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.

Gnostic Heresy – Alive and Well

In my Personal Manifesto of a Christian Naturist, point #19, I stated that, “I believe dualism and Gnostic heresies have crept back into the church and most are unaware of it.” As I wrote the little “manifesto” piece, I remember wanting to throw ideas out there that would cause people to go deeper and explore further rationales. A couple of people have asked for an expansion on what I meant by gnostic heresies. This article is my attempt to answer their questions.

I must admit, I am no expert or scholar when it comes to understanding Gnosticism beyond what one can find in commentaries and reference books. Before embracing naturism, I was one of those church leaders who assumed these wrong ideas had been dealt with by the early church fathers. David L. Hatton and others turned me on to the idea that the heresies had “crept back into the church.” It didn’t take me long to subscribe to that notion and realize that I too had been unknowingly complicit in perpetuating Gnostic heresy myself for many years!

So what does it mean? That is the question! The word Gnosticism comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” Gnostics taught that there was a mysterious or special knowledge reserved for those with true or awakened understanding which could save one’s soul. They accepted the Greek idea of a radical dualism between God (spirit) and the world (matter). For our purposes, the Gnostic application would be spirit=good; body=bad. The goal is to free the spirit from it’s embodied prison.

The ethical behavior among the early proponents of this false doctrine varied immensely. On the one hand, you have those that avoid all “evil” matter in order to be seperate and avoid contamination. This even led to ascetic practice and literally beating their bodies into submission. The other end of the spectrum was a sort of libertinism and freedom to participate in any and all indulgences. Since they believed to possess insight regarding their divine nature, it didn’t matter how they lived. Obviously, both of these extremes exhibit grossly flawed thinking.

Both Paul and John countered these heretical teachings (Col. 2:8-23; 1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:16-19; Titus 1:10-16; 1, 2, 3 John). Jesus in Revelation 2, had strong words opposing the Nicolaitans, who many believe to be a Gnostic sect. True to the definition of the word “heresy,” this teaching caused division in the church fellowship. Gnostic texts in the Apocrypha are not recognized as Scripture and were refuted by early church fathers such as Irenaeus, Against Heresies; Hippolytus, Refutations of All Heresies; Epiphanius, Panarion; and Tertullian, Against Marcion.

Chad W. Thompson in the very first chapter of his book, That Famous Fig Leaf, points out the ways Gnosticism led to some interesting conclusions within the church, infecting it with a negative view of sexuality. A church father, Origen, reputedly castrated himself believing both his body and sexuality to be his enemy. Clement of Alexandria taught that Christ didn’t even have a physical body.

After giving a few more examples, Thompson describes an evil and surprising result:

The Gnostics also devalued women, as it was their bodies that tempted men to sin. Ninth-century church father Theodore of Studius forbade monks from having even female animals, insisting that by becoming monks, they had “renounced the female sex altogether . . .” In the eleventh century Pope Gregory VII wrote, “The church cannot escape from the clutches of laity unless priests first escape the clutches of their wives.” Pope Urban II, a contemporary of Pope Gregory, ordered any priest who violated celibacy to be thrown into prison, and his wife and children sold into slavery. To Augustine, one of the most influential extra-biblical writers in Christian history, the body “presseth down the soul.” Augustine became the bishop of Hippo, and believed the penis was evil, semen was cursed, and intercourse was infected by sin even in the context of marriage.

While these ideas seem outlandish today, the dangerous doctrine of Gnostic dualism is still alive and well.

Again, Hatton mentions this throughout most of his writings. I will pull several quotes from this 20 page article on his website. He does not mince words when he confesses the following:

Our scrupulous loyalty to a prudish view of the body wasn’t just poor theology. It was an unwitting—perhaps sometimes even an idolatrous—cultural investment in heretical error.

We’ve been trained by the body taboo of church tradition to guard our speech. But no redemptive good news about our sexual nature ever came from the body shame language formulated by that taboo. Within evangelical hymnody, homily, and humor there is a subtle array of Gnostic attitudes toward the material world in general and toward the human body in particular. We often claim biblical ground for trivializing “this world” as “not our home” and for preaching a Greek dualism that neglects the importance of the body and its inherent sexual character. Pulpits are parodied for skimming over sexual issues with evasive wittiness. Expected laughter from the pew confirms the stereotype. Absence of a substantial and thorough evangelical theology of sexuality—or even a sound theology of our physical embodiment—is telltale evidence that this caricature of our uneasiness with sex is real. But this comical avoidance, and the attitude it betrays, is no joking matter in our present social climate. It’s an inexcusable offense that has surely offended our Creator for a long time. Immersed in this prudish mindset, past Bible teachers, if not lulled into Gnostic thinking themselves, have showed little concern for a creational view of the material world or for an incarnational view of the human body. The legacy of this doctrinal deficit sets an agenda for remedial theological work, starting with a godly, pure-minded attitude toward the body and its sexual physiology. Only divine truth about our sexual embodiment can drive out the false spirit of Gnostic prudery and body shame. 

His reference to divine truth is not one that is concealed for those lucky enough to have the secret insight. No, that would sound just like the Gnosticism we are siding against! He’s advocating for the simple truth revealed in God’s word and in the Edenistic ideal. He’s pleading for Christians to look beyond our culturally biased perceptions, and see humanity as God sees us.

Hatton does not trace the origin of this heresy back to the early church, but much earlier, as early as you could go… way back to Genesis and the creation story:

Three relationships simultaneously fell apart when Adam and Eve ignored God’s direct, personal guidance by imbibing that fruit: separation from God, discord with each other, and estrangement from their own bodies. Evangelical teaching on the restorative dimensions of Christ’s redemption focus almost exclusively on those first two categories. We basically ignore the third. But of the three, Adam and Eve’s bodily alienation was recorded as the first and immediate result of their gnosis-based independence in morally determining what was “good and evil.”

So this is not a new problem. It’s been around forever. It rears its ugly head and causes havoc upon all of humanity in its wake. All the ills of society, when you boil them down, are an affront to the image of God (imago dei) stamped both on our bodies and our souls. To ignore the issues of the body, is to surrender this part of ourselves to Satan’s plan and away from God’s design. So we reap what we sow, and living within the world’s system in a hyper-sex crazed culture (again, nothing new), we are forced to try to either frantically avoid all that is deemed as evil or succomb to it’s powerful allure.

Legalism or libertinism ensue. Angelism or animalism become the only apparent choices, neither one being the healthy alternative of a godly view of incarnational truth.

What’s the answer then? If this kind of thinking is so ingrained in us, how can we ever expect for the majority of Christians to experience an improved perspective? There simply are no easy answers. This view of the intertwining of body and soul is not a hidden truth. It’s been there all along! The serpent attacked the first moment he could, and he hit hard. Naturists don’t have secret knowledge. They are simply as body-friendly as God intended us to be. It’s not difficult when you accept the truth, it’s just agonizingly hard for many to see because we are blinded and conditioned by both society and by church teaching through man’s traditions.

You can read the whole of Hatton’s argument here, but I’ll close this article with this quote:

Having their sacred idol of a cultural body taboo prophetically smashed may be the need of some Christians. But the bulk of the church must be led gently, gradually. Habits of chewing legalistic fruit from “the ‘gnosis’ of good and evil” which perpetuates body shame are deep-seated. An iconoclasm of Gnostic attitudes must begin theologically and progress pastorally. What we must not do is to try preserving the status quo in a peaceful religious ghetto. God expects us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  We must work toward banishing Gnostic ideas from the Christian church, along with Gnostic porno-prudery. Both have clearly dishonored our Creator. Both have utterly failed to bring godly change to our sex-obsessed, sexually aberrant culture.

May we do our part to tactfully buck the system that has failed the world practically from the start. May we be advocates for a healthier and holier view of both body and soul.

Have you no shame?

Let me use this meme from our ever-growing memes page as a springboard for today’s post.

Have you no shame?

Why would I want any?

I absolutely love that attitude and believe it to be the godly response to an ungodly question. What really is a shame is that we as a society ask such questions and think this way. We’ve equated a portion of the image of God in us (the body) with the feeling caused by our wrongdoing. Allow me to try to explain a bit better…

It sounds a whole lot like the scene way back in Genesis with our first ancestors in Adam and Eve. Shame is not of God. However, it shows up on the scene fairly early in the human narrative. Let’s examine this phenomenon.

God utilized the refrain “it is good” after creating something, but after creating both the male and female form in his image, he says “it is very good” in Genesis 1:31. They are the crowning glory of creation and were so in the unclothed state in which we are born and the same state in which we shall depart this life (see Job 1:21).

Genesis 2:25 states that Adam and Eve were naked and without shame. In fact, shame did not exist at this time, neither did the concept of clothing, or the word “naked” when you think about it.

The crafty serpent convinces both Eve and Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were open to a whole new world. 

When a child does something strictly forbidden by their parent, what is the first thing they do? They want to hide the evidence, cover up the infraction, bury their face in their hands. Not much has changed.

Adam and Eve miss their regularly scheduled walk with God, so God calls out to them. They are hiding (Gen. 3:8-10). In my “Personal Manifesto of a Christian Naturist” point #11, I maintain that they covered themselves out of fear, not shame. The editor of fig leaf forum argued this point with a critic:

There we have it—right from the mouth of Adam. It wasn’t shame at all.
It was fear. They realized that they were vulnerable, open,
unprotected—and guilty—so they ‘covered’ themselves and hid. They were
attempting to cover and hide themselves from what and whom they feared
(Genesis 2.17; Genesis 3.9-10). I believe Scripture categorically
states within these passages that fear is what was motivating Adam and
Eve after their fall, not shame.

The text could easily have had Adam saying, “I was ashamed because I
was naked, so I hid.” Then my critic would have some ground to stand
on. But it doesn’t say that. The Hebrew word that is translated
“shame” in Genesis 2.25 occurs 114 times in the Old Testament, yet
it’s not used again to indicate shame until Judges 3.25! The text says
that Adam was “afraid.” The Hebrew word translated “afraid” in Genesis
3.10 occurs 192 more times in the Old Testament. Not once is it ever
translated as any word even remotely close to meaning “shame.”

Genesis 3.21 does indeed tell us that God clothed Adam and Eve with
“garments of skin.” Again, my critic seems to insinuate that mankind’s
shame was the motivation behind this action. If we are to rely
strictly upon what is actually revealed by Scripture in our search for
understanding, and not on tradition or presumption or speculation,
then I must conclude that there is no evidence that Adam and Eve were
ever ashamed of their nakedness. Not before the fall. Not after the
fall. Rather, they were fearful because they were naked. Are we then
to assume that God covered them because He was ashamed of their
nakedness? I don’t see how Scripture would support this possibility
either. Only two chapters earlier, in Genesis 1.31, “God saw all that
he had made, and it was very good.” Scripture says “all”—including the
naked man and the naked woman.

Humans are the only creatures that cover up. My dog may hide if he understands that I am displeased with him. My kids? Well, as a parent, I am more pleased by the better response of my kids owning up to their mistakes than hiding or trying to cover it up. There is something about being uncovered and laid bare before the one to whom we must give an account (Hebrews 4:13), because after all, nothing is ever hidden from God’s sight. It’s always better to be open and vulnerable, not just in the outer garments, but also in the inner spirit (which is of great worth in God’s sight – 1 Peter 3:4).

An example is from church history of genuine and complete openness devoid of shame would be in regards to baptism. Dr. Michael Wilson writes: In the first four centuries of the Church many of our Christian forbears found no contradiction whatsoever between nakedness at worship, and holiness. Rather, they found deep theological significance in nakedness at baptismal rites. These were not private occasions. Baptismal candidates found themselves ‘naked in the sight of all, and unashamed,’ as Cyril of Alexandria reminds his flock.1

Our experience at naturist parks and nude beaches is that shame is practically absent. What’s often in its place is an innocent joy. In this regard, it’s really quite different than the public pool or a “textile” beach. This is one of the parts of the lifestyle that I love so much! We can be naked and unashamed and full of joy and life. It’s almost as if it’s the way we were created! In a fallen world, can we restore the innocence of Eden? Jesus says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

We hold on to that promise, knowing that we too are being made new. The sins we commit in the body are forgiven and removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Jesus bore our guilt and our shame and nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). We can live free in the knowledge and experience of close relationship with the God of Eden, without the need to hide a thing.

Are there verses that equate nakedness with shame? I would say no, but others who only look on the surface, would say yes. However, upon closer examination, taking the verses in context, you will discover that there is always something else at play that is causing the shame other than the simple state of nakedness. (Read this article from nakedandunashamed.org about each of these verses.)

Much can be said on this subject, and semantics do play a part. However, the subtle distinction between fear and shame, hiding from nakedness or because of wrongdoing is an important one. David L. Hatton puts this whole scene from the fall in such beautiful poetic form:

ORIGIN OF BODY SHAME

Dressed up as a serpent in crafty disguise,
A demon attempted, by using his lies,
To blot out the beautiful image that God
Had made of Himself out of hand-woven sod.

As naked as truth from the day of their birth,
And destined by God to be rulers of earth,
Both Adam and Eve were alive by God’s breath,
But Satan used knowledge to put them to death.

The serpentine liar pretended to heal
Their blind faith in God for what’s moral and real.
His trick by that Gnostic fruit opened their eyes,
Remaking their minds independently wise.

“You see for yourself, God left both of you nude!
Your unhidden bodies are shamefully lewd!”
Our first parents listened to what Satan said,
For now their life-bond to the Maker was dead.

The diet of conscience controls how it guides,
Which sins it allows, or what goodness it hides.
So, God found and asked them, with leaves round their waist,
“Who said you were naked? What fruit did you taste?”

Some call it God’s will to keep chewing that fruit,
Embracing its scruples in zealous pursuit,
Maligning His gift of our wonderful skin
By calling the sight of its nudity sin.

But others discover a godlier view,
Rejecting this prudery’s body taboo,
Resisting the porn that is wedded to shame
Passed on from the devil’s original claim.

These temples are sacred, not sordid, unclean.
If you would be holy, don’t call them obscene.
Our hearts can be dirty, or lustful and bad,
But bodies are closest to truth when unclad.

— David L. Hatton, 1/23/2009from Poems Between Birth and Resurrection ©2013 by David L. Hatton (www.pastordavidrn.com)

_____________________

1 Margaret R Miles, Carnal Knowing – Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West. (Boston: Beacon Press. 1989) p 33