Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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 (Gen. 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) (Gen. 9:5).
  • God’s original design for human society was complete nudity (Gen. 2:25).
    • The creation, as God pronounced it (with the first couple completely nude) was “very good!” (Gen. 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 (Gen. 3:6-7).
    • God’s question to Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” was not an affirmation, it was a rebuke (Gen. 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.” (Gen. 2:24) Through this union, He expected them to obey His command to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen. 1:28, Gen. 9:1)
    • This plurality-expressed-as–a-unity (which may mirror the unity-in-plurality of the triune Godhead – Gen. 1:26 Gen. 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 (Isa. 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 (Gen. 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 (Gen. 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 (Gen. 3:6-7).
    • Satan was the “who” of Who told you [Adam] that you were naked?” (Gen. 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 5:21, 1 John 2:2, 1 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 (Gen. 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.” (Gen. 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 (Gen. 1:26-27,31, Gen. 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


See also:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Voice of Reason and Truth!

The Naturist Living Podcast has been around for a while. I’ve listened to a few of them. They’re good and informative. But this time, Stéphane Deschênes, the creator of the podcast, produced a masterpiece. (Stéphane Deschênes is owner of the Bare Oaks Naturist Family Naturist Park, and President of Federation of Canadian Naturists)

His topic for Episode #27 was Pornography.

Most non-naturists think that pornography is really just about nudity… consequently, the practice of naturism is presumed to be “live pornography.” Those who participate in naturism, it is assumed, are voyeurs and exhibitionists. Ultimately, if people are naked with other naked people, it will invariably result in an orgiastic frenzy… or so goes the fantasy.

That is a fantasy that the porn industry is delighted that people believe. If people really understood the truth, they would be embracing naturism as the best practical antidote to pornography available to us today!

As Mr. Deschênes so aptly points out in the podcast, Naturism is the antithesis of pornography!

I can think of several ways that this is true…

  • Pornography degrades and objectifies women and their bodies;
    • Naturism honors the goodness of the entire woman… including her body, and refuses to sexually objectify any body part!
  • Pornography promotes a man’s unrestrained conquest of a woman’s sexuality;
    • Naturism demands a man’s conquest of himself and his own sexuality (also called “self-control”… a fruit of the Spirit!).
  • Pornography exhibits that which is perverse and unnatural (some of it is unspeakably degrading);
    • Naturism experiences that which is utterly natural (sun, wind, and water caressing the naturally unadorned human body).
  • Pornography inhibits and damages relationships;
    • Naturism fosters openness and relational unity.
  • Pornography tells lies about the body and sexuality;
    • Naturism lives the truth of who we really are as human beings.

The best antidote to pornography is not the judicious covering of parts of our bodies, but the frank and natural exposure of our bodies in non-sexual, mixed-gender contexts. How else will young men learn that the female body is actually the embodiment of a real person? How else will the young woman really and truly understand that her body is fine the way it is… and that the objectifying treatment she receives from men is not “just the way guys are,” but actually the rejection of her true dignity as a young woman?

Mr. Deschênes also makes another claim that I’ve been trying very hard to communicate… that the real basis for sexual arousal is relational rather than visual… even for men!!! The believe that men are “visually aroused” is a conditioned response that has been unwittingly planted and cultivated by the historical church’s prudery, then fertilized, watered, and harvested by the porn industry.

It has been disheartening to me how pervasive this lie is in our culture. Sadly… it’s still believed even by many naturists, despite the fact that their naturist experiences argue powerfully against it.

The best antidote to this lie is not to limit nudity to contexts where sex is the expected activity, but the frank and natural exposure of our bodies in non-sexual, mixed-gender contexts. How else will the nudity/sex conditioning be broken?

Tragically, in our culture today, the very best solution to the porn problem is so closely linked to pornography in people’s minds that they never even consider it as a solution! I have no admiration for the enemy of our souls, but I have to acknowledge the wild success of this, his strategy to keep people bound to the lies of pornography.

It’s good to hear another voice speaking the truth in the face of porn’s lies.

I encourage you to go to the Naturist Living website and listen to the podcast. Or, if you want to download the audio, you can find it here: Naturist Living Podcast #27 - Pornography (mp3 format).

Several of my previous posts speak directly to the issues raised by Mr. Deschênes. You might want to review these articles:

Thank you again, Mr. Deschênes.

— Matthew Neal