Nudity ~ Sacred and Sexual
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12 – 13
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)
The human body is nothing of which to be ashamed. Different cultures hide different parts of the body. And different cultures have different approaches to the covering or uncovering of the body.
We have looked at some of the many instances of nudity in the Word of God. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:25), the prophet Isaiah walking naked through the land for three years (Isaiah 20:2), Micah going about barefoot and naked (Micah 1:8), Saul prophesying naked, (I Samuel 19:23-24), the nearly nude King David dancing before the ark (2 Samuel 6:14), the young man nude in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52), Peter fishing nude (John 21:4-8), and finally Jesus purchased our salvation naked on the cross. It is clear that social nudity is not automatically sinful.
Our Most Sacred and Sensitive Parts
But sinful or not, there are parts that we usually choose to cover up. Why? We sometimes keep them secret for two sensible reasons. Not because they are sexual, or shameful. We usually chose to cover them because they are sacred, and sensitive. Women got boobs; men got balls; both things you don’t want to have knocked around.
The unclothed body
is not shameful.
It is not
But it is
The sacred aspect is very important to understand. We don’t do our sexual activities in private because they are shameful; we do them in private because they are sacred! And we don’t choose to cover the parts we usually cover because they are shameful, or even because they are sexual; when we cover them we do so because they are sacred. And in some situations, it is not necessary to keep the sacred parts secret; certainly within marriage for instance. And the association of nudity with sexuality is not absolute. We allow ourselves the liberty of being nude before a doctor and that is certainly not a sexual situation. And we are sometimes naked before members of the same gender in a sports locker room. In some more open cultures mixed genders in public saunas is accepted practice. And in sacred art nudity is often openly and unashamedly portrayed. Is the fully nude statue of David offensive to anyone? Why would it be? It is a masterpiece!
The naked human form is a thing of great beauty, and can be a joy to behold whether in our art, or in real life which is God’s art. Each of us is a living breathing sculpture, formed by God’s own hand. Our bodies are God’s artistic masterpiece, and sometimes for cultural reasons we unnecessarily keep that beauty continually covered. The instant sexualizing of the naked human body is more a cultural invention than a Christian imperative. And a hint, or a peek, is quite often more enticing than full exposure.
Sometimes our skin just wants to breathe. Ever gone skinny dipping? It is a joyous liberating experience. When Jamie Buckingham, a great writer from the Charismatic movement, climbed to the top of Mt. Sinai with a group of friends the splendor of the sight and the experience was so great his first instinct was to take off all his clothes and sit naked before God. Wonderful!
What great tragedy would occur if I saw your boobs or you saw my balls? Oh I see, I might enjoy the view?
The Sexuality of the Human Form
And good grief, what is this hang-up over the sexuality of the human form anyway? We notice. If a person looks nice, if they have an attractive face and a pleasant figure - we notice. That is not lust. It is just part of being human. Get over it.
Ok, you feel a sexual stirring. So what! A stirring is just a stirring. Enjoy being fully alive, being fully male, or being fully female. Don’t make too much of it. Just don’t take it beyond legitimate boundaries.
What About Lust?
We have many false, damaging and defectively inadequate definitions of lust. “Lust is looking.” “Lust is the second glance.” In the Word of God lust is defined as looking with intent. Not looking with interest, or appreciation, but with intent - the intention to take it beyond the barriers of legitimacy into the area of sexual sin. Sometimes a second glance is just an appreciation of the splendid beauty of God’s creation. Many look, enjoy the view with purity of heart, and even though they are without any sinful intent they feel guilty and condemned. That is just silly. Too many live with unnecessary guilt. Just because they live in a physical body they live with unnecessary constant condemnation.
The unclothed body is not shameful. It is not always sexual. But it is always sacred.
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Christians Enjoying Nudity and Erotica
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.