Longing for Eden

This is a repost from our good friend, Matthew Neal at The Biblical Naturist blog. Used with permission.

God made us for Eden.

If we want to know God’s desire and intention for the human race, the truth is to be found in our creation. And that’s found in Genesis 1-2. In those chapters, we find that the first man and woman placed by God in a Garden Paradise called Eden.

Paradise lasts, it turns out, for only two chapters… but there is much to learn there before sin tainted creation. Eden is what God made us for. And that explains the longings that we have to “return” there.

Relationships

Among the other perfect elements of life in Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect relationships. God Himself exists in the eternal and perfect communion of the Trinity, and our capacity for relationship is one of the ways that we bear His likeness.Therefore, I am focusing our attention on relationships in this post.

There were three essential relationships which the first human beings experienced in Eden. All three were part of God’s intention and design; all three were in evidence before the Fall, and all three were damaged by the Fall.

The three relationships were:

  • Their relationship with God.
  • Their relationship with their spouse.
  • Their relationship with themselves.

By God’s design, all three of these relationships were perfect because they were exactly as God intended them to be.

  • Relationship with God: They were created in God’s image and likeness, and they obeyed Him as their Lord. (Genesis 1:26-272:16)

As God’s crowning creation, the man and the woman were especially honored to be made in His image, and they alone were given the opportunity to obey or disobey God. They alone were expected to live with God in perpetual volitional obedience. While they did so, their relationship with Him was perfect and unhindered.

  • Relationship with Their Spouse: They experienced true “one-flesh” union with each other. (Genesis 2:24)

Just as each person of the Godhead exists in perfect union and relationship with the other persons of the Godhead, so the man and the woman were designed by God to live in perfect union with one another. Before the Fall, this relationship was mutually giving, loving, and unselfish.

  • Relationship with Themselves: They knew no shame. (Genesis 2:25)

Both Adam and Eve were completely at peace with who they were. There was no need to hide either physically (they were naked) or emotionally (without shame). They were exactly as God made them and intended them to be, and it was enough. There was no sense of any kind that they needed to be more, less, or different than what and who they were. Shame is not and never was God’s desire for His highest creation. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were each in perfect relationship with themselves for they were utterly without shame.

Damaged by the Fall

All three relationships listed above were severely damaged by the sin of Adam and Eve. This damage was evident in the actions of Adam and Eve immediately thereafter.

  • Relationship with God: When God approached them, Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of God. (Genesis 3:8-9)

Adam and Eve no longer felt free to be in God’s presence; instead, they felt fear. Furthermore, their understanding of God was skewed so that they were now deluded into believing or hoping that if they hid among the trees, He would not know where they were.

  • Relationship with Their Spouse: Love and trust were lost. (Genesis 2:12-13)

Adam and Eve were no longer unified. When tempted, Eve chose not to believe what her husband had told her and follow his guidance for her. Eve was then party to Adam’s Fall. When confronted about his own sin, Adam chose to blame rather than to fulfill his own responsibility as husband to love and protect his wife.

  • Relationship with Themselves: They were ashamed of their bodies. (Genesis 3:7)

Adam and Eve no longer accepted how God had made them. They now considered parts of their own bodies to be less than good, and they felt exposed and vulnerable. In their effort to hide their own sense of inadequacy, they sought protection from external coverings.

The Longing Remains

  • Man still longs for the peace with God that he was made for.

Adam’s perfect relationship with God was damaged, but deep in his soul, there was still a yearning to know and walk in peace with his Creator. The fact that perfection was lost does not change the fact that we were made for that relationship. God also desires that we walk with Him. That is why He sent Christ Jesus to take away our sin and restore us to our relationship with the Father.

This side of heaven, we will never know a perfect relationship with the Father like Adam did before the Fall, but we still long for it, and we are called to pursue an ever deepening relationship with Him here and now.

  • Man and Wife still long to be united in perfect love with one another.

A man still longs to have the be fully one in body and soul with his wife, and a woman still longs to give herself fully to a man who will love, cherish, and protect her. Neither will see complete fulfillment of that desire in the fallen state, but they can and should pursue the ideal.

We can experience tastes of that unity when we love with God’s love and give ourselves as fully as we are able to our spouses. Even in our fallen state, there is no more fulfilling human relationship that we can experience than the one between husband and wife when each fully gives themselves in unselfish love.

  • We all have a deep longing to be completely and transparently accepted exactly as we are.

So much of our lives we spend seeking approval and/or affirmation. We are constantly aware of our own inadequacies and failures. Hiding or covering our imperfections are perpetual motivations. We want to feel good about ourselves, and we want others to accept us as well.

Children – and adults – are most free and “alive” when they know for sure that they are truly “ok” exactly as they are. They shy away from contexts where they are judged, and they blossom and shine in a context of complete acceptance. This kind of acceptance is what we were made for. Indeed, the Bible calls it, “naked and unashamed.”

The Rub…

Notice that I didn’t say that we should pursue “naked and unashamed.” Everyone knows that since we’re fallen, there’s no way we can ever get any taste of “naked and unashamed” in this life, right?

    Says who?

We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall unity with our Heavenly Father in our fallen state… but that sure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue an ever deepening relationship with Him.

We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall unity with our spouses in our fallen state… but that sure doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make any effort to give ourselves fully to the one God has given to us.

We will never experience the fullness of pre-fall innocence and purity in our fallen state… but that sure doesn’t mean that we should never even attempt to live “naked and unashamed.”

Can anyone show me in the Bible where God has forbidden such a pursuit?

God’s pre-fall ideals for humanity are His post-fall ideals for humanity. God never changed His mind about them. He understands that we are dust and that we are fallen; He knows that we won’t fully attain the ideals until after we are fully and ultimately redeemed, but He still wants us to pursue His ideals here and now. His grace is greater than our inability to get all the way there, so we have absolutely no reason to hold back.

Roadblocks to Eden

We were created for Eden. If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we still long for it on all counts, even though we have built and maintain false roadblocks to getting there:

  • We tell ourselves that if we really draw close to God, we will have to lose or give up something. We trade what is to be found in God for what little comfort we can find in the pursuit of our own ways.
  • We tell ourselves that if we really open up to another person, we will get hurt by them. We embrace the predictability of emotional and/or physical isolation to protect against the threat of pain.
  • We tell ourselves that if we really attempt to be naked, we will only know shame. We choose the safety of hiding behind clothing in a vain attempt to thwart shame.

In all cases, the tradeoff is tragically misguided. All we really do is promote the false notion that our fallen state is unredeemable. We accept being less than truly human. We miss out on what God made us for.

Most everyone will rightly tell us to lay aside the first two roadblocks, but precious few will ever encourage anyone to lay aside the third. Most, it seems, will vehemently forbid any attempt to “return to Eden”… but on that point only! There is no logical or biblical defense for that distinction. To be consistent, we must either forbid all three pursuits, or encourage all three.

Welcome to Eden!

I invite you to Eden!

Yes, God blocked the entrance to the physical Garden Paradise in Genesis 3:22-24, but His clearly stated purpose for doing so was so that the man and woman would not partake of the Tree of Life and live forever physically! It was not a declaration that their longings for the relationships of Eden could not be pursued!

Instead, God gave the promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15 the “seed of the woman”), and that Savior became the One by whom we could once again live forever! Even that human desire is still ultimately God’s will for us… just not in our unredeemed state!

Lay aside the roadblocks. All of them.

  • Give up anything that keeps you from pursuing your relationship with God.
  • Give up emotional and physical isolation from your spouse and others.
  • Give up your confidence in clothing and shed your shame.

Welcome to the freedom of being completely human… the way God meant for you to be.

Matthew Neal


Read the original post and other great content at The Biblical Naturist blog.

Naturism and Christianity

By Wayne Jayes, Chairman of KZNNA

Editor’s note: This great article is a repost used with permission. See the original post by clicking here.

Introduction

My two main passions in life are my Christian faith (done in the Anglican way) and Naturism; and I love to find the spaces and places where those two things intersect. Most people would think that Naturism and Christianity are polar opposites, but they are not; they intersect more often than most people including both naturists and Christians would expect.

Christianity and bodies

Many people think that Christianity is a mainly spiritual way of living. I don’t think it is. Of all the religions that I know of Christianity is the most grounded and body centred religion. Christianity starts (as does Judaism and Islam) in the Garden of Eden with a naked man and a naked woman. Christianity develops radically differently from the other two Abrahamic religions, because if we skip some thousands of years ahead we have the New Adam, Jesus coming naked into the world in a human body just like everyone of us. Theologians call this the Incarnation, God becomes flesh. An early Christian school of thought felt that God could not possibly be contaminated by becoming flesh, their belief was that the physical world was evil and the spiritual world was good. They believed in a dualistic world. Early on this doctrine was rejected by the fathers of the Christian religion, they held that God created the world as one, both physical and spiritual and it was all good, after all, God said it was. To this day orthodox Christian doctrine is that God’s creation including us humans and our bodies are very good.

Christianity and nudity

Some things to think about: In chapter 3 of the book of Genesis, at the start of the Bible shortly after God had created Adam and Eve we are told that God was walking about the Garden at the time of the evening breeze. What do you think God was wearing, while he was enjoying the evening breeze on his skin? It seems inconceivable to me that He was anything but naked. And the angel who drove Adam and Eve from the Garden? What was he wearing?

The Expulsion from Paradise by Benvenuto di Giovanni  (1436–1518) in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Worship

There are some strands of Christianity which hold that what one believes is the most important thing, for many Christianity is all about what is going on in your head. For me Christianity is primarily about worshipping God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and the only thing which we can use to worship God are our bodies. We use our bodily senses, and we use the postures and gestures of our bodies as well as our voices to worship God.

With our five bodily organs and senses (eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to taste, and hands to feel) we experience the transcendent and immanent nature of God. We look at stained glass windows, the beautiful vestments which the clergy are wearing, the rich silverware and crystal glass used for celebrating the holy communion. We hear the organ and the choir singing and chanting, we smell the incense wafting up the nave aisle and around the altar, we taste the body and blood of Christ in the communion, and we use our fingers to feel the texture of the Bible, prayer book and hymnal in our hands.

We use our bodies while worshiping; we stand to sing the hymns, kneel to pray, sit to listen to the lessons from Scripture. We make the sign of the cross over our heads and hearts at the mention of the Trinity, we bow our heads on hearing Jesus’ name, and genuflect at the altar.

The Naked Jesus

Next let’s consider the four pivotal moments in the earthly ministry of Jesus,

  1. Jesus’ birth
  2. Jesus’ baptism
  3. Jesus’ crucifixion and
  4. Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus’ birth

As mentioned above, like each one of us, Jesus came into this world naked. This is so obvious it barely needs stating, but it is an important theological fact. Jesus was a naked body at the very start of his life, just like us.

Jesus’ baptism

At first when we think of it, that Jesus was naked at his baptism seems surprising. A very early Christian text called the Apostolic Tradition, presumed to have been written by Hippolytus of Rome some time before 235AD, gives instructions on many aspects of Christian life and ritual including baptism in Chapter 21.

21. ¹At cockcrow prayer shall be made over the water. ²The stream shall flow through the baptismal tank or pour into it from above when there is no scarcity of water; but if there is a scarcity, whether constant or sudden, then use whatever water you can find.

³They shall remove their clothing. ⁴And first baptize the little ones; if they can speak for themselves, they shall do so; if not, their parents or other relatives shall speak for them. ⁵Then baptize the men, and last of all the women; they must first loosen their hair and put aside any gold or silver ornaments that they were wearing: let no one take any alien thing down to the water with them.

So a very early Christian explains how early baptisms were done and it is very clear that they were to be done naked, and being an early apostolic source means they were following the custom passed down from Jesus.

Many artworks portray Jesus being baptized naked, for example the centre piece in the dome of the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy.

The centre piece in the dome of the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna, Italy

Another is from the monastery at Daphni, near Athens, Greece.

Monastery at Daphni, near Athens, Greece

Other artwork depicts naked baptisms, for example, The Appearance of Christ to the People by Alexander Ivanov (1806–1858), in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

The Baptism of Christ, by Cornelis van Haarlem in the State Art Gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The Baptism of Christ, by Cornelis van Haarlem in the State Art Gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany

The Baptism of Christ by Maarten van Heemskerck  in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

The Baptism of Christ by Maarten van Heemskerck  in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Jesus’ Cruxifixion

That Jesus was naked at his crucifixion is not controversial, the Bible says as much, Matthew 27:27 -35 details how the Roman soldiers stripped Jesus of his clothes and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. And much the same account is given in Mark 15:24, and Luke 23:34. In John 19:23 the soldiers take his clothes (in Greek his ἱμάτια) and then removed his tunic (χιτών in Greek, which was the garment worn next to the skin). There can be no doubt that Jesus was left naked at this point.

Art also points to this truth: Michaelangelo’s Crucifixion in the Convent of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, Florence, Italy, make the point very beautifully.

Michaelangelo’s Crucifixion in the Convent of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito, Florence, Italy

Jesus’ resurrection

The idea that Jesus was naked at his resurrection is more controversial. But if one takes the words of the bible at their face value it seems that Jesus would have walked out of the tomb naked, after all the grave clothes he was buried in were folded and left in the tomb. 

It becomes more obvious that he was naked when we look at the Fourth Gospel account of the resurrection (John 20:15) Mary Magdalene saw Jesus outside the tomb but did not recognize him and thought him to be the gardener. Why did she think he was the gardener? Various authors have suggested that because clothes were expensive people doing outdoor work worked naked so as not to ruin their clothes. We know that Peter worked as a fisherman on his boat naked (John 21:7). Another more convincing reason that Jesus was seen as a naked gardener is because Jesus is the New Adam (see Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23). And of course Adam was the first naked inhabitant of the Garden of Eden.

The Resurrection of Christ by Peter Paul Rubens in the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium.

The Resurrection of Christ by Peter Paul Rubens in the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium.

Our Resurrection

The Apostles’ Creed, one of the foundational and universal creeds of Christianity states: “I believe in … the resurrection of the body” Some people think that the body in whose resurrection we believe in is Jesus’ body. But this not the full truth, the body being referred to in the Apostles’ creed is our own body. See for example the words of the Catechism in the Anglican Prayer Book 1989:

What do we mean by the resurrection of the body? We mean that God will raise us from death in the fulness of our being, that we may live with Christ in the communion of the saints.

As for me, I believe that some time after my death, at the time of the General Resurrection, my body will receive new life and my naked body of meat and bones, flesh and blood will be resurrected “in the fulness of my being” in some mysterious way which I don’t pretend to fully understand.

Naked we come into the world and naked we will leave this world (Job 1:21, 1 Timothy 6:7) and naked we will be resurrected into the new world with the New Adam.

What about naturism?

The official definition of naturism is:

a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment

The two great commandments of religion, reiterated by Jesus are:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

Some parallels can be drawn between these two ideas: I take a panentheistic view of God, that is to say God is in everything, (as opposed to pantheistic view, which is the idea that everything is God), So loving God and loving (or being in harmony with) nature are similar ideas. Naturism asks us respect others, Jesus demands we love our neighbours. Naturism expect that we respect ourselves; Jesus makes the assumption that we love ourselves enough already. And while self-regard is built into us, we do know that many people have great trouble with self esteem and body shame, so in this case I do think that naturism has something to add.

Classic naturism as developed by the early fathers of Naturism (the Durville brothers, Adolf Koch, Hans Suren, Dr. Heinrich Pudor and Richard Ungewitter to name a few) emphasised physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh-air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributing to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view. These ideas align closely with the Christian ideals of spiritual, physical and mental and social health, engendered by faith, prayer, and worship.

 Naked worship

Worshipping God, while being naked is a truly wonderful and awesome experience, meaning an experience in which one feels real wonder and awe at both God’s creation around you and the transcendent nature of a loving God, who is completely other, sacred and holy: One feels completely in this world but not of this world. On our KZN Naturist Association weekends away I lead a service of Morning Prayer on the Sunday morning of the weekend, usually in a beautiful natural spot, next to a stream or under some trees. It is a service of prayer, scripture and sometimes singing, which many of our members find deeply rewarding. I recommend naked Christian worship to everyone.

Two Sexual Advantages of Christian Naturism

Special thanks to Figleaf for this guest post.

I can hear it now – “Whoa! Christian naturism is a non-sexual experience so don’t go there and make it sexual!”

And I agree wholeheartedly with that statement, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But just because it is a non-sexual experience doesn’t mean we are no longer sexual beings. And from a male point of view I’d like to share two advantages I’ve discovered that I never even considered as possible.

There is generally only one area of sexuality that is discussed in Christian naturism and that is deliverance from pornography and lust. While this is a huge step into freedom from a terrible bondage, there is definitely much more to consider. Since there are already many discussions and testimonies of deliverance from pornography and lust I won’t go into that area in this article, but will address two additional sexual advantages of Christian naturism.

First, is the amazing fact and experience of discovering how easy it is to now be able to control sexual desires. Pre-Christian naturism was the usual swirl of being carried along the torrent of passions without any hope of realizing they can be turned off or delayed when necessary. Yes, sexual passion and it’s human fulfillment is also a very good thing created by Father God – and I think He was in a very nifty mood that day! But even as a married Christian I still didn’t understand that my desires could be controlled (turned off – delayed) without frustration.

I remember one time as a new Christian, in my early thirties, when a pastor told me that a husband could lust after his own wife. I was shocked! I just couldn’t believe that to be true, and It was a real puzzle to me for many years. Now I understand that he meant it could easily go beyond desire to a self-gratification that uses his wife as a means to an end. Pope John Paul II addresses this issue in his book Love and Responsibility.

The blessing of Christian naturism and its associated biblical teachings have put this in proper perspective and application. The desired effect of controlling inappropriate sexual desires has become wonderfully simple in application. If any person arouses any type of sexual desire, the TRUTH is what sets me free from that. I can quickly tell myself the truth is that the human being I am looking at is the very Image of God (Genesis 1:27) and NOT for my self-gratification. I quickly elevate the scene from the worldy to the heavenly, and sexual desire is quickly shut down.

The second advantage is tied to the first. Because I can look upon a nude human being as the Image of God, I can then be in a mixed social setting without sexual desire. The experience of social nudity with mixed genders and ages actually becomes very idyllic and Eden-like. This experience has what I call a “holy joy” attached to it, and it is so awe-inspiring and wonderful that we would never want to ruin it by injecting sexual desire into the scene. It would be like throwing a bucket of paint on Michelangelo’s statue of David, or taking a hammer to Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss . It would just horribly ruin something beautiful, just as sexual desire would ruin social Christian naturism. I discovered there is now a built-in aversion to mixing sexual desire with social nudity. What a joy!

The naked human body of all ages and genders is pure, holy, and good. It is a very privileged blessing to be able to enjoy it as God intended without the self-gratification of sexual desire. Therefore in fulfillment of the command to “love one another” we find an additional built-in desire of Christian naturists to preclude using one another to fulfill sexual desires.

It is stated in 1 Corinthians 6:20 – For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. Happily, Christian naturists have learned the value of not only glorifying God in our own bodies, but also the glorifying of God in how we view the bodies of others.

A Washing Machine Revelation

By John Figleaf

We hated our washing machine from the very first day we bought it over seven years ago. It frustrated my wife intensely, which caused me to dislike it very much also. After all, “if Mama ain’t happy – then nobody’s happy!” After my wife’s disabilities increased and I had to take over the laundry, I begin to literally hate this machine that would never seem to work like I wanted it to. It would tangle clothes, go off balance, and often sit and go into “sensing mode” for no apparent reason. From the very first day I began to curse that machine calling it all kinds of derogatory names and even kicking it and pounding on it with my fists! I’m really not a violent guy, but this was a bit of a phobia I had towards it – for seven long years!

Recently, after a really frustrating day with the dang thing, I finally had it and was going to get a new one. This one was going to the junkyard – that is until I looked at the prices of new ones! Yikes! Even the cheap ones are expensive! Ok, now I’m looking with a new mindset of perhaps living with this monster of a machine a bit longer.

I don’t know if it was the Holy Spirit or just me in desperation, but a thought came to my mind. John, you’re cursing this machine all this time. Why don’t you try blessing it? Quickly recognizing the biblical truth before me, I right then and there repented for cursing my washing machine and started to call it blessed out loud. I even declared it to be part of the Kingdom of Jesus and is therefore blessed in my household!

Well, wouldn’t you know it – shortly thereafter the Lord opened my eyes to what was wrong with it and how it could be fixed. I say, “opened my eyes” because I literally was blind to a simple method of making it work correctly. I’m a mechanical kind of guy. I should have recognized the problem easily, but I believe my cursing it literally blinded me to the obvious – and blessing it literally opened my eyes to changing this machine from a monster to a very pleasant and useful piece of equipment.

Shortly thereafter, I began to ponder about how this cursing thing had affected my life in various ways. Naturally, I began to review my journey out of lust and pornography into Christian Naturism – and the similarities began popping up all over the place.

  • I was constantly cursing my body.
  • My body was a monster – rarely acting the way I wanted it to. Always going off balance and getting tangled up in stuff it shouldn’t.
  • Just as I would kick and beat on the washing machine, I would abuse my body by looking at porn and doing destructive things with it. It was the same love/hate relationship I had with the washing machine. I had one and had to use it for better or worse.
  • Just like having a phobia about that washing machine, I would look at my body as evil and corrupt and must be dealt with very harshly.
  • I also began to see how many woman could hate their body and call it cursed – hoping to get rid of it and upgrade to a new model!

It wasn’t until I fully realized that my body is blessed because it is the Image of God that I began to be “repaired” and now my body works properly. I call it blessed and it exists in a blessed environment in the Kingdom of Jesus. My being nude is no longer going off balance with lewd. My nudity is no longer tangled up in the spin cycle of the world. The lie that my body is cursed has been washed away! I am clean, whole, and functioning very nicely without clothes. Who needs a washing machine anyway!

Breaking Naked (by Jochanaan)

This is a guest post from our friend Jochanaan’s blog. Reposted with permission. Check out the original post and the rest of his blog here.

Reconditioning Our View of Nudity

Many people have become aware of nudism or naturism in recent years. They have lots of questions about it, and many objections, but there are two objections that I see over and over; the words vary, but the common “threads” run like this:

•Our religion or laws or founding documents forbid it.

•It’s just a prelude or excuse for sexual activity. 

The first objection can be answered by study, logic and reasoning. But the second one is harder to dismiss since it’s many people’s life experience. 

Can humans in fact be naked together with other humans without always doing or thinking about sex? Even asking the question seems foolish to many people. Many men who have yet to experience nudism wonder how we nudists control that semi-involuntary bodily reaction known as erection. But as many nudists have discovered, we can be naked together with no more arousal or wish to do sex than if we were at work, or a concert, or any social gathering.

How do we do this?

Before I became a naturist or nudist (the terms are interchangeable but have slightly different connotations), I developed a simple reconditioning program for myself. At first I wasn’t sure this program would change my thoughts about nudity, but it did. Now it’s time — long past time, maybe! — to tell others how they also can change thought patterns that seem to be unchangeable. 

By restudying our sacred texts, seeking out non-erotic nude imagery, and going naked by ourselves and with others, we can break societal mindsets and recondition our minds and bodies to experience nakedness not as erotic or shameful but as normal.

Restudy our sacred texts

In late 2000, one evening as I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled onto a Christian Naturist web page.

Despite my Evangelical Christian upbringing, nudity had fascinated me from at least my teen years on. I must confess that that evening, not for the first time, I was browsing for nude photography, not pornography but nudist and naturist photos. As I searched, I felt as usual a mixture of thrill at doing something “forbidden” and shame at going against what Christian leaders had continuously emphasized, that to like nakedness was to be “immodest” and to “fall into lust.” So it stunned me to learn that some Christians believed it was okay to be naked among other naked people. But I found a statement of faith on this Christian Naturist web page that, in every detail except one, matched what I had been taught and personally believed about the Trinity and the Bible and the Christian way. Therefore I had to accept these people, naked or not, as brothers and sisters in Jesus. “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God…” (I John 4:2)

The one detail in their statement that didn’t match what I had been conditioned to think was that they believed nudity was good, non-erotic and normal.

So I got out my old complete concordance and looked up every Bible passage containing the words “naked” or “nakedness”. Reading these verses, I slowly realized that none of them condemned nudity in all circumstances. Two passages in Exodus forbid nudity for priests performing priestly services. But balancing these passages are the stories of King Saul, King David, and the prophet Isaiah all going naked with God’s approval and even God’s explicit command to Isaiah.

A little further study revealed that Jesus Himself was naked at several key points in His ministry. At His birth, of course; but by Jewish tradition He would also have been naked at His baptism. The Gospel of John details how He took off all His clothes to wash the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. The Roman soldiers took off all His clothes to crucify Him; they had no interest in preserving the “dignity” of a condemned criminal. And by the Gospel accounts, it’s likely He walked out of the Garden Tomb clothed only in His resurrected flesh.

There are other Bible passages that mention nudity, but nowhere is there any condemnation. All the teachings the churches have developed are based on interpretations, commentaries and assumptions. Change the assumptions, and the whole “religious” prohibition falls like a house of cards.

So much for the conventional Judeo-Christian teachings on nudity. While I cannot speak about the Koran, the Vedas or the sacred texts of other major religions, I suspect that there are no broad condemnations of simple nudity in them either, or none that would hold up against proper exegesis. 

This is the first step in Breaking Naked: to restudy our most foundational writings without assumptions and with good scholarship to find out what they say, and especially what they don’t say, about nakedness.

Seek non-erotic nude imagery

The other major objection against nudism is that humankind, especially men, are supposedly hardwired to see all nakedness as inescapably erotic. But the testimony of artists, medical professionals and nudists themselves is that they soon became so accustomed to nudity that they don’t see it as particularly sexy. As I continued to study and dialogue with nudists online, I saw that there were three possibilities: they were either lying, or in denial about their reactions, or telling the “naked” truth. If they were telling the truth, then instead of being hardwired, all our typical responses to seeing another naked human, particularly one of the opposite sex, must have been conditioned into us, perhaps when we were too young to understand the conditioning process.

So, before going to a naturist event, I decided to see if I could recondition myself. 

I began to seek out naturist and art websites that featured photographs of naked people in non-erotic settings, such as doing housework or hiking in nature. But my search was different now. Before, there had always been the mix of thrill and shame I have described; but now I intended to bypass these reactions and see nudity as normal, not shameful or erotic. If my body became aroused, I neither encouraged its response nor denied it. And I refused to self-pleasure while I looked, or afterwards. I do not believe masturbation is necessarily wrong or harmful, yet I knew that then it would have reinforced the cultural mindset I intended to break.

In less than a month, I could look at nude images for more than an hour with no physical arousal and no more intent to self-pleasure than if I were at a church fellowship dinner. I was surprised at how easy it was to break the mindset I had had drummed into me. I began to believe this was how God intended for us to live.

And this is the second step in Breaking Naked: to retrain our minds to see nudity as normal. Once we are thoroughly convinced of this, our emotions and physical reactions follow.

Free our bodies

While I was retraining my mind in this way, I also began to retrain my body by going naked in my home. Our society has conditioned us to believe that our bodies are so sensitive to air on our unclothed skin that men will become erect and women moisten at its touch. But this too is a conditioned reaction, and I soon found that I had no more physical reaction to nudity than to being clothed. In fact, clothing, especially if it were tight around my groin, made me more aware of my penis and testicles than nakedness! 

Once late at night, I went to the outdoor swimming pool in my apartment building and swam both clothed and (briefly) nude. I found that I greatly preferred the smoothness of nudity. But because I feared discovery, I couldn’t relax into the experience as I hoped to.

By now I was entirely comfortable with being naked and seeing images of nudity in privacy. One more question remained in my mind: Could I be as comfortable around others? Were nudists indeed as matter-of-fact in their activities as they presented online? There was only one way to find out. 

I found a naturist group that met every month at a local athletic club, and secured an invitation to attend their next club swim.

It was as comfortable and free as I had been led to expect. From the first, there was neither discomfort nor arousal at being naked among other naked men, women and children. And my first real skinny-dip was life-changing! I no longer felt like a collection of body parts with some parts destined to be forever hidden. I was one body. Before the evening ended I was encouraging other first-timers as if I were myself a nudist veteran.

That evening, when I brought my reconditioning to the outer world, was the final step in Breaking Naked.

The Reconditioning Program 

So it is not only possible but easy, by studying texts, looking at nude imagery, and going naked by ourselves and with others, to break the mindset that most of us have suffered most of our lives.

This is my program to Break Naked:

•Restudy your sacred texts.

•Seek out non-erotic nude imagery.

•Free your body, first at home, then in social settings.

I cannot tell you how long to expect this reconditioning program to take. It may take months or years of focused study, or it may just go “click” in an instant. Yet I sense that if many humans, not even a majority but a “critical mass” of us, transform our fear of nakedness into joy, we will be well on our way to heal ourselves, our society and our worlds.

So take as long as you need. There’s no set timetable to break our clothes-minded patterns and stand free at last.

A New Perspective (by G S Royal)

I have a friend who has a fear of flying, so she thumbs her nose at it by deliberately flying. I have another friend who has a fear of public speaking, and he deals with it by joining Toastmasters.  I spent most of my life hiding my body because I was ashamed of it. As a young teenager, I quickly learned that I had nothing down there to be proud of. It took me decades to learn I had nothing to be ashamed of, either. Like my friends, I chose to spit in the eye of what I feared. I chose to accept my body and stop hiding it. To deliberately let it be seen (without offending someone or violating the law).

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing, is the very thing that will set you free.

Indecent?  No.

So many have been wounded—myself included—by a view of the body “that has the smell of brimstone all over it,” to quote my friend Draco.

Pastor David L Hatton tells a story of a blind man who was sitting on the sidewalk with his hat turned up at his feet and a sign that read I’M BLIND. PLEASE HELP. A few people had put something in his hat, but most just passed on by. A man who worked in public relations came by, turned the sign over, and wrote a new message on it. Later, he came back by and the hat was full of money! What he had written gave those who read it a new perspective: IT’S SPRING, AND I CAN’T SEE IT.

The problem I had, and so many of us still have is this:

My body is beautiful, and I can’t see it.

As though some miraculous metamorphosis has transformed our perspective (see Romans 12:2), we need to see the human body the way God sees it: naked and unashamed, the pinnacle of his creative genius.

Thousands of people have defeated their body shame demons. They have come to see themselves through God’s eyes. And they are doing it through the prism of naturism.

Ungodly?  No.

Most detractors are good church-going people who think they are honoring God by condemning those who live as naturists. In some ways, prudery has been elevated to the value of scripture, and that’s a slap in the face of the very Creator whom they try to serve!

What’s ungodly is listening to the enemy of our souls when he tells us to be ashamed of the image of God that we bear. Let the words of a poem I wrote a couple of years ago speak to you:

The Imago Dei
(The Image of God)

A man and woman—naked—
once in a garden stood
Created in God’s image,
He called it ‘very good!’

Fashioned for a purpose,
one infinite in worth:
to replicate God’s image
through miracle of birth.

Then comes the great deceiver
who so wants to be God,
and have the gift He’d given
these creatures made from sod.

He saw the Imago Dei
they clearly represent
and hated with a passion
everything it meant.

What happened next is epic.
A tree, its fruit, a lie:
“You’ll be like God! Here; eat it.
You surely will not die!”

Then once the bite was taken,
dressed only in their skin,
they heard, “…and put some clothes on!
Your nakedness is sin!!”

How prudishly we’re living
in our ‘enlightenment’,
while foolishly retaining
that gnostic excrement

so readily accepted
by hearts that went astray
when moral independence
was birthed that fateful day.

As mankind swallowed fully
a fallen angel’s plan,
Godly wisdom faded
from the heart of man.

We should actually be ashamed of being ashamed! As Mr. Larry has stated: How is it possible for the human body, which was created in the image of God, to be offensive to anybody? Satan would love to see God’s greatest creation be considered offensive.

What’s ungodly is objectifying certain body parts, and thereby separating the body from the soul that owns it.

What’s ungodly is teaching our children that the mere sight of naked humanity is sin. In doing so we have helped our great enemy create a culture that is steeped in pornographic filth.

What’s ungodly is the prudish mindset that gives pornography its power!

Study the Scriptures regarding this, asking God the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to His truth. Many are finding that these bodies are still fearfully and wonderfully made.  Because of Christ’s redemptive work, our bondage to sin has been broken.  We no longer have to believe the lie.  We can replace it with the truth.  We can once again be naked and unashamed.

G S Royal
©2022

Coming to our Senses

This was written by our friend Jason. He is also featured on this post, and this interview as well as having written the scripts for our objections series.

Can a Blind Man Lust?

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,
But Lust’s effect is tempest after sun;
Love’s gentle spring doth always fresh remain,
Lust’s winter comes ere summer half be done;
Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;
Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.
Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare

So, can a blind man lust?

When we think of lust, we almost immediately think of the eyes. And that brings up beauty, sex, adultery and pornography.

Several years ago, a pastor would drive 90 miles to my house for prayer counseling because he was dealing with an addiction to pornography. He’d heard from friends of the successes we had witnessed through our Theophostic Prayer Ministry practice and desired to be healed from his addiction.

People use addictions to sex, alcohol, food, drugs, smoking, body-modification and even work–anything to numb the emotional pain in their souls. Addiction to pornography is a pain management problem that manifests as a fixation with false intimacy. It is the pain–and the source of that pain–that must be healed. Often times through traditional counseling, one addiction is removed only to be replaced by another one. This pattern repeats until the person has a socially-acceptable addiction like “hard worker” (read: workaholic).

This pastor, however, wanted to really be set free from his addiction and not simply transfer it to something else. So instead of focusing on the fruit of his pain-inducing beliefs (the pornography fixation), we looked beneath the surface to allow the true causes of his pain-medicating behavior to unfold. Like most folks, this was a methodology foreign, yet familiar to him.

We rarely think about this process of natural association, yet perform it constantly. Just as we never think about our internal organs until one of them “cries out,” we also do not think about the how or why we make the decisions that we do, or have the emotional responses we do to external stimuli.

Everything that ever happens in our lives is brought into our souls through our marvelous senses and processed and categorized. It is considered and compared to thousands of “files” from past memory pictures and emotional happenings and then it is acted upon. It happens so fast that it is nearly imperceptible — unless you take the time to ponder it.

Which brings me to our subject: lust.

Lust by itself is not, in fact, a bad word. It is a neutral word that is absolutely synonymous with the word “covet” and the word “desire.” The reason I want to slow down and define it is for us to realize the gravity with which we use words. Even in the English language, lust does not mean “see.” It does not mean recognize. It does not mean appreciate. It does not mean despise. It means hunger, crave, intend to possess.

Depending on the context, lust can mean earnestly desire or it can mean wrongfully desire.

And [Jesus] said to them, “I have earnestly lusted to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. (Luke 22:15 ESV)

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Jesus speaking in Matthew 5:28 ESV)

Yes, exactly the same word. Each context determines whether it is “good” lust or “bad” lust. When we are lazy with language, we end up degrading words and their meanings. Remember the Ten Commandments? The last one? You shall not Covet? It is just as accurate to read it You Shall Not Lust…after another man’s wife or possessions.

Is there such a thing as good lust? Perhaps for our ears, the word “desire” sounds more pleasant. Either way, they’re the same word in the original tongue. Scripture offers encouragement for positive desires and prohibitions for negatives ones. Each type is based on the context of the desire.

In summary, Paul writes in Galatians 5:16: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the lusts of the flesh.” In turn, what we will do is gratify the lusts of the spirit.

What about the blind man? If men are so damnably stimulated by sight, then by definition a blind person could never commit this sin. Yet, instead of facing the truth that wrongful lust is a matter of the heart, we have gone to the drastic measure of making rules and restrictions of the strictest sort, thinking perhaps that forced blindness is the answer.

The truth is that a blind man can lust and covet wrongfully any of the things or persons that a sighted man or woman can. It is not the physical attributes that endanger us. It is the evil intentions of our hearts. Wrongful lust requires intent to possess.

What Do a Pufferfish and a Bikini Have in Common?

Ready to Graduate from Felt Board Christianity?   [makeitcozee]

Do you suffer from “felt board Christianity?” If so, it can seem like the Bible is a simplistic bunch of stories with generalized rules for life. “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” it has been called. Do you want to go deeper?  At some point, I think we all do.  We have to peel back the layers and dive in.

Everything Jesus is trying to teach us about the Christian life begins in the heart.

We defined what lust is and what lust is not, so now let’s talk about how the word has been redefined and dumbed down. Large swaths of Christianity presently equate the recognition of beauty in our gender differences as wrongful lust. And because of this lowering of the bar, new concepts have been added in to compensate for the change of definition.

Sight itself has become the bogeyman.

Everywhere we look (no pun intended), it seems there are things and people to see (and I guess that means danger!). When we pop our heads up, we hear this refrain of warning: Men are visually stimulated. Heads down, men. Look away!

Stimulating, isn’t it? —  Photo Credit: Ibrahim Iujaz (CC)

It’s the subject of radio programs and talk shows: Men are visually stimulated. Volumes have been written around the postulate that men are visually stimulated. I wonder how many millions and millions of dollars are changing hands based on this mantra that men are visually stimulated?

Perhaps we should follow the money.  Pornographers and anti-pornographers all benefit financially by continuing to chant this mantra, but never utter this secret truth: women are visually stimulated, too.  Simple biology tells us that human beings have senses. One of those is sight.  Placing visual stimulation in our targets as the problem only creates a missed opportunity for success and creates a vicious, vicious cycle of shame.  Relationships suffer and real problems go unsolved.

The combination of the visual stimulation mantra and the watered down definition of lust have been well crafted into a deadly recipe.  The visual stimulation lie wrongly makes women responsible for the conduct of male human beings and takes volitional control completely out of the picture.  Men have a responsibility to control their thoughts and their actions.  Our self-control problems are not the responsibility of the the fairer sex.

This idea that men are mere predatory animals bound to their wild inhibitions and bursting at the seams with wrongful desire is childish and foolish.   And I propose that pointing to visual stimulation is the wrong place to conclude a discussion about lust.  Stimulation is a bogeyman because stimuli will always exist.   We have applied the wrong labels to the way our bodies react.  Stimulation is not sin.

The real test of a man (or a woman) is how she learns to respond to that stimulus.

People have tried for ages to remove sin by removing the potential for temptation. In this case, the common strategy is to consider that if men are visually stimulated, the stimuli must be removed.  Except, stimulus is not the cause of wrongful lust, is it?  Stimulation is only a sensation, placed by God in our very real, very flesh-and-blood bodies. This strategy will fail.

We’re alive. We feel. We see. We smell and taste. We sense. We respond because we’re alive.

Let’s make this real.

The Sky is On Fire! [Jason]

Close your eyes and step outside into the breeze. [It’s ok, you can come right back.] Feel that tickle as the air move across the delicate hairs on your skin? It’s stimulating. Walk into the kitchen when someone you love is baking bread. Take in a deep whiff. Smell that? It’s stimulating. Feel the seat beneath you. Press your foot into the floor. Your sense of touch is being stimulated.

Oh, look, a person! Any person. Maybe it’s a woman. Maybe it’s a man. What are they wearing? What color are their eyes? Are they tall, short, brown, pale, thin, sturdy? Observe their facial expression and posture.

This is the Imago Dei. The Image of God. It really doesn’t matter what they look like, what they wear or what they’re doing–your vision is being stimulated by the greatest of God’s Creation:  a human being.

Don’t turn away.  God wants us to see–and be seen–by each other.

This is why Jesus, rather than condemning our bodies, constantly brings us back to the heart.*  But that is not all He did. He gave us the KEY to overcome wrongful lusting and coveting!

The pastor I spoke of was healed by this key: He learned to see the truth.  Jesus renewed his mind–changed the way he thinks–in regard to the goodness of the body and set him free from the lies that had led him to seek out false intimacy as pain management.  He is still free of pornography today, and that addiction did not shift to something else.

As we continue, here are some points to ponder:

  1. God made our bodies, both male and female. They are good. Gen 2:25
  2. Modesty is an attitude, not a dress code.
  3. Lust comes forth from the heart and is the responsibility of the luster.
  4. To the pure, all things are pure. Titus 1:15
  5. A weaker brother does not have strong opinions; that’s how we know he’s weak.
  6. We are to grow the weak to maturity, not leave them to stagnation.
  7. Uncomfortable truth may not feel good at first, but eventually we feel its freedom.
  8. Truth does not equal American Culture or even Christian traditions.
  9. Cultures change, yet Truth remains. And it sets us free.

As I have learned to come to my senses on what lust actually means–that it is a heart-directed, neutral term–it has freed my mind to focus on people as whole individuals, rather than divide them, body and soul.

Freedom to walk in the spirit enables us to follow Christ wherever He leads.

Have you embraced this truth? Do you see people as whole, or does that idea cause fear? If so, what stops you from really seeing others, body and soul?*Yes, I realize Jesus once said tear out your eye and cut off your hand. That was metaphor, friends. metaphor. Remember, we’re going beyond the felt board. 

Not So Fast… (by G S Royal)

In our search for the truth of an issue, it is not unusual for one spouse to discover it before the other one does. If that truth calls into question a long held tradition or something we were taught by someone we trusted (or even cherished), it’s only reasonable to expect some resistance when sharing your new-found understanding. I have dealt with this in my own mind, not wanting to let go of some things I’ve held tightly for years, while finding it difficult to ignore the truth that is being revealed.  Consider this from Frantz Fanon, psychiatrist:  

“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong.  When presented with evidence against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted.  It would create an extremely uncomfortable feeling called cognitive dissonance.  And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit that core belief.”

Regarding naturism, for spouses who truly believe IT’S A SIN, we should be proud of them for refusing to participate. That is the first hurdle many Christians have to jump, but many never do. It’s not comfortable to jump hurdles, and without sufficient motivation most will never try. Some may step right up, jump in, and love it, while others require spending significant time reading, studying, and praying, before coming to the understanding that simple nudity is not sinful. (The reason for the nudity may well be sinful but that’s a different issue.) Having reached this point doesn’t mean one is ready to book their next vacation to a nude beach, but it is a major hurdle to have cleared. For most Christians, determining what God thinks about something is the most important task of all. 

The IT’S A SIN mindset can easily be a cop out, too. Hanging that sign on your door and refusing to discuss it further is perhaps a form of cowardice, or worse: a form of dishonesty. We already know what God thinks about that. Challenging a lifetime of teaching is not easy. There has to be a real desire for understanding before we are willing to sacrifice tradition upon the altar of truth. 

Having settled the IT’S A SIN argument, one then begins addressing the second most important question: WHAT WILL OTHER PEOPLE THINK!? This can be a very lonely time because it’s so personal, and requires one to become deliberately vulnerable! We know God already knows, and we can trust Him to treat us lovingly, but we’ve learned the hard way that people are not always so kind—particularly those closest to us! This is when husbands and wives must love as God loves, being persistently kind and caring. There’s no better time for living the Golden Rule.  This isn’t a battle to be waged, but a heart to be won!

Perhaps we err in rushing to convince someone to embrace what we now see clearly. We present passage after passage as evidence, and show the results of word studies that reveal what certain Hebrew words really meant in the context and times in which they were written. We can easily move from that to speculation as to how it all should apply to us now. With all the reading, studying, talking and praying perhaps we need to slow down and take stock. Here’s what I’m sure of: 

God made Adam & Eve naked and they all liked it. Then after the fall Adam & Eve didn’t like it anymore. The ‘liked it’ choice came from a Godly mind, and the ‘didn’t like it’ choice came from a corrupted mind. 

Christ’s redeeming work did more than pay our sin debt, He freed us from our bondage to sin and its corruption! He was called the second Adam for a reason! 

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Once our minds are renewed, we start seeing the naked body with the mindset Paul encouraged in Philippians 4:8: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Perhaps we should dwell on that for a while.

I Once Could See But Now I’m Blind

A guest post from Figleaf:

Almost everyone loves the old hymn – Amazing Grace.  The melody and words easily flow from the memory banks of our mind and out of our mouth with deep warm affection. “I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see.”  We understand that verse to mean we were at one time spiritually blind to the truth of the gospel – blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4). But in the last couple of years I’ve discovered the reverse can also be true in a very positive way.  What I once could see – now I am blind to it!

Satan (the god of this age) and his demons are very adept at blinding humanity to spiritual truths.  But his first attack was not to blind, but to have eyes opened!  He even bragged to Eve how their opened eyes will make them like God (Genesis 3:4-7).  As usual he spoke in half truths – their eyes certainly were opened, but they were not anymore like God than he was.

Adam and Eve’s newly opened eyes revealed to them a new perception of body shame, fear, confusion, and disrupted relationship with each other and Father God.  I imagine how in horror they quickly wished they were blind to all of these things once again.  Perhaps they would have been better off putting the fig leaves over their eyes instead of their bodies!

And now Adam and Eve’s perceptions of this new reality have been successfully passed down to humanity for centuries and generations.  Much of this perception has been focused on one thing Satan hates the most – the naked human body as the image of God.  He has successfully influenced culture, society, and the church to reinforce this perception. On one hand he stirs up lust for the human body, and on the other hand he brings shame upon it.

Fortunately the darkness of blinded deception is occasionally pierced by the glorious light of truth.  For me, this glorious light of truth came packaged in the surprising wrapping of Christian Naturism.  All of the previously viewed books, videos, and blogs under the banner of Naturism have brought a light of truth that has been so bright it has blinded me to the lust and shame of my naked human body and the bodies of others around me.

Yes, I once could see and now I”m blind – and so thankful for what I no longer see when I look at a naked human body.  It’s kind of like being back in Eden.  With truth I’ve thrown the old serpent out of my garden, and now I enjoy my nudity without shame or lust – just as Father God intended.


Phil’s commentary: Thanks to Figleaf for this beautiful and insightful reflection. I’m so glad to resonate so strongly with your conclusions. I thought I would tack on this YouTube video that David Hatton was kind enough to send to me just today. I thought what Sister Wendy (the art nun) said so eloquently went well with Figleaf’s great word. She says at the end of this short video, “There’s nothing, nothing amiss in any part of the human body… There’s to me something far more salacious about these sort of snickers and criticisms than in just a Christian delight in God’s skill.”

Just Thinking About the Gardener

This is a short little thought by our friend who goes by Figleaf:

Was Jesus really nude when Mary mistook Him for a gardener after His resurrection (John 20:15)?

Many in the Christian Naturist world would unabashedly sound a firm “Absolutely!”  This conclusion is usually based on the fact that Jesus’ burial clothes were left folded in the tomb (John 20:6-7), and the historical fact that many common laborers of the time would often work unclothed to preserve their very limited wardrobe.

On the other hand, I have sometimes taken a more hesitant approach in my studies of nudity in the bible.  In our naturist efforts to give common social nudity the credit it deserves, it would be easy to make an “absolute” out of just a “probable but not definite” scenario.  Or, taking it one step further, it would NOT be to our advantage to take such a scenario from a “just plausible” stance to “probable” or “absolute.”   These are three very different degrees of a presented reality.

With this particular scene of Jesus as a potential gardener, I have always put this in the “probable” category for the same reasons mentioned above.  However, I have not put it in the “absolute” category for the following reasons:

It is possible that the clothing left behind in the tomb was not a complete listing and that Jesus retained a piece not mentioned in that verse.

It is possible that an angel could have provided Jesus with a resurrection robe?

That was my thought on the matter until last Sunday when I heard a very interesting sermon on this particular scene in scripture.  It definitely did not mention nudity, but it did give me evidence that I can now move my thoughts on Jesus’ nudity from “probable” to “absolutely.”

The preacher went on to say that it wasn’t an accident that Jesus was being mentioned as a possible gardener.  This is a picture of the last Adam restoring what the first Adam left undone.  Adam lost his job as gardener and was kicked out of the garden.  And now Jesus, the last Adam, comes out of the ground (cave/tomb) just as the first Adam came out of the ground!  The first Adam also returned to the ground when he died.

The preacher went on to say, “ It was Jesus’ way of saying Eden is back!” And we all know that when Adam was tending the Garden, he and Eve were naked and not ashamed (Genesis 2:25).  Jesus was obviously re-establishing how it was in the beginning – naked gardening included.  For me, this moved my thinking of Jesus as a nude gardener from “probable” to “Absolutely!”  And now the Garden of Eden life is available to us all once again.


Phil’s comments:

Whether it’s probable or whether it’s absolutely, the fact is, in those days nudity was more commonplace and not a big deal. Gardeners often worked naked, so it’s not a stretch to think that Jesus was mistaken as a result. Jesus was likely naked in multiple key moments in his life: His birth, His baptism, washing His disciple’s feet, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. I really like Figleaf’s statement quoting the insightful preacher: “Eden is back!” One of my favorite verses is on our homepage and that’s Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Let’s rejoice in the fact that the old is gone and the new has come.