This is a Christian naturist blog. So, naturally, we like to take our cues from the Bible, which we interpret as God’s inspired word revealed to us. If it commands us to be clothed, then we would do well to obey this instruction. But is that what it is saying?
Much has been written, by others smarter than me, about Adam and Eve sewing the fig leaves, and God then making animal skins. This shows the coverings were man’s idea. Either that, or the other character in the garden, the serpent. We also believe the serpent was the “who” of “who told you that you were naked?” It was either man’s idea or the serpent’s, and not God’s. God however improved upon the fig leaves and gave them skins out of compassion, that would provide them both warmth and protection for the harsh environment they would meet when expelled from the garden paradise.
That is a quick summary that can be further explored elsewhere. However, for this post, I want to list the things in which the Bible does command us to clothe ourselves. (I got this list from natman55 on a forum in naturist-christians.org.)
- Luke 24:49 (Jesus) “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
- Romans 13:14 “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’”
- 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 “Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
- Galatians 3:26-27 “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
- Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
- 1 Timothy 2:9-10 “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
- 1 Peter 3:3 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”
- 1 Peter 5:5 “And be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
- Revelation 19:8 “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
What is clear from this biblical instruction is that the clothing we are commanded to wear is symbolic, metaphorical, attitudes, decent qualities, good deeds, virtues, and Christ himself. The last reference actually interprets the symbolism of those white robes of fine linen for us as our righteous acts. The symbolism in Revelation is often a cause for confusion to many, but it cannot be mistaken here!
What is absent? Threads. Textiles. Brand names. Fashion. Outfits. Why? It’s not necessary or even desired by God or by man in this state. The pre-fall state will be the post-curse state, as we see in the bookends of Genesis and Revelation. Job 1:21 makes this clear, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.”
Our clothing-compulsive brothers and sisters seem to know this, but can’t get past the fact that in this fallen world, there can be such an experience devoid of lustful thoughts. They think we cannot walk around other people in a socially nude setting without falling into sin. As I, and many others can attest to, you can, and it is good, perhaps even “heavenly.” We have even experienced a kinship that is deeper than in the textile world.
Still, there is a cognitive dissonance here that is hard to shake. Ironically, the same people who have trouble with these ideas (even presented biblically) have no issue with the idea that we will lose our clothes at the end of time. This is not a blog on eschatology or end times theology. I don’t subscribe to the millennial view of a pre-tribulation rapture (what people see as the rapture, I simply see as the second coming). Regardless, the idea that we will one day vanish and our clothes will be left behind is met without any real argument. If we want to experience heaven on earth right now, it’s like we are crazy all of the sudden?
I realize that in a fallen world, things can go wrong because of sin. But things are way wrong because of sin in the textile world! Visit a family-friendly naturist park for one day, and seeing is believing! There is safety because people have changed the way they think about the body and the way they see everyBODY (redeemed minds which we write about often). There is a great respect and dignity that is sorely lacking in the “real” world.
In our lives, we want to dress appropriately for the situation in which we find ourselves. If we are in the “real” world, where people are not of like mind, nor are they mentally able to separate the body from sex, we wear clothes. As the saying goes, “Nude when possible, clothed when practical.” If we are home, we like to get comfy and be “as God intended” as long as it’s not too cold. In a safe setting like a nude beach or family-friendly naturist park, we can be free from the clothes and cultural norms that weigh us down. Are we sinning? I have worshipped and prayed with other nude Christians inside chapels and by hot tubs in such places. I believe in these cases, we aren’t sinning, but rather we are clothed in what the Bible instructs us to “wear.” As one song we like to sing says, “Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”
4 thoughts on “Commanded to Clothe?”
You quoted 1 Pet 3:3 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward-arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” “Merely” is added by this translator which would lend approval to outward adorning. No approval of clothing is in this vers.
Yes, I agree! I copied directly from the forum mentioned and had the same thought when I read it. There are a lot of “squeamish” translation mistakes due to Victorian and puritanical attitudes (as noted by Matthew Neal on the biblical naturist blog). Great comment, Jim!
Thank you for including the list of scriptures referencing what we are to be truly clothed with. It’s was very meaningful to me in my devotional time this morning.