Saturday, July 25, 2009

Asking the Right Question — Part 2.

My last post (What DOES God think about my body?) opened with the idea that many people ask the wrong question, so they tend to get the wrong answer.

Well, this is the same song, second verse.

When it comes to the question of social nudity, most people approach God’s Word asking this question:

“Where in the Bible does it ever condone social nudity??”

But that may not be the right question. An alternative question would be:

“Where in the Bible does it ever condemn social nudity??”

Interestingly enough, the honest answer to both questions is probably “Nowhere.” God never prescribes nor prohibits social nudity.

It is no surprise that non-naturists ask the first question, while naturists ask the second one. The result is, of course, that both feel their position is vindicated by the obvious answer – “Nowhere” – because it affirms them in their beliefs.

But simple logic tells us that both cannot be correct, for the two conclusions are diametrically opposed to one another. One of the parties is asking the wrong question. Naturally then, that party is also getting the wrong answer.

Let’s put the questions on trial... and see which one proves to be the impostor.

Question Number 1... Tell us your presuppositions!

  • I presume that if God does not condone something, He must condemn it.

  • I presume that if most people believe something is wrong, that it must be wrong unless the Bible tells us otherwise.

Question Number 2... Tell us your presuppositions!

  • I presume that God has revealed to us those things which are offensive to him.

  • I presume that the measure of moral absolutes is not the opinion of the majority, but the express revelation of God.

Are there any witnesses?

Question Number 2 responds... “I have a witness, your Honor.”

Question Number 2... You may call your witness.

I call Pastor Charles Swindoll to the stand. Tell us, Mr. Swindoll, How can we know if something is morally wrong from our study of the Scriptures?

  • Nothing that is not specifically designated as evil in Scripture is evil — but rather a matter of one’s personal preference or taste.” (commenting on Romans 14:13-18 in his book The Grace Awakening, Word Publishing, 1990 – p. 167)

Question Number 1... Have you any witness?

I have no witness, your Honor.

Ok, I have to break character here and apologize to those who support Question Number 1 as the correct question. I acknowledge here that I do not know of any credible bible teacher who would support the presuppositions which undergird Question Number 1. And I’m unwilling to fabricate one which would surely be seen as a “Straw Man.” Honestly, I would welcome the responses from anyone who would wish to bring a witness in support of it. Having said that... I return to the “trial.”

The Judge has issued a ruling:

Question Number 1 has been found wanting. It is the opinion of the court that the burden of proof must lay with the one who claims that God is offended by a practice, not on those who claim God’s neutrality on the practice.

Furthermore, the court would reject any claim that the Bible is silent on the issue of social nudity because nudity was not an issue in Bible times. Every human being that has ever lived has had to face the question of how to treat his or her own nudity. The notion that God simply neglected to inform humanity that they must always keep their bodies covered is simply not credible.

God has given us all we need to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3). Since God gave us no instructions requiring clothing to live a righteous life, then we have no Scriptural basis to claim that clothing is required for righteousness. God’s intentional silence on the topic speaks volumes.

Question Number 1 presumes that we know God’s mind and will for mankind instinctively. It presumes that the mind of man naturally perceives God’s moral law without God actively communicating it. This is in direct conflict with God’s Word in Isaiah 55:8-9...

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Question Number 1 will not lead us to a trustworthy answer.

However, the court also acknowledges that Question Number 2 is not the end of the discussion; it is simply the right question as we begin an exploration of the topic at hand.

This ruling only allows the discussion to remain open, for there is much more biblical instruction to consider.

Your Honor, may I indulge the court with some further discussion?” (Question Number 2 has spoken)

Question Number 2, what else do you have to add?

I would like the opportunity to address the challenge raised by Question Number 1”

Do you mean to say that you believe that God does condone social nudity in the Bible?

Yes, your Honor, I do. And I believe that I can demonstrate it.”

I was under the impression that it had been agreed that the answer to both questions was “Nowhere.” But now you are claiming you can demonstrate that’s not the case? Sounds like a rather difficult proposition to prove.

I know, your Honor. The English translation of the Bible actually obscures the implications of a passage of Scripture written by the Apostle Paul. However, those implications would have been abundantly clear to the original audience who heard or read the text in Greek.”

Very well. I will grant this petition. Court is adjourned until the next Blog Post.

— Matthew Neal —


3 comments:

Boyd Allen said...

So what is really in question then, is not number one or number two, but by the fact that number one was mislead by a translation that "obscures the implications of a passage of Scripture", but the scriptures itself, or the poor translation of scripture.

Both question one and two as well as the court, is a victim of poor translations.

Or so this article seems to lead me to think.

Boyd

Matthew Neal said...

Hey, Boyd. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

I am not trying to throw stones at the translators by my final paragraphs above. The fact is that the passage I'm going to be writing about is correctly translated, it's just that the Greek word has clear implication to the Greek hearer, but the English word -- even though it is the correct word to use -- does not have that same implication to the modern mind.

I just put that little bit in there as a teaser for my next post.

I will say this, however... the passage I have in mind is not one that I have ever seen any other naturist use to demonstrate the Bible condoning social nudity. However, from my perspective, there is no stronger evidence for it anywhere else in the Scriptures. But I'll explain it more clearly in my next blog post.

Matt

bornnude (bn2benude) said...

Matt,

This is all well thought out. I'm looking forward to the rest...