particular judgment these sons of God and their offspring received. It is their judgment and their present condition that we must understand, in order know just who and what we are dealing with as an additional dimension to our problem of nudity within our society today.

Fallen Angels and their offspring become “ghosts” or Demons
Disembodied spirits


"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
2 Peter 2:4

"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jude 6

It is important to realize just exactly what the punishment was that was placed upon the angels that sinned and their offspring. It is in this understanding of the sentence imposed that we discover the disembodied spirits that play havoc on earth today. On the surface from both scriptures one would imagine prisoners chained in heavy iron shackles to a wall in some dark pit forever! I must admit this was my personal image until I looked at all the words in the original Greek.
The term "chains of darkness" is referring possibly to much more than what first appears. Zophos for “darkness” means “a dark shroud (a wrap around enclosure) like a cloud”. Strong’s includes the idea of a "ghost". Jude uses the word Desmond for “chains”. This includes a figurative meaning, (aside from a meaning of a binding of any type) as “an impediment or disability”. In Mark 7:35 this same word is used as string: "the string of his tongue was loosed" Desmond was the word used here to describe the impediment or "string" that was loosed to heal the dumb man who could not speak. Jude also uses the word Hupo, for “under”. This addition reinforces this idea of an impediment; so the meaning is, as an inferior position or condition. Peter uses the word Seria for chains. This difference in words is another example of the layered and amazing harmony of the scriptures. This word further defines these chains in function. This overlap of the same event gives us a whole picture of one event. Seria as developed from its root and derivatives Suro and Airo can convey the idea of a preference or choice to be trailed or dragged down and to be taken up or away. This going up and down is described in the gospel of Luke .
 

"Jesus asked him saying, What is thy name? And he said Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go down into the deep." Luke 8:29
 

Many times the deep, depth, waters, sea and pit are all describing a subterranean portion of sheol or hell. In this text the word "abussos" for “depth” means “bottomless depth”. The implication here is that this is where they were supposed to go, into the bottomless pit. In this sense, these spirits are in a continual "chain" or cycle of going up and down from the pit. Through various occult practices they are loosed to roam the surface of the earth as a ghost or invisible demon spirit, then occasionally being cast back to the pit under the authority of the name Jesus only to ascend and roam again.
In adding all this up so far; we have the angels that sinned, and their offspring that are given over to be reserved for fulfilling prophecy, which is another story not related to our topic here. While in this holding pattern, they are put into a lesser form, as a dark shroud like cloud - a ghost. This chain is also a cycle of going up and down from the pit. (Tartaros, the lowest level of Hades) to the surface world. Humans who entertain occult activities, which is the alternative to anything from God, sets them loose upon the earth. Once set loose, they roam to magnify the lusts and desires of mankind. Their ultimate goal is to occupy the souls of men to vicariously experience the pleasures they can no longer experience in this limited disembodied form. We call this possession which for many is more of a trespassing. This is where nudity can take us today. We have hordes of disembodied spirits who would love nothing more than to occupy humans to an uncontrollable frenzy of sexual activity. This is why pornography especially on the Internet is the number one problem plaguing everyone, even creeping right into the ministry. It is why we seem as a society to be preoccupied with comedy filled with sexual innuendoes. Most movies have to include a brief nude scene. STD’s are at a plague level with Aids being the most feared killer. Children breading children with an overwhelming amount of abortions. With all of this working against us in our society why would members of the Church want to play around the edges of safety and soundness, justifying something so dangerous.

So where does that leave us?

Society is already judged.
While everyone is hunkered down waiting for the judgments from God as a nation or despondent church, I say we already have our judgment. The judgment is the lack of discernment to no longer know right from wrong. We brought this upon ourselves by our own ignorance, lack of wisdom and plain disobedience.

The way out.
The Pendulum of nudity has swung to both extremes within the Church today.
In our legalistic past we have tried the touch not, taste not, letter of the Law without the wisdom of why something is right or wrong. This approach has scarred many individuals as we add our prejudiced cultural ideas into the mix that are not necessarily scriptural or compassionate to the individuals. This lack of wisdom has always been the demise of mankind. Recently our more “enlightened” liberality has swung or rather is swinging in the opposite direction with catastrophic results. Our balance is in Biblical wisdom. Our way out is to apply this in our lives today with the Spirit and the Word in agreement. Applied wisdom is the missing element of power to give us the desire to be free from danger with out feeling restricted or condemned.

We are told to walk circumspectly.
Circumspectly in Ephesians 5:15 is to live accurately with determination. It also includes the mental attitude of considering our actions and decisions weighing the possible consequences from all angles. The end results must line up in agreement with the Spirit and the Word. Will your actions draw people closer to Christ? Is this something you would do if Jesus were with you? Will you be an influence to others or will you be influenced?
Lot thought he would let his light shine before the peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah. As a closet believer he fell away being influenced rather than influencing others. His mistake was not living a guarded life or drawing a line in the sand.
My own personal experience as a Pastor of a Biker ministry called to witness to a culture who’s life style was not too far from the people of Sodom or Gomorrah has defined a good balance by this guide. There were times we were in bars or at rallies where many things could become a compromising situation. The difference was our boldness to draw a line in the sand. We made it very clear where we stood or rather who we stood for. On the backs of our leather vests, we had in big bold red letters Jesus Christ Lord and God. Along with this was a white cross. We called it our statement. We did not get pounded or laughed at. We were never shunned or any of the lies the enemy would tell you to “tone it down”. Our balance was in being “prayed up” and determined not to compromise ourselves. If there was any nudity going on we would physically turn away and continue our conversations. We continued to drink sodas not beer. Our line in the sand was our determination to go wherever we could to be an influence without being influenced. The fruitful result? Hundreds of people came to know Jesus
And lived a new life in Him.

Modesty

…women adorn themselves in modest apparel, 1 Timothy 2:9


Modesty in the minds of many means prudish. This is the view and impression left by the legalism of the past. It actually means whatever is appropriate to the situation. All of our situations I hope I have clearly shown are in a fallen world with a hindered mind and body with entities that would magnify and intensify sexual acts through a beginning point of sight. The human body is not inherently evil. But in this fallen world it must be guarded. The exchange of nudity is to be enjoyed as the most private experience by a man and a woman in matrimony. Heb 13:4 Just as you would not share or publicize your most intimate thoughts to everyone, you should also have this same guarded mindset for your body. Public nudity in this fallen world is always inappropriate. With so much working against us on this level I hope I have supplied you with enough Biblical wisdom to see this. Modesty is a respect for your self, your fellow man or woman and for God. It is a disciplined exercise of wisdom knowing our enemy and our own weaknesses and the raging battle of existing in this fallen world. Draw your own line in the sand against the “normal” and “natural things” of this world of deceptions, illusions….and alternatives.