Another common objection to Christian naturism is that seeing a nude woman will provoke lust and cause a man to sin. Case in point: Bathsheba and David. Bathsheba really gets a bad rap, but really, David is the one at fault. After all, Bathsheba was just taking a bath. She was doing what people did in those days. David had a view of people’s rooftops and he watched, and what he did was the sin. Seeing isn’t the sin. Looking with intent or desire, and coveting what is not yours (lust) is. Public bathing was a common sight, whether a rooftop or river or creek. Witnessing a person bathing can be perfectly innocent. Coveting, adultery, and murder (as in the case of David) are clear violations against God’s commandments.
As Chad Thompson wrote on page 90 of his book, That Famous Fig Leaf:
The story of David and Bathsheba is often referenced as a biblical admonition of nudity, as if Bathsheba was tempting David by bathing in the courtyard. Yet every other woman in Jerusalem did the same thing. Whether male or female, rich or poor, outdoor bathing was universal to the ancient cultures of both Egypt and Israel. The second chapter of Exodus even recounts Pharaoh’s daughter bathing in the open river while Jewish commoners walk about. Women participating in the culturally natural phenomenon of open bathing was not anything King David wasn’t used to seeing on a daily basis. What led him to rape his neighbor’s wife was not her public bath, but the evil in his own heart. Furthermore, if Bathsheba had committed any sin by exposing her body in public, it would seem odd that Nathan made her the “innocent lamb” in his story.
Watch this video to see a surprising but true example of public nudity that was church sanctioned:
For more studies on baptism practices of the early church read this short paper here.
See all “Objections” series blogs and videos here.