IS NAKEDNESS A SIN?
The following conversation between Jesus and his disciples:
His disciples asked,
When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?
Jesus answered, When you disrobe without being ashamed and take
up your garments and place them under your feet like little children
and tread on them, then will you see the son of the Living One,
and you will not be afraid.[
I've heard that sometimes... "Don't you know that nakedness is a sin? Adam sinned and was ashamed of his nakedness. God saw fit to clothe Adam to cover the shame of his body and exposing ourselves to other people is a sin!"
There is only one response to this.
You are absolutely right! Adam through his sin, was ashamed of his nakedness. You believe that this is still the case, but I have good news to declare to you! Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, gave himself as a ransom sacrifice to redeem us from the sin of Adam and to fulfill the Law of Moses. Adam's shame is no longer upon us.
Why haven't you ever heard that in Church, I wonder?
Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Just like ideas like men wearing skirts, this society frowns on nakedness, considering it 'indecent'. This is an aftertaste of Victorian prudishness, however, and not entirely Adam's fault.
It's interesting to note God's response to Adam's shame: Genesis 3:11 "And he said, "Who told you that you were naked?"
Since there weren't any other people, who were they hiding from? From God. They weren't spiritually mature enough to appreciate that we are ALL naked in the sight of God. God can see you naked right now. Kinda creepy, ain't it? God made garments of skins for Adam, but the Bible does not say the state of nakedness is being condemned. Because of the Fall, Adam and Eve were no longer in Eden and were thus subject to the varieties of weather and climate, and God knew they would need clothes. God loved and cared for them even after they had sinned.
Some interesting questions arise in the context of Genesis. If I am created in God's Image, who can call the Image of God shameful or sinful? If I am created in God's Image, who would call that image indecent except for the Evil One? If God made Man in His image, how can the image of God be obscene? How can you say that the creation of God is obscene? Only the Devil would say that any part of the creation of God is evil or obscene. In Isaiah 20, the prophet Isaiah goes about prophesying for three years while naked. Was the prophet of God a pervert?
The human body is the final Creation of God. We are the pinnacle of Creation. Did God do such a bad job as an artist and a creator that we have to hide his work from public view?
If you still think that nakedness is a sin, consider that in all of the Law of Moses there is no injunction on nudity itself. There is no, "Thou shall not go naked!" law.
Most Christians today are unaware of major chunks of history - and major portions of the Bible. This isn't really their fault, though. The social clubs of spiritual famine that pass for Churches in the modern era just teach obedience and conformity while vampiric priests sink twin fangs of guilt and sin into the parishioners and suck the joy out of their lives. Keeping the idea alive that our very bodies ARE A SIN is in the best interest of controlling the masses.
For those who wish to educate themselves, here are some relative tidbits:
Old Testament ceremonial washings, including baptism, were performed in the nude. (See Miles, Margaret R. Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West. Boston: Beacon, 1989, page 34.
Saul prophesied naked.
1 Samuel 19 23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel's presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"
David danced with hid genitals exposed.
2 Samuel 6: 14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might.... (An ephod is a tshirt that comes down to the hips.) ...20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" 21 David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD's people Israel - I will celebrate before the LORD . 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor." 23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.
Isaiah prophesied naked for three years at the command of God.
Isaiah 20 2 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, "Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet." And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot. 3 Then the LORD said, "Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush,
Micah did the same thing.
Micah 1:8 Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot
and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl.
For the first several centuries of Christianity, it was the custom to baptize men, women, and children together nude. This ritual played a very significant role in the early church. The accounts are numerous and detailed. Margaret Miles notes that "naked baptism was observed as one of the two essential elements in Christian initiation, along with the invocation of the Trinity. . . . In the fourth century instructions for baptism throughout the Roman Empire stipulated naked baptism without any suggestion of innovation or change from earlier practices." A typical historical account comes from Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop of Jerusalem from A.D. 387 to 417: "Immediately, then, upon entering, you remove your tunics. . . . You are now stripped and naked, in this also imitating Christ despoiled of His garments on His Cross, He Who by His nakedness despoiled the principalities and powers, and fearlessly triumphed over them on the Cross." After baptism, and clothed in white albs, St. Cyril would say: "How wonderful! You were naked before the eyes of all and were not ashamed! Truly you bore the image of the first-formed Adam, who was naked in the garden and was not ashamed." J.C. Cunningham notes that "there is nothing in the present rubrics of the Roman rite against doing this today. In fact, in the Eastern rites the rubrics even state the option of nude adult baptism."
One may note the comments of Pope John Paul II in this matter: "The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendor and its beauty... Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness... Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person...The human body is not in itself shameful... Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person
John the Deacon, in about 500 A.D., wrote: "They are commanded to go in naked, even down to their feet, so that [they may show that] they have put off the earthly garments of mortality. The church has ordained these things for many years with watchful care, even though the old books may not reveal traces of them." (Miles 34) St. Hippolytus, presbyter of Rome circa 215 A.D., said that total nudity was required. The rule ordered, "let no one go down to the water having any alien object with them," and directs women to remove even their jewelry and the combs from their hair." There are many theories as to the reason nudity was an important part of early Christian baptism. Most interpret nudity as symbolic of spiritual rebirth in the Christian faith. Margaret Miles explains that it symbolized "death to former commitments and socialization and birth to a new existence. . . . The stripping of clothing followed by nakedness . . . was a paradigm of the deconstruction of secular socialization." (Miles 36) Alternatively, but in a similar vein, Jonathan Smith writes: "Being naked and without shame [in baptism] is . . . a typological return to the state of Adam and Eve before the Fall."
"There is no connection between sex and violence.
The very use of the phrase "sex and violence" is deceptive and
manipulative because it is a deliberate attempt to link two unrelated things
that the alarmists have moral reservations about, which they hope they
can cause other people to join them in...."
Repressive morality was developed by the state and the Church as a tool to maintain control over otherwise free individuals. Seymour Fisher writes: "The implications of nudity as a way of declaring one's complete freedom have often elicited strong countermeasures from those in authority. Nudity is punishable by death in some cultures. The Roman Catholic church has taught in convent schools that it is sinful to expose your body even to your own eyes. The wearing of clothes represents a form of submission to prevailing mores. It is like putting on a 'citizen's uniform' and agreeing to play the game." Repressive morality has often sought to control not only nudity, but sexuality in general. Margaret Miles observes that "the regulation of sexuality was a major power issue in the fourth-century Christian churches. Regulation of sexual practices was a way to inject the authority of church laws and leaders into the intimate and daily relationships of Christians.
Don Mackenzie notes that Christ and the very earliest church, in contrast, emphasized a message of freedom--"from demonic powers, from tyrannical governments, from fate. . . . [and] a prevailing commitment to the separation of secular and ecclesiastical power. . . . [The Church] adopted asceticism, not in obedience to its founder's teachings but as a bid for support in the face of competition, offering spiritual solace to people whose material world (the Roman Empire) was collapsing. Once the Church was officially recognized, it promptly discarded Christ's dedication to poverty, but it clung tightly to sexual asceticism as a disciplinary tool in a disintegrating society."
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Every Christian has heard this scripture:
Matthew 22 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the
Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first
and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor
as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Has this changed in modern times? Well, a little bit. Pope John Paul II agrees that nudity, in and of itself, is not sinful. "The human body in itself always has its own inalienable human dignity," he says. It is only obscene when it is reduced to "an object of 'enjoyment,' meant for the gratification of concupiscence itself."
Many historical church leaders have disassociated nudity with sexual immodesty. St. Thomas Aquinus, for example, defined an immodest act as one done with a lustful intention. Therefore, someone who disrobes for the sole purpose of bathing or recreating cannot be accused of immodesty. Pope John Paul II writes: "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 in which even total nudity of the body is not immodest."