Is nudity approved by God?
(As posted on www.naturist-christians.com as late as February 15, 2014)
A question that is often asked, is does God approve of nudity? We believe He does, in fact that's the founding principal behind this website. Through the lists of scripture below, we aim to show that nudity was an everyday part of life in Biblical times, in fact one of the disciples fished without clothing in front of Jesus.
Scriptures Involving Nakedness In The Bible
(Genesis 2:25, 3:11) God never told Adam and Eve they were naked.
(Genesis 3:7, 3:11) Man clothed himself after he sinned, because of fear and as a self-righteous act to redeem himself.
(Genesis 1:31) God declared His handiwork, including the nude human figure, is "very good".
(Micah 1:8 ) Prophets were known for prophesying in the nude.
(1 Samuel 19:23-24) Saul, Samuel and all those who went before him, prophesied naked "all day long" after the Holy Spirit of God came on them.
(Isaiah 20:2-4) Isaiah was commanded by God to go naked before everyone for 3 years as a sign. God who hates sin does not command people to something sinful or wrong.
(2 Samuel 6:14) David danced naked, i.e. wearing a vest (or "linen ephod") before all Israel as an "act of worship" to God. Michal claimed he was acting as a "vulgar man would," but was cursed for her rebukes.
(Mark 14:51) A follower of Jesus fled naked from the Garden of Gethsemane during the arrest. He had come out to see it, dressed only in a light linen night covering.
(John 19:23) Jesus was hung on the cross completely naked, the way Romans crucified all their victims.
(John 21:7) Peter, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, fished naked, and was doing so when Jesus came to him after he was resurrected. It was customary for people to work without the encumbrance of clothing in those days.
(Galatians 5:16; Titus 1:15) A transformed, purified heart is stronger than clothing, to keep you free from lust and sin.
(Matthew 25:41-43) There is no sin in being homeless, hungry, thirsty or even naked here. The sin is in seeing a need and choosing not to fill it. Those who were naked were so because of poverty. It is similar to our homeless people today.
Scriptures That Support Naturism
(Exodus 22:26-27) God's focus here is on the man's comfort when he sleeps in the cool of the evening rather than on the fact that he might be naked during the daylight hours.
(1 Samuel 19:23-24) The sense of the story is that public nudity was common and expected of the Hebrew prophets, and even served as a standard professional practice.
(Isaiah 20:2-4) Isaiah, the prophet, was commanded by God to go naked for three years as a witness against Egypt, of the shame they would suffer for not obeying God, and God would not command someone to sin. The shame they would suffer was not due to being naked, but rather not being able to care for their own bodies.
(1 Timothy 4:4) In 1 Timothy, he gives instructions as to HOW we should dress, not THAT we should dress. It's a fine line, but it's quite distinct. To give another example, he gives many directions as to HOW we are to treat slaves; but he doesn't anywhere say THAT we should have slaves. See the difference?
(Revelation 3:17) In these last two verses, obviously clothing doesn't even cover your spiritual nakedness.
(Revelation 3:4,5,18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9,13,14) Clean, white clothing in the book of Revelation is consistently a symbol of religious and moral purity, especially in the face of persecution (3:18; 4:4; 6:11; 7:9, 13), while soiled or disheveled clothing, or no clothing at all, is a symbol of religious and moral impurity and shame (3:17-18; 16:15).
What Then Are We Instructed To Clothe Ourselves In?
(1 Timothy 2:9-10) Dressing modestly, in this case, means "don't dress up" in order to show off.
Clothes During Biblical Times
In Greek (New Testament era) the common garment is called a himation. The himation was typically the only and single garment owned by the common majority in those times (recall the Law of Moses commandment against keeping a debtor's garment, Exodus 22:26-27). More wealthy persons also could own a chiton, made of linen. In the Old Testament, wealthy persons and royalty also possessed multiple garments. The garment industry slowly developed in the ancient Near East over the period between 4,000 BC to the time of Christ, as the population increased, and the economy made it feasible. Clothing was worn for warmth, to show that a man had married a woman (Ezekiel 16:7-8 ), and to show prestige (as in Joseph's coat of many colors), but not to hide "private parts." That came later with the teaching of the Gnostics and later, Augustine.
Historically, underwear as we understand it first came into general use only about 200 years ago (see The Importance of Wearing Clothes by Lawrence Langner, 1991 edition, chapter 16). Thus, lacking underwear, when people removed their himation (and chiton if they had one) they would inevitably have been totally naked.