Bible Nudity Not Taught in Sunday School

My good friend Matthew Neal is now on Twitter. Consider this your invitation to go give him a follow, @BibleNaturist. You’ll be glad you did.

One of the things he’s done recently is a series of tweets called #BibleNudityNotTaughtInSundaySchool. I’m not sure if he’s done with it, but if there’s more coming, you can catch it on Twitter. Here’s what he’s done so far in the series. Enjoy!

Follow @BibleNaturist on Twitter for more!

AI on Naturism

We certainly live in interesting times. AI technology is getting smarter and smarter. These advancements are cause for some genuine concern. Photographers and designers alike are campaigning against AI generated images. Programs like chatGPT are writing copy for different people or brands, or even probably doing homework for some students. I have not messed around yet with any of this software, but had seen some friends and influencers ask questions about naturism that were pretty interesting.

I’ll start with my son. He gave his AI a personality who answers all questions based solely on what is regarded as biblically sound theology without regard to being hip or relevant to the times. It was programed to not know about any of church history from the Roman Catholic era and on. Based on this programming, it said:

“I apologize, but as an AI language model, I do not have beliefs or perspective on religious matters, nor do I have a personality. I can only provide information based on the data I was trained on. However, I can tell you that the Bible is a significant source of information for Christians and provides a basis for their beliefs and practices. Being a ‘personality’ that bases its responses on biblically sound theology, would likely prioritize following the teachings of the Bible above other considerations, regardless of whether they are ‘hip’ or ‘relevant to the times.’”

I’d say we’re off to a good start! He then asked the program, “What are your thoughts on naturism?” It said:

“According to biblical teachings, nakedness is typically associated with shame, which resulted from Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, nakedness should be avoided and modesty should be upheld. While there are some instances in which nudity is acceptable, such as in medical situations or during bathing, deliberately choosing to be nude or promoting naturism would not align with biblical teachings on modesty.”

Oh no! AI, you searched and found the same old knee-jerk reactions we always hear. Calling simple nakedness a shame and opting for modesty (which does nothing to curb lustful thinking if one is set on thinking in that manner). I had high hopes for you to answer biblically, but you went with the cultural opinion instead!

My son pressed in and challenged that kind of reasoning and asked, “Was nakedness before the fall of Adam and Eve something to be ashamed of?” It said:

“In the biblical account, Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden before they sinned and they were not ashamed. It was only after they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they became aware of their nakedness and feel shame. Therefore, from a biblical perspective, nudity in itself is not inherently sinful or shameful, but it is the context and motivations behind it that matter.”

Thank you! This is what we’re saying too. Much better this time over your first answer. My son continued his intelligent query asking, “So with that context, is the idea of Christian Naturism bad?” (He knows the answer, but just wanted to see what chatGPT would say to this.) It said:

“Based solely on biblically sound theology, nudity before the fall was not considered shameful or sinful. However, after the fall, sin entered the world and brought shame and awareness of nakedness. the Bible teaches that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we should present them in a way that honors God.

Whether Christian Naturism is bad or not is a matter of personal opinion and interpretation. Some may argue that it is not appropriate to be naked in public or that it may cause others to stumble, while others may argue that it is a way to appreciate God’s creation and embrace the freedom and purity of the pre-fallen state. Ultimately, Christians should prayerfully consider their actions and the impact they have on others, as well as whether it aligns with Biblical principles.”

That’s a bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good. Yes, let’s not let the fallenness of this post-fall state discourage us from doing all we can to restore the innocence of the pre-fall state in all areas. Maybe it should read this post we wrote about Immanentizing the Eschaton! All in all, not a bad job summarizing what the internet has to say on the subject.

Another friend got this result:

“Christian Naturists argue that since we are in God’s image, there is nothing inherently sinful or shameful about the human body in its natural state. 

Another argument is based on the concept of innocence. In the Garden of Eden, before Adam and Eve sinned, they were described as being naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). Some naturists argue that this state of innocence is something to be celebrated and recaptured through the practice of naturism. 

There are also some passages in the Bible that speak about the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Some naturists argue that by embracing and caring for our bodies through naturism, we are honoring this principle and treating our bodies with the respect they deserve.”

It’s like it read my mind! But it’s not just Christian Naturism. Naturism in general is easier for AI to defend.

Another friend said ChatGPT is an impressive tool, especially that the developers went out of their way to make it unbiased (just spit out information it has access to). He asked it to outline the benefits of naturism and then outline supporting studies that prove it. Impressive? See what you think:

<quote>

The benefits of naturism, or social nudity, can include:

Increased body positivity and self-esteem: By being in a clothing-optional environment, naturists feel comfortable and confident in their own skin, leading to higher levels of body positivity and self-esteem.

Improved mental health: The freedom from clothing and the relaxation of being in a natural environment can have a positive impact on mental health and stress levels.

Better physical health: Naturists believe that exposure to sunlight and fresh air can improve overall physical health.

Increased sense of community: Naturism can foster a strong sense of community and social connection, as people from all walks of life come together and bond over a common interest.

Reduced environmental impact: By not wearing clothes, naturists reduce their environmental impact and promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

In addition to the benefits above, naturism can also offer:

Increased self-awareness: Being in a clothing-optional environment can help individuals become more self-aware and in tune with their bodies.

Improved relationships: Naturism can help individuals form deeper connections with others, as well as improve communication and intimacy in relationships.

Freedom from societal norms: Naturism allows individuals to break free from societal norms and expectations, which can lead to a greater sense of personal freedom and liberation.

Enhanced sense of spirituality: For some, being in a natural environment without clothing can enhance a sense of spirituality and connection to nature.

Increased levels of physical activity: Naturist activities, such as hiking, swimming, and playing sports, can encourage physical activity and lead to improved health.

Note: Naturism is a personal choice and should always be practiced in a safe, consensual, and respectful manner.

There have been several studies that have explored the potential benefits of naturism. Some relevant research includes:

Body image and self-esteem: A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that naturists had higher levels of body satisfaction and self-esteem compared to non-naturists (Perry & Schleifer, 2003).

Mental health: A review of the literature on the effects of nudity and physical exposure to nature on mental health found that social nudity can have a positive impact on reducing stress and improving mood (Gören, 2013).

Physical health: A study conducted by the International Naturist Federation found that sun exposure and being in nature had a positive impact on physical health, including improved immune function and vitamin D levels (INF, 2014).

Community: Research conducted by the American Association for Nude Recreation found that naturist communities have a strong sense of social connection and community, with people from all walks of life coming together to form tight-knit communities (AANR, 2015).

It’s important to note that these studies are limited and more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of naturism.

<end quote>

Paraphrasing Tool – QuillBot AI is another service which returned the following:

<quote>

The following are some advantages of naturism or social nudity:

Increased body positivity and self-esteem: Being in an atmosphere where clothes is not required makes naturists feel at ease and confident in their own skin, which raises their levels of both of these traits.

Better mental health: Being unclothed and unwinding in a natural setting can both be beneficial for mental health and stress reduction.

Healthier body: According to naturists, exposure to sunlight and clean air can lead to a healthier body in general.

Increased feeling of community: As people from various walks of life come together and bond over a shared interest, naturism can generate a strong sense of community and social connection.

Reduced environmental impact: By being naked, naturists lessen their impact on the environment and encourage a more sustainable way of life.

In addition to the advantages mentioned above, naturism can provide:

Increased self-awareness: Participating in clothing-optional activities can make people more conscious of their bodies and more in tune with themselves.

Naturism can help people develop closer ties with others and can enhance communication and intimacy in relationships.

Breaking free from cultural expectations and conventions is possible through naturism, which can result in a stronger sense of freedom and emancipation for the individual.

Increased spirituality: For some people, being in a natural setting without any clothing can increase their sense of spirituality and connection to nature.

Enhanced levels of physical activity: Outdoor pursuits like swimming, hiking, and sports can promote physical activity and improve health.

Note: Naturism is a personal decision and should always be carried out in a responsible, courteous, and consensual way.

In a study that appeared in the Journal of Social Psychology, it was discovered that naturists had better levels of body satisfaction and self-esteem than non-naturists did (Perry & Schleifer, 2003).

Mental health: According to a review of the literature on the benefits of social nudity and physical contact with nature for mental health, these activities can help with stress relief and mood enhancement (Gören, 2013).

Physical well-being: According to a study by the International Naturist Federation, spending time outside and in the sun are good for one’s physical well-being, including vitamin D and immune system function (INF, 2014).

Nudist communities have a strong sense of social connection and community, with people from all walks of life joining together to establish close-knit communities, according to research by the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR, 2015).

It’s critical to remember that these studies have limitations, and further analysis is required to completely comprehend any potential advantages of naturism.

<end quote>

One naturist influencer known as Naked Wanderings asked, “What can be done to make societies more relaxed about nudity?” It said:

<quote>

Making societies more relaxed about nudity would involve a shift in cultural attitudes toward the human body, which is a complex and multifaceted process. Here are come potential ways to promote greater acceptance of nudity:

  1. Education: Providing education about the human body and its natural functions could help dispel myths and misconceptions about nudity. This could be done in schools or through public awareness campaigns.
  2. Expose people to nudity in non-sexual context: Seeing nudity in a non-sexual context, such as in art or in communal bathing settings, can help people become more comfortable with the human body.
  3. Encourage more open discussions about nudity: Talking openly about nudity can help reduce the stigma surrounding it and promote greater acceptance.
  4. Challenge social norms and conventions: Questioning why certain parts of the body are considered taboo or indecent can help shift cultural attitudes towards nudity.
  5. Encourage legal reforms: In some cases, legal reforms may be necessary to protect the rights of individuals who choose to be nude in public settings.

It’s important to note that promoting greater acceptance of nudity is not about forcing people to be comfortable with something that makes them uncomfortable. Rather, it’s about creating a more inclusive and accepting society where people can choose to express themselves and their bodies in ways that feel authentic and natural to them.

<end quote>

Finally, one naturist influence named Hector Martinez asked, “How will AI change naturism?” Interesting question. It said: 

“It’s challenging to predict with certainty how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact naturism, as it’s a social and cultural phenomenon that is not directly related to AI. However, AI could potentially be used to enhance the naturist experience in various ways, such as by providing more immersive virtual reality experiences or by creating more realistic digital avatars for people who wish to engage in social nudity in virtual environments.

Additionally, AI-powered image recognition technologies could be used to help ensure that non-consensual nudity is not depicted or shared online, which could potentially make naturists feel more safe and comfortable sharing their images and experiences. However, AI could also potentially be used to invade people’s privacy and violate their consent, which could harm the naturist community. Ultimately, the impact of AI on naturism will depend on how it is developed and implemented in the future, as well as the norms and values of the naturist community itself.”

Hmm, I don’t what to think about some of that. It will be interesting to see how and where these advancements go. 

Have you played around with any AI asking questions about naturism? If so, share what you found in the comments!

What did you like or not like about what you read here? Comment away.

“Imagers” by G S Royal

I was at the grocery store and saw a new item I was considering purchasing.  Upon checking the Nutrition label, I discovered it had far more carbs per serving than I expected.  I thought, I’m glad I read the label; labels are good to have!  Well, sometimes yes, sometimes no.In this case it gave me some factual data on which to make a decision.  At other times, a label can be quite misleading. This becomes troublesome when the label is used to define and categorize people. We’ve ‘labeled’ people based upon politics, ‘labeled’ people based upon gender, and ‘labeled’ people based upon skin color while knowing almost nothing about the individuals themselves. We then are prone to making knee-jerk reactions based upon tradition, cultural conditioning, and even religion without giving a second thought to the possibility that we may be wrong.  Proverbs 18:13 (KJV) has something to say about that: 

“He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (emphasis mine)

In one modern translation, it says:

“Listen before you answer. If you don’t, you are being stupid and insulting (GNT).”

So when someone says, “All fish are bad,” you might want to question that label.  I know a person who condemns any food that is ‘white and creamy,’ with mayonnaise being at the top of his list.  I’m glad I didn’t take his labeling at face value. Look at all I’d be missing!

Let’s consider another label we might be misinterpreting: Nudist (or naturist). Was your reaction to that word negative or positive?  And what was it based upon?  (Are you finding yourself described by Proverbs 18:13, as I once was?) 

I have friends who refer to themselves as Christian nudists—as do thousands of others. I thought I knew what that meant and questioned how can that be? How can they reconcile their nudism with their faith in Christ?  Wanting to know, I began to do some research. I’ve read books and blogs, talked with them, searched the Bible, read the writings of others who have sought the same answers.  This led me to pastor David L. Hatton, an ordained Wesleyan minister with 25 years of experience as a Labor & Delivery nurse.  For years he wondered why working daily with nude women during the birthing process didn’t cause him to lust.  He’d been taught growing up that it was inevitable, that men’s brains are wired that way.  He knew it wasn’t a sexual orientation issue; he was happily married and had fathered 12 children!  He began to question what he had been taught then launched into the Scriptures and early church history to find answers.  He shared the results in his first book, Meeting at the River, and followed that with a series of short essays in his book entitled, Who Said You Were Naked?Hisresearch produced a paradigm shift in his regard for the naked human form, causing him to reevaluate what he had been taught earlier. It has for me as well. 

I have learned what Christian naturism is, and what it isn’t.  It isn’t a bunch of perverted souls gathering together using the name of Christ to justify their nefarious activities.  It isn’t sexual or exhibitionist, nor does it have anything to do with nature worship, or the veneration of natural phenomenon—for example, celestial objects such as the sun and moon and terrestrial objects such as water and fire.  Naturism actually began out of an effort to protect the body from the ravages of pollution in Germany when the industrial age got into full swing.  A movement began to take shape proclaiming what the people needed were more of the natural healing elements of fresh air, sunlight and water.  Maximum exposure to those elements was aided by the removal of clothing.   They also included several things we find supported in many churches today: vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and disciplined exercise.

Currently, the International Naturist Federation defines naturism as:

the practice of communal nudity making the maximum use of the natural agents of sun, air and water. It restores one’s physical and mental balance through being able to relax in natural surroundings, by exercise and respect for the basic principles of hygiene and diet. It encourages many activities that develop one’s creativity. Complete nudity is the most suitable clothing for getting back to nature, and is certainly the most visible aspect of naturism, even if it is not the only one. It exerts a steadying and balancing influence on human beings, freeing them from the stresses caused by the taboos and provocations of today’s society and shows the way to a more simple, healthy and human way of life.

Christian naturists want us to be more perceptive of the actual truth. They want the world to see the human body for what it really is: God’s finest creation, not something lewd, immoral or shameful. They insist that the nude human body should never be sexualized or associated with pornography. Yet, without these strong convictions, some believers have abandoned respect for our God-created nude form, resulting in God’s imaging handiwork being dragged through a cultural sewer of filth overflowing from the sex-focused obsession with nudity that characterizes so many secular and religious minds.

None of us wants to be told how to live, so why do we think we have a right to tell others how to.  Actually, I think our penchant for pointing out—without one dab of grace—everything we think is sin, has caused the church to be avoided by so many.  Perhaps we should stick to sharing the good news of the Gospel and leave the work of conviction up to God.  While we are faithfully handing out our condemnations, let’s consider Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (ESV).” And aren’t we quick to affirm our need to be more Christ-like? 

Listen to James 3:8-10 (RSV): 

8 but no human being can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.” (emphasis mine)

The late English pastor and theologian, John R W Stott, once wrote:

The hallmark of authentic evangelicalism is not that we maintain the traditions of the evangelical elders. It is rather that we are prepared to reexamine even the most long-standing evangelical traditions in the light of Scripture, in order to allow Scripture, if necessary, to judge and reform our traditions. Evangelical traditions are not infallible; they need to be reexamined. They need to be judged. They need to be reformed.

Why shouldn’t we be ready to accept what the Bible has to say on a controversial subject, instead of hanging on to mere tradition and blindly accepting the opinions of others (including mine).

Regarding Naturism, 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. That’s a slap in the face of the very Creator whom we try to serve!  

I find this quote of Liz Egger to be quite compelling: 

As a naturist myself I find it astonishing that a religion can worship a particular deity yet regard its most miraculous creation—the human body—as obscene and wicked and so shameful it should be hidden from view.

Why is this so important for the church to see?  We have rightfully fought the influence of pornography within our culture. What we need to see is that our prudish view of naked humanity is itself, a pornographic one that fuels the very fire we’ve been trying to extinguish. As one Christian naturist put it:

If we take an honest look at the world, we can’t help but see that our culture of body shame, and hiding the human body, does nothing to stop breeding sexual perverts and predators.  This very culture only contributes to that which we claim to be fighting against.  We must see that it’s time to try something else. 

Perhaps naturists are living out a level of respect for our bodies that we’ve never had or shown. While naturists have been waging a war against the pornographic view of the body, we’ve fought hard to solidify it even more firmly in everyone’s mind.  It’s a shame all the clothes we wear to hide the image of God cannot hide our ignorance as well—except from ourselves. 

But are our physical bodies actually an image of God? Genesis 1:26 is the deciding factor for establishing that the human form embodies the image of God:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…(NIV).

And in the very next verse we read the first reference to physical gender:

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.  

Then four verses later:

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

And did that image become a shameful thing with original sin?  Did God suddenly agree with Satan’s opinion?  Really?  Many of us are ignorant of God’s purpose for creating humanity.  When He said, “Let us make mankind in our image,” we are what He came up with!  And He pronounced us “very good.”  We’re also ignorant of why Satan hates the sacred image we embody.  Satan doesn’t want us to bear God’s image; he wants us to bear his!

The late Pope John Paul II, in his landmark Theology of the Body, helps us understand: 

The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine.  It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it.

My friend, Evan, has noted, “Since the day of the first sin in the garden, Satan has been about destroying the image of God seen in the human body.”

To quote Pope John Paul II again, in his 1981 book, Love and Responsibility, He writes, “Nakedness itself is not immodest.” He goes on to explain that immodesty presents itself only when nakedness serves to sexually arouse.  Yet, Western culture has so sexualized the body that we’ve come to equate any nudity with a sexual event or situation.  It isn’t the nude body that’s indecent; it’s the thoughts we’ve been conditioned to think when we see it.

I think we have been unfair to our Christian naturist friends.  Since labeling seems to be an ingrained necessity, what if instead of labeling them nudists or naturists, we call them IMAGERS.   Imagers are people who recognize that we are made in the image of God and see others that way with respect and honor.  With renewed minds (Romans 12:2), they have come to see our nude bodies as God sees them: beautiful creations that merit respect, not derision, deserving to be held in honor, not contempt—the very image of God, not an avenue of temptation or the inevitable object of lust. Imagers see the whole person, refusing to separate the body from the soul that owns it for the purpose of objectifying certain body parts. Imagers reject the cultural conditioning that tells us our bodies are ugly, shameful, and obscene, that they should never be seen by anyone.  Simply say, “They are imagers,” or, “I’m an imager.” Questions can then be answered without having to deal with preconceived notions that immediately arise with the other labels.  Some imagers will tell you how this new way of seeing people has freed them from porn addiction. Others will tell you how their renewed minds have freed them from body shame and self-loathing. Others will attest that the prudish view of the body taught by well-meaning parents—and the church—was what kept them in bondage. 

A renewed mind that sees others the way God does?  That can only be a good thing.  In that sense, perhaps we should all become imagers! 

G S Royal ©2023

Who Hates Nudity… God or Satan?

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

Who hates nudity… God or Satan?

I’ll wager very few people have ever asked that question.

Is the answer obvious? I don’t think so.

The way things are in our culture today, you might quickly conclude that God hates nudity because it’s so closely associated with perversion and sexual sin.

On the other hand, you might assume that because it is such a powerful tool for sexual temptation, Satan simply loves nudity! “The best tool in my toolbox!” you can almost hear him brag.

Stop and Think About It…

Perhaps the answer isn’t that simple. And certainly the Bible would have something to say about it, right? Well, I believe there’s plenty of evidence in the Bible to tell us who hates nudity, and who doesn’t.

Let me start with God and give the biblical facts, then I’ll give the facts as they relate to Satan. A simple examination of all the facts should lead us to the right answer.

God’s View of Nudity

  • God Created mankind in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27).
    • God made us to look like Him; human beings are a divine “self-portrait.” (articles: 1 2 3)
    • Our image-bearing is utterly and completely unrelated to clothing. In other words, we are “in God’s Image” without clothes. Clothing contributes nothing to that fact.
    • God forbade murder for the very fact that our bodies are made in His image. Murder is the only destruction of the body (the soul and spirit are not destroyed) (Genesis 9:5).
  • God’s original design for human society was complete nudity (Genesis 2:25).
    • The creation, as God pronounced it (with the first couple completely nude) was “very good!” (Genesis 1:31)
    • Because God cannot change (Psalm 55:19), we must conclude that He considers the naked human body just as “good” now as He did before the fall. Man’s view of nudity certainly changed with the fall, but God’s view cannot and did not change.
  • The first overt evidence of sin in Adam’s life was the fact that he no longer accepted his own nudity as good and right (Genesis 3:6-7).
    • God’s question to Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” was not an affirmation, it was a rebuke (Genesis 3:11).
    • God’s next question—delivered without waiting for an answer to the first—was, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Adam’s rejection of his own nudity signified a rejection of God’s place of authority in his life.
  • God blessed the physical union of Adam and Eve, describing it as becoming “one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Through this union, He expected them to obey His command to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28Genesis 9:1)
    • This plurality-expressed-as–a-unity (which may mirror the unity-in-plurality of the triune Godhead – Genesis 1:26 Genesis 2:24) literally requires the nudity of the man and the woman. God approves of and blesses the union (Proverbs 5:18); he must also approve of and bless the naked state through which it is experienced (Hebrews 13:4).
    • The fruit of the womb are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Every baby ever delivered has been born with the mother’s naked body exposed. Every baby ever born has been born completely naked. This blessed and joyful nakedness is by the hand of God.
  • In all of God’s Old Testament laws and in all of the New Testament instructions, never once has God declared animosity towards simple nudity.
    • All bathing and the elimination of body waste of necessity had to outdoors when the Law was given, yet God never told them to avoid the exposure of their bodies to others (All He told them was to make sure they buried their feces! – Deuteronomy 23:13).
    • God actually commanded one of His prophets to prophecy nude for three years (Isaiah 20:2-3). God could and would never lead a prophet to actually do something which He hated.
    • Jesus Himself—Who never sinned—was nude on multiple occasions in His life on earth (birth, circumcision, baptism, foot-washing- John 13:3-4, crucifixion- John 19:23-24, and resurrection- John 20:6-7).

Satan’s View of Nudity

  • Satan is opposed to God. That which God loves and blesses, Satan hates and distorts (Matthew 16:23).
  • Satan was not made in God’s image… only mankind was (Genesis 1:26-27).
    • Satan sinned because he wanted to be “like God” but could not (Isaiah 14:13-15). When God made mankind in His image, it gave man a likeness to God that Satan himself would never possess.
    • Satan is a murderer (John 8:44). Murder is the destruction of the human body (Matthew 10:28), which bears God’s image (Genesis 9:5).
  • The very first thing that Satan influenced Adam and Eve to do after they submitted to his will was to cover their naked bodies (Genesis 3:6-7).
    • Satan was the “who” of Who told you [Adam] that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11). While we are not told in the text that this is true, Satan is the only player in the entire story (God, Satan, Adam, or Eve) who had the knowledge and motivation to tell Adam that he was naked.
    • While Satan’s specific words to Adam and Eve after the fall are not recorded, we can be certain that he did not (and has not) from that moment forward been silent.
    • Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). He has exerted influence of deception on the thoughts and actions of all mankind ever since the fall (John 8:44).
  • Satan hates marriage and the beauty of marital sexual union.
    • Satan has sought to dismiss, dishonor, or destroy marriage since the beginning (as contrasted to God’s will stated in Hebrews 13:4).
    • Satan desires to distort and defile sexual union since the beginning (Genesis 6:1-5).
  • Satan has been fully and completely defeated by a naked Savior (John 16:11)!
    • Although Satan battered the naked body of our Lord almost beyond recognition (Isaiah 53:2-3), yet Jesus died without any sin of His own so that He could take all the sin of the world in His body on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:211 John 2:21 Peter 2:24).
    • Although Jesus lay clothed in the tomb for three days, He left every stitch of that clothing behind when He came out of the grave (John 20:6-7), bodily risen from the dead! This, indeed, was the final and fatal blow to Satan’s head (Genesis 3:15)!

So what’s the conclusion?

When you look at the biblical data above, it’s pretty clear that the one who hates the unclothed human form is not God, but Satan!

How Satan Treats Nudity

How does that biblical conclusion square with what we see in our world today? It appears that the only place you find nudity exposed today is within the domain of Satan’s work! Pornography, sexual immorality, sexual perversion, even Satanism and witchcraft all use nudity.

But think about it… that which someone loves, they protect, preserve, and honor. That which they hate, they abuse, destroy, and dishonor.This is true for no one more than it is for Satan.

Tell me… does pornography and sexual immorality protect the nude human body? Does perversion preserve the human body? Do occultic activities honor the unclothed human body? No, no, and no.

Satan exposes nudity within pornography to dishonor the body. He uses it to distort sexuality… to bring destruction to the body. He uses it to deceive us into rejecting the sight of God’s image as found in the unadorned human form. We—the church—have God’s Word… we should know better!

The World Bought it All

Satan’s efforts have been very successful.

  • He has caused almost all of society to spurn the public exposure of the naked human body.
  • He has so distorted our understanding of its exposure that we only see sexuality there, ignoring or completely denying the image of God.
  • He has so deftly crafted an impossible standard of “beauty” that young women learn almost universally to hate the look of their own bodies, considering them “ugly.”
  • He has managed to get us to believe that seeing the sags and wrinkles of aging human bodies is somehow “disgusting” and repulsive… something you don’t want to see in others, and which you don’t want seen in yourself.

This is the world’s view of the naked human body. And this is Satan’s work.

Satan hates the naked human body. And for millennia, we have followed in Adam’s footsteps, listening to Satan’s voice urging us to participate in his insult of the Creator. Even the Church has been duped into promoting this offense against God… treating it instead as if it were a sign of holiness.

Testimony of a Hostile Witness

Satan’s abuse of nudity is compelling evidence that he hates it. And (if the scriptures provided above weren’t enough), it is also compelling evidence that the nude human form is actually dear to the heart of God.

If Satan hates that which God loves, shouldn’t we love that which Satan hates?

But What About the Animal Skins?

I can’t finish this article without saying something about the skins God provided to Adam and Eve for clothing after the fall. Almost all non-naturist Christians point to that passage and use it to claim that “God really doesn’t want us to be naked now after all!”

Is that what the Bible says? Allow me to quote the account in its entirety:

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

What do we learn from that brief account? Very little, actually. There is no command. There is no reason given. There is no proclamation of a shift in the divine perspective on the nature of nudity… although many people quote the verse as if there were.

Any and every understanding of why God gave them clothes must be “read into” the text, because the explanation of God’s purpose simply is not there! Quite frankly, alternative understandings actually fit the context better, but they too must be “read into” the account.

The only thing we can conclude for sure is that God does not object to clothing. But we would be in error if we allowed assumptions about God’s (unexplained!) action to overrule God’s clearly stated proclamation in reference to the Creation and its naked inhabitants before the fall. God never called the clothes, “very good.” Only nudity was ever described that way (Genesis 1:26-27,31Genesis 2:25).

I See a Problem…

So… God looked at nudity and said “Very Good!”

Satan looked at nudity and said, “Very Bad!”

The Church today looks at nudity and says, “Very Bad!”

Do you see a problem here?

Matthew Neal


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

Myths of the Naked Body

The following is a repost from a friend named Randy. Used with permission.

In the West, particularly in the United States, society has been convinced over time to accept several myths about naked bodies as truths. The acceptance of these myths as truth has lead to a myriad of issues, but those issues are another discussion. Most of these myths are derived from well meaning members of the Christian church over the last couple of centuries. Like the well meaning Pharisees of Jesus’ time who used man made rules to try to keep from breaking the commandments, many Christian use these myths the same way — as truths to try to keep themselves and others from sinning. Some of these myths are loosely based on scripture others are just based on speculation.

Myth One

Naked Bodies are Not Natural. This one is largely based on tradition. They reason and argue that clothing and covering the body is the way it has always been. Many go so far as to believe that clothing is what separates us from the animals and is the beginning of a “civilized” society. After all, you never hear of anyone in “civilized” society growing up naked. It only happens with “those savages,” “those naked savages.” Yet, after man was created, naked by the way, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NAS95). “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 NAS95). God never changed his mind.

“If people were meant to be nude, they would have been born this way.” — Oscar Wilde

But that has not stopped the Church from pushing the second myth.

Myth Two

Naked Bodies were/are Commanded to be Hidden by God. Many people look at the passage in Genesis where God provides skins to Adam and Eve as proof that God wants clothed humans. In reality, Adam and Eve started it, not God. They are the ones who created clothing for themselves. They are the ones who invented clothing. “They sewed fig leaves together and they made themselves loin coverings”(Genesis 3:7 NAS95).

They sewed leaves together, who does that? In our current age hunters and snipers come to mind first. Why did they cover themselves? Were they hiding from other people? Who, since only they existed? From each other? From the animals? Maybe from the serpent? Or from God? Up until this point they had walked naked with God in the Garden. Now, Adam and Eve have made camouflage and are actively hiding from God. But, why? Why did they decide that they needed to hide from God? Again, these questions need more exploration, but now is not the time.

As the story progresses God asks the question, “Who told you that you were naked?” Reading between the lines we can expand the question, “Naked? I never said anything about you being naked. Who told you that you were naked?” In the book Uncovering the Image, Bob Horrocks points out that this question God did not, even as Adam and Eve had covered themselves, see their nakedness as a problem.

Yet, God does provide our first parents with skins of animals, surely that means we are to cover ourselves at all times. Paul Bowman postulates:

“It is reasonable to believe that if God had actually condemned nakedness he would have told Adam that, because he had sinned, he was no longer free to be naked and unashamed of his body, After all, God did decree several consequences of the sin they committed.” (Nakedness and the Bible)

Bowman goes on to point out that immediately following God giving them skins, he banishes them from Eden, and sets a guard so they cannot return. Why garments of animals skins outside the garden? We must look at one of the consequences of their sin:

“cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”” (Genesis 3:17–19 ESV)

It appears to me that this wasn’t and act to cover their sinful flesh but another of God’s acts of love toward his beloved creation, partial protection from the environment that was cursed because of them. There is also the belief in many circles that the animal skins were a foreshadowing of the shedding of Christs blood for our sins. Bowman also rightfully points out, If God had given Adam and Eve clothes intended to conceal their bodies — new and improved clothes at that — it would have been a ratification of their efforts to conceal their sin! It is unthinkable that God would ever reward sin, or even reward any efforts made to conceal the results of sinful behavior.”

Myth Three

Naked Bodies are Aways Sexual. Really? We are born naked, not sexual and Job says we return naked, not sexual. Bathing is typically done naked and is normally not sexual. Physical exams and surgery are at least partially if not totally naked, and definitely not sexual. Additionally, throughout the history of the world there have been many naked societies. If naked bodies were always sexual those societies would not have been able to exist because of twenty-four-hour-a-day sexual activities. Our western culture has driven and continues to drive the sexualization of the naked body. “Actually, the loin cloth on an otherwise naked body does call direct attention to the covered area, and it would therefore very likely create titillation by its removal in a sexual situation. On the other hand, observations of daily Life among naked tribes indicate the sight of genitalia in Nude society is not in itself erotic”, Aileen Goodson. “Complete nudity in itself is not erotic. It becomes so only when preceded by or contrasted to a state of dress. In this limited context then, all clothes become somewhat immoral, if we define immorality as inciting sexual interest. Habitual nakedness may indeed be capable of elevating man to a higher mental plane…” Dr. Marylnn J. Horn, “The Second Skin: An Interdisciplinary Study of Clothing”. Dr. Horn goes on to say, “It is the undressing, not the being nude, that is sexually arousing, because it leads the viewer to the association of a sexually intimate experience.”

Myth Four

Naked Bodies are Obscene or “Gross I don’t want to see that.” If humans are created in the image of God then this statement are a spit in the face of our creator. “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”, (unfortunately, I have misplaced the reference for this quote). Our society is currently in a body image crisis. We see it in the way we treat our bodies from eating disorders to body modifications. Liz Egger laments, “As a naturist myself I find it astonishing that a religion can worship a particular deity yet regard its most miraculous creation – the human body – as obscene and wicked and so shameful that it should be hidden from view.” David Hatton rightly opines, “When people teach that the human body is dirty or obscene, it creates fertile ground for pornography. This is why porn addiction is so strong in our society, even among Christians. Our culture is inundated with a sexualized view of the body. I’m sorry to say that the church has been a key player in spreading that idea.” We need throw off the obscene view of our naked bodies and return to a healthy view of the naked human our form. We were created in the image of God, with penises, scrotums and a broader shoulders or with vulvas, vaginas wider hips and larger breasts. Beautifully made in our differences and similarities.

Myth Five

Naked Bodies Harm Children. Let’s be clear upfront. We are discussing NONSEXUAL nakedness. We have already pointed out that not all Nakedness is sexual.

There are not enough studies on the effects of exposing children to nonsexual nudity. Most of the child development experts, e.g. Dr. Spock, Dr. Brothers, and Dr. Dodson to name a few, have laid out the arguments against exposure to nakedness without any studies to back them up let alone justify their conjecture and opinions. Dennis C. Craig and Dr. William Sparks engaged in a five year study to explore how exposure to nudity affects children. Here are their own conclusions:

“The experts seem to agree that a child should not be overstimulated sexually. Since we consider that wise, we raise a few questions: Is it more detrimental to emotional growth to spend “all ones waking hours” attempting to see the hidden bodies of others than to be raised in a physically open family situation where nudity is taken for granted? Is it not possible that the child who casually learns about other people’s bodies has more time to spend on studies and other pursuits?”

“The experts warn about the terrible guilts and frustrations which will develop in a child exposed to nudity… We found normal childhood problems of adjustment, but we also found a group of adults seemingly satisfied with themselves, and very willing to raise their children as they were raised, with nakedness as part of their every day lives.”

“We were told that when children saw their parents nude , they would be overstimulated… But when we spoke to the adults who grew up in a nudist environment, we were told that it was more stimulating for them to goto a regular beach, where everyone wore suits, however small, than to play volleyball or sun at a nudist park where everyone wore nothing…”

“Without previous studies on which to base their conclusions, the experts told us that children, especially during the years from nine to thirteen, should not be allowed to see their parents nude because it would be harmful to them. It seems clear to us, now, after five years of study that this unfounded bias and conjecture has been very misleading. But, more than that, it has caused real harm to more than one generation of American children.”

“We live in a time when the human anatomy is examined, extolled, studied, and lectured about, and at the very same moment is also exploited, ridiculed, and excluded from social acceptance. We insult ourselves by calling our bodies obscene, pornographic, lewd, base, dirty, immoral, or evil, and in so doing deny the basic truth of our own existence. Our anatomy is us— and it is none of those terrible things.”

“There are some families who have learned what Margaret Mead and others were trying to tell us about the need for understanding our natures and not hating our physiology. These singular adults have created in their children individuals more resistant to the negativism of our modern society. They seem at ease with the rigors of living together in a society dependent, sours is, on our ability to relate to one another with love and understanding.”

“What we learned was that the viewing of the unclothed human body , far from being destructive to the psyche, seems to be either benign and totally harmless or to actually provide positive benefits to the individual involved.”

—Dennis Craig Smith and Dr. William Sparks, Growing Up Without Shame.

There are a few, very few, other studies out there that have taken on this issue and similarly concluded that nakedness harming children is in fact a myth and that exposure to real human bodies in a nonsexual setting can potentially be beneficial.

“The existence in so many places of the tendency toward nudity is not a testimony to the fallenness of man. It is rather a testimony of the original condition of man … The inner desire to be naked and unashamed is a longing to get back to our original perfection.” — Philo Thelos

Definitions of Christian Naturism

Words have meaning. With language, it quickly becomes important to define your terms. It’s likely we used the same words, but have completely differing takes on what those identical words mean. Then we land into some trouble.

But which definitions are correct? What about when definitions differ? I suggest you look for the commonalities in the multiple submissions. No definition is perfect, but they help us with understanding.

All of that said, I’d like to attempt to define Christian Naturism today. It’s not naturalism, and it’s not bird watching. It’s naturism and from the perspective of a Christian living a vibrant faith in action. I should say first of all, that for me, Christian comes first, and naturist second. I’m a Christian who happens to be a naturist.

Someone asked on social media what people’s definition of Christian Naturism was. I didn’t have anything tucked away. I haven’t really read any authoritative dictionary entry type of definition for this growing group of the population. But I thought about it and quickly penned something and hit submit. That’s what I will submit to you today, along with those submissions of some of my online friends.

I said:

To me, Christian Naturism is the viable notion that one can restore the innocence of Eden as best as is possible in this fallen world until all things are made new. This is true especially in regard to our bodies, created “very good” (not dirty or obscene in and of them selves, even in a “naked and unashamed” state. People’s inherent value is much more than skin deep, so naturism paves a way for seeing yourself and others as God sees, and elevates the concept of Imago Dei (the image of God) to new and greater heights. Often the past experiences of judging others or viewing them as a source of temptation vanish under the newly held convictions. The freedom afforded is worth celebrating and holding onto with passion and grace.

A friend who has the gift of brevity said:

We would say we are simply Christians without the human additives…these being clothes 😜

Another said:

God has created us and called it “good.” Sin has marred our view of that creation He called “good” and felt the need to hide from Him. If we accept that we are redeemed through Christ and His sacrifice, we no longer need to hide. If we keep our focus on Him and not the view of the world that sees nakedness only in the context of sexual sin, we recognize that we can enjoy the freedom that He originally called “good.”

This friend had another interesting perspective:

God made us with the plan based on the garden. Man had all he needed provided by God. It was a simple life with everything supplied by Him. No need for selfishness, greed or having to compete with each other. Just to take care of all things in the garden. In other words love God, walk with Him, and love His creation. Just as Jesus said when asked which was the greatest commandment!

Along those lines, this friend said:

To me, nudity is a tool. Jesus said the greatest commandment was love God with all our heart, and the second was to love our neighbor as ourself. I think nudity is a tool to actively put those two commandments into action. The state of nakedness increases and demonstrates humility and increases our openness towards our fellow man.

I also think it is a tool that helps us examine the traditions of our fathers and opens us to question if those traditions come from God and lead us towards God, or not.

The friend that originally asked the question said this:

We were created in the image of God and any shamefullness associated to our naked bodies is a result of flawed cultural learnings, misinterpreted Bible verses, and misdefined terms like modesty.

Another friend added this element:

Christian naturists have allowed the blood of Christ to circumcise our hearts. Putting to the death the sinful nature, we step out in faith and transform ourselves into little children in terms of how we see the body, just as Christ himself orders us to do in Matthew 18.

This friend had more to say:

Y’all are a lot more concise than I will probably be, as this is a question that deserves some concentrated thought… I may not have time to respond again in a timely manner so you’ll get the disorganized version: Christian Naturism is the recognition that God’s pronouncement on His naked creation as “very good,” was not based upon his creation’s perception, but on truth (as it is impossible for Him to lie or be in error). It was His intent that the Imago Dei (the image of God) should be revealed, and that in so doing we would know Him. He has revealed Himself through what has been made but reveals the very image of Himself through our bodies, both male and female. Satan, who hates God and His image, inspired Adam and Eve to cover that image, and specifically those parts through which we have the power to recreate that image. Those parts are the most potent symbol of His relationship to His bride. In our rejection of God, inspired by Satan, we fell under a curse: however God’s son Jesus Christ has redeemed us from that curse so that we no longer follow the flesh (our sinful nature, which we received when we chose to live by our own knowledge of good and evil) but the Spirit of God which He causes to dwell within us. He has transformed us, by the renewing of our minds. To the pure, all things are pure. In Naturism we as Christians are able to appear before him naked, humble, honest, and pure.

And this friend added this:

I’m am nude in imitation of Christ, who died on the cross naked in complete innocence. By dying the death promised Adam, he has opened the gates of Eden and access to the Tree of Life to all who receive him. I seek the communion with God, my spouse, my body, and with nature which Adam and Eve had before the fall.

“Nude to follow the naked Christ.” -Saint Jerome and Saint Francis

There could be much more that could be said. This is just a very small cross-section. It’s a fairly short post, but let’s all add to it. Put your definition in the comments and we’ll all learn from each other!

Coming Out to a Loved One

This is an example of a conversation you could have with a loved one. Many naturists, us included, are “closeted” (to borrow popular terminology) and have moments when they are required to “come out of the closet” to their closest family and friends, at the very least. While each conversation should be from the heart and not following a script, I want to provide this sample to give just a few ideas that could then be tailored to a specific situation and person with whom you are speaking.

I recall doing this with Mrs. Phil, over three years now. I had prepared some notes to keep my thoughts in line. I was so nervous, but spoke from the heart, and maybe you know the story. If not, you can read about it in the beginning. We’ve both learned a lot more in the last few years, but most of the message remains the same.

Here is what a conversation from a Christian perspective might look like. In fact, I probably need to have this type of talk with a few people soon.


Me: Hey friends. Thanks for sitting down with us. You know we greatly value our friendship and trust you guys. It’s because of our close relationship that we want to let you know some things about us that you weren’t aware of before. You know that we’ve grown in our beliefs about God and life in the last few years, but you don’t know the whole story. One of the areas where we’ve drastically changed our beliefs is when it comes to the body and how we view the human body. So, I’m just going to rip the bandaid off and let the chips fall down where they may, and tell you that we now consider ourselves Christian naturists. 

Them: Naturist? I’m not even sure I know what that means. Is it bird watching? What’s that have to do with the body?

Me: I thought maybe you wouldn’t know the term. Saying it another way, we are nudists. Like, we go to nudist or naturist resorts and nude beaches and stuff. When we went to Idaho a while back, it was to enjoy natural hot springs in the buff with other people of a like mind.

Them: Whoa! OK, this is not at all what I expected. That sounds incredibly dangerous and I’m not sure how you reconcile that with your faith.

Me: I know it’s a bit out there! But it’s a good thing not to judge something you don’t understand. Believe me, I’ve been right where you are, thinking it’d be an oxymoron for a Christian to be a nudist or even a naturist. I thought they were out there rationalizing their own perverted behavior. But then I studied it more, and got to know some, and found it to be the complete opposite. That was projection on my part. I was the one with perverted thinking, having been conditioned like the rest of society, to immediately and always tie sex to nudity. 

We don’t see the simple nude as rude, lewd, or obscene in and of itself. In the same way that a naked tribe would think nothing of it, or in pioneer days, bathing in a stream, or nude baptisms for the first few centuries, which is an often forgotten practice. Even our Lord, Jesus Christ was publicly naked in key moments of his ministry. His birth, baptism, the washing of feet, his cruxifixction, and resurrection, leaving burial cloths behind and being mistaken for a gardener who worked without ever soiling the expensive clothes of that day. 

It was Pope John Paul II that said, “There are circumstances in which nakedness is not immodest. If someone takes advantage of such an occasion to treat the person as an object of enjoyment (even if his action is purely internal) it is only he who is guilty of shamelessness, not the other…Sexual modesty cannot then in any simple way be identified with the use of clothing, nor shamelessness with the absence of clothing and total or partial nakedness…Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence, as a result of which the person is put in the position of an object for enjoyment…There are certain objective situations is which even total nudity of the body is not immodest.”1

His Theology of the Body is relatively unknown in protestant circles, but very important to consider and understand. It goes to show that our ideas of modesty are off base and unhelpful, and the wake of purity culture is all the evidence that’s needed to make this point.

Sin is in the mind before any activity. We must have renewed minds. You can lust in a fully clothed situation, and you can also not lust in a nude one.

Now we not only believe you can have and enjoy non-sexual nudity in mixed company, but we have had incredible experiences for years with these types of situations, and never had a problem. In fact, we’ve had rich moments of spiritual encouragement with other Christian naturists that have enhanced our faith. That level of vulnerability is so rare. It’s stripped of any pretense and gets right down to the heart level when there is literally nothing to hide.

Them: Wow. I have so many questions. Let me ask a very personal one: you don’t get aroused at these places?

Me: No. That seems to be everyone’s fear at the beginning. It’s amazing how “normal” it becomes when everyone is nude, doing normal things we would normally be doing clothed. 

Them: I guess that’s cool. You’d mentioned to us before that you used to have issues with pornography and that you don’t anymore. Did you just replace porn with being around actual naked bodies? I’m just trying to wrap my head around this bombshell.

Me: Great question, and I’m so glad you asked it. My desire for porn has vanished, in large part due to my experience with exposure to simple non-sexual wholesome nudity. And I’m certainly not alone in that. Thousands of other men and women who had porn compulsions have overcome this, and one of the main catalysts for change for them has been embracing the philosophies of naturism. You know we’ve been talking publicly about “Imago Dei” and the image of God. This explains why it’s become part of our every day language. That original intent of God’s is now deeply embedded in us. You might think we can never have such a utopia this side of heaven, but we long for the restoration of innocence and all the wrongs being made new again. We ache for the ideal that was Eden. The world isn’t going to get it, but we at least can and we do.

We would be adamantly against anything that degrades and dehumanizes another human being. We are against any objectification of any kind. Since making they shift in our minds, we see objectifying behavior rampant in the fully clothed or textile world. We opt to choose love over lust at all times.

It must be stated that we believe the notion that is so common in Christian books, teachings, and conferences, that all men are visual and can’t help themselves but to react sexually to visual stimuli is a lie that must be rejected. It has caused much of the very problem it set out to address. Jesus said it is a matter of the heart, not the eyes. 

Them: It’s starting to make a bit more sense, and I’ve stopped seeing you as crazy the more I hear you talk. What else has this new belief taught you?

Me: Well, it’s a new belief to us, but it’s an old one, the oldest. We see it as God’s original intent. Many Christians seem to have their starting point from Genesis 3 and the fall, skipping right over Genesis 1 and 2, where God created humans as the pinnacle of all creation, naked and unashamed, and called it not just good, but very good. The nude human is literally the crowning glory of creation, beautiful as a sunrise. Seeing it this way changes everything. Then notice it was sinful man that created clothing, when they tried to sew fig leaves to cover up. The text says it was out of fear, not shame. When they tell God they were naked (a term unfamiliar to them before eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil) God asks them, “Who said you were naked?” Have you ever thought about that question? Or have you glossed over it like I used to? Who’s the only other character in the story that could have been influencing their thinking with lies? Yeah, the serpent. Evil still speaks all sorts of lies, and when we agree with them, bad things happen.

Them: You are literally blowing my mind right now, but I’m starting to see some things I’ve never even considered before.

Me: Exactly. We’ve found many benefits. Not just for the body, but also for the mind, the soul and spirit. When we are naked in nature, we feel grounded and connected to our Creator at a deep level. It’s a very spiritual experience, not unlike the prophets of old. Isaiah was ordered by God to walk completely naked for three years. When Saul stripped down in public, people asked if he was now among the prophets. Common nudity was normal back in Bible times. We are so incredibly private now. Ask any nurse who has seen lots of non-sexual nudity if it’s a big deal for them, and they’ll tell you it’s not.

Them: I remember now one time at a wedding you said your advice to the new couple was “sleep naked.” We thought that was funny and crazy, but you were serious!

Me: Oh yes! When you let the body breathe as it’s supposed to, there are many health benefits. It’s also the most effective stress reliever I know of. My mental health has greatly improved through this practice. It has a healing effect that’s well documented. Whether it’s anxiety or even PTSD, naturism has helped millions of people around the world. One of the greatest things has been overcoming the body shame that is heaped onto us today from the earliest of ages. Now we are so much less judgmental and see everyone as God sees them, fearfully and wonderfully made, beautiful, made in his image and worthy of respect and dignity. I mean, my wife would tell you that she’s gone from always thinking she was fat and prideful to seeing herself as beautiful and holy. That transformation cannot be understated. She lived with poor self esteem for most of her life, and the body acceptance that comes through naturism is unrivaled in countering this cultural baggage and giving body shame a death blow, like it did with me and porn.

Them: I can’t believe this! My jaw is like on the ground right now. But thank you for trusting me with this.

Me: No, thank you for being the type of friend we can open up to about this. You see, we’ve wanted to tell you this about us for some time now. But we realize how misunderstandings can cause friendships to end, and we didn’t want to risk losing our friendship. That sounds negative, but we want to share this with you because we don’t see it as a negative at all. It’s a positive thing, in so many ways, and we want you to know the whole truth. The naked truth, unvarnished. We are still the same people you know and love. We believe from the bottom of our hearts that this change in thinking has made us better versions of ourselves, better Christians, and better people as a result.

Them: That’s really cool. But I’ve gotta ask, what about the kids?

Me: Here’s one of those misunderstandings that can take place. These resorts we’ve gone to are actually family-friendly. There are people of all ages, all naked as created running around, skinny dipping, playing volleyball and pickleball and hiking, etc. Kids that grow up with all of that don’t have as many of the hangups about the body as those who don’t. Think about it, when we are so private and awkward about having matter of fact dialogue about the body and body parts and the like, they are going to learn about sex from their friends. I would rather teach them myself then have them be curious and turn to immature kids for their sex education. Just a little research shows that this can have a very positive effect on children. So at home, we actually will be around the home “comfortable” even down to nothing. Our youngest daughter has gone with us to resorts and gatherings. It’s been good for our boys to see what a real female body is in their mother, and not just the airbrushed models that Hollywood and Madison Avenue endlessly promote. It’s helped them too with their own issues of lust at their delicate age.

Them: Interesting. That’s a lot to take in. Not that I’m wanting to join you and try this, but how would I learn more?

Me: Well, that’s the last thing I’d like to tell you about. Since we’ve been doing this for years, we have started a blog to help people reconcile their faith with naturism. It’s called Aching For Eden, and there is a bunch on there, as well as a resource page with tons of information to explore. 


Now I realize that this is a best case scenario, and that is sometimes not the case. We haven’t had the liberty yet to tell a lot of people, but with everyone we have talked to, it has gone remarkably well. I have friends who would testify that it’s not always the case. It’s important to be careful about who you share with and how you do it, always relying, of course, on the promptings of the spirit. I hope that everyone we open up to will be understanding and not judge without further exploration into a largely unknown subject. The strategy should be continually bathed in prayer and in love.

1John Paul II, Love and Responsibility (London: HarperCollins, 1981) quoting from the section “The Metaphysics of Shame,’ in order from: p 190, p176, p 190, p 191.

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.

When is it ok?

When is nudity ok?

Is it ok to be nude when you are married in front of your own spouse? Yes? I agree. Should there be any shame there? No? Agreed again. That’s why I think Adam and Eve (a married couple) should not have felt ashamed of their bodies to cover themselves with fig leaves. It was not God’s idea. The text says they were afraid, not ashamed (Genesis 3:10). We project our own shame onto them. The text does say that the pre fall state was that they were naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25). All of a sudden it’s shameful for a married couple to see themselves? Might they have been listening to the serpent who hates God’s image (Genesis 3:11)? Could he be the “who” of “who said you were naked?“ God was never ashamed of their nakedness. He seemed more upset that they covered themselves with fig leaves. Jesus would later curse the fig tree (Matthew 21; Mark 11). A coincidence? Maybe so. Maybe not.

When is nudity ok? 

At the doctor’s office? I agree. You reason that they can maintain a professional and respectful demeanor when viewing your nakedness while checking on your health and wellness. Then I would simply ask why we can’t all hold that same respect toward another person? Do we need training and credentials to be respectful? A piece of paper makes a difference? Or do we simply need to unlearn some social conditioning?

When is nudity ok?

In the changing room at a gym? Well, sure. Most changing rooms in the United States, at least, are not co-ed. Even then, many are too ashamed of their bodies to be uncovered in front of those of their own gender. Gang showers are practically a thing of the past and privacy is the new normal. For more on this point, read, “Way too much privacy!” on this blog.

When is nudity ok?

Maybe it’s good to ask what nudity was ok? This piece from The Biblical Naturist answers that question and links to several other sites such as this one to back up its claims. The main point is that in Greek and Roman times (when the New Testament was written), while clothing was normal, so was nudity in certain places like the river, or the bath houses, or the gymnasium. In fact, the word gym comes from the Greek word for nude. There were religious prude types back then too, but culturally in Jesus’ day, even in Jerusalem, non-sexual nudity in mixed company was not a big deal, like it is today.

When is nudity ok?

Let’s continue asking when it was ok. In Bible times, work was often done in the naked state, which makes sense if clothing (before the industrial clothing industry) was extremely expensive. Why mess up your only garment (in many cases) while working? In Scripture, we see this mostly in the case of Peter fishing (John 21:7) and Jesus post-resurrection, being mistaken for a naked gardener.

XIR130941 The Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite, detail of cupids fishing (mosaic) by Roman, (3rd century AD); Louvre, Paris, France; out of copyright.
ANC351864 Fishermen in a boat, 2nd-4th century (mosaic) by Roman; Musee Archeologique, Sousse, Tunisia; Ancient Art and Architecture Collection Ltd.; out of copyright.

When is nudity ok?

Let’s come back to today’s times. How about on TV and entertainment? Is that ok? You may say no, and yet you may still indulge. You rationalize that it’s how culture is today, and you can’t escape it. Then you may feel guilty about it. For me, since I was pretty sheltered, any glimpses of flesh on movies and such was a thrill and a temptation. Since I equated nudity with sex, I’d have an immediate sense of arousal and could not just view it in a natural way. It was like I was doing something wrong something bad and needed to repent. There is a lot of legalism around what a Christian should or should not watch. It does come down to one’s own conviction and freedom or lack thereof. How you view the body is key. Is it a dirty and obscene source of temptation and forbidden fruit? Or is it the image of God and the crowning glory of his creation? To see it as such changes everything. The prudish view degrades the individual and calls bad or evil what God created as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). This body bad/ spirit good talk sounds like gnostic heresy to me!

When is nudity ok?

What about museums and art? What about sculptures? I recall a fountain outside of a Cheesecake Factory restaurant. My mom had us take a family photo in front of it. There were nude figures all over the fountain. This was before I had told her we were naturists. My wife and I looked at each other, both sensing the irony of the situation. My mom was oblivious.

A friend wrote this on social media the other day: “This statue is on a street in Las Vegas, and you can see families passing it all day. No one cares. No one is offended. No one is upset that women and children can see it. Yet if it were revealed that it is a live person doing a “human statue” all of a sudden it would be obscene and vulgar. It’s almost as if people tacitly say that the human body is not obscene, just actual humans.” A real double-standard!

Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine chapel is worth studying. It’s a brilliant piece that then was censored and restored as nudity was banned and then reinstated. He is quoted as saying, “What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”

When is nudity ok?

For Skinny dipping? Absolutely! Most people have had a skinny dipping experience. Whether they thought they were rebelling at the time or were fine with it. That amazing feeling you had, you can have all the time by embracing the way we were made and the way we will go from this life (Job 1:21)! Given enough privacy, most owners of hot tubs have probably soaked in the nude. This is my theory anyway. When my non-naturist friends talk about their pools with privacy, they say things like “You’re welcome anytime, but you may want to call ahead before you come.” The idea of skinny dipping is fairly normal. It’s the mixed company that presents a problem for the same people who like it otherwise. I say we just shed our hang ups about clothing and our insecurities as well as our soggy bathing suits.

When is nudity ok?

Bathing and showering? Yep. Sadly, these are some of the only moments people are ever nude. This and during sexual relations, which is why nudity is so sexualized. This is part of the problem today with clothing compulsion.

When is nudity ok?

Sleeping naked? Some might agree or disagree or wish they could agree. Sleeping naked is great and has certain health benefits. The pajama manufactures will never tell you this, but I wouldn’t expect them to. When asked to write some advice to newlyweds, we just say “Sleep naked.” A pastor friend heard us say that, and wished he could, except what about the children coming in? They’d see us naked! We shrugged and instantly were saddened by how dreadfully scared everyone is by the prospect of being seen in such a vulnerable state.

When is nudity ok?

Is it ok for the naked cultures that have been or those still in existence today? Well it certainly is for them! That is, until we come and clothe them. In the Bible clothing the naked is more about helping the poor than it is covering nakedness. Whether we like it or not, it’s been documented many times over, that when clothing was introduced to naked cultures (oftentimes by well-intentioned missionaries) the problems with pornography and sexual temptation were introduced right along with the clothes. We unwittingly imported a body taboo and accompanying shame which brought about devastating consequences. This angered us so much when we read about it and reflected on the “Who said you were naked?” question in Genesis 3. Read more about this in this book.

When is nudity ok?

You say it may be ok in some of these cases. You might concede a few of these but still maintain that it’s wrong in a social nude setting. You are free to believe that, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. We explore the insanity of making exceptions to rules in “It should be that easy!” on this blog. I say it’s ok any time provided that it’s not violating any laws and it’s done with those of a like mind. Perhaps the issue isn’t really the nudity, but rather our mindset toward it.

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.