Can a Christian, or anybody else for that matter, be a nudist (or naturist)? Let us take time to examine the truth found in God’s Word, the Bible. It is the final authority in any matter, at least for the Christian, and we must abide by whatever it says.
The idea behind nudism is to say, “as I stand here naked, even before others, I’m not afraid to be all that I am,” and to understand that the nude human body is not indecent. It is part of the person. Nudism is based on openness, honesty, and trust. Some people use nudism to fulfill their sexual lusts, and evil desires, but as a man of God, I stand against them. I am thoroughly opposed to their misuse of this wholesome way of life.
As we read in Genesis, God created man and placed him in a perfect environment where He might fellowship with them. They fellowshipped with God day after day in complete openness, honesty, and trust, shown by their complete nakedness before God and each other. Before Adam and Eve sinned they “were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Gen. 2:25) Why didn’t they feel shame? Because “To the pure all things are pure…” (Titus 1:15) and “everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving…” (1 Tim. 4:4)
They did not hide because they did not have a reason to. Living naked before God, and each other, was right (or righteous) and good. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) So Adam and Eve were pure and good and had no reason to hide. They did not even realize they were naked because it was normal; it was just the way God made them. “But, sin seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in…” them a “…covetous desire” to have that which God had forbidden. (Rom. 7:8)
Through doubt, and unbelief, they sinned, and “Then the eyes of them were opened and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen. 3:7) One translation renders it “aprons” implying that even Eve only covered the lower half of her body but not her breasts.
But what was the reason for “covering” “themselves?” Adam said, “…I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Gen. 3:10) And “…they hid from the Lord God…” (Gen. 3:10) Why? Because of fear.
“…Fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18) They were afraid of the consequences of their sin, so they tried to “hide” themselves from God, for they felt shame and “guilt for improper behavior.” It did them no good though because “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13)
So now we come to the place where we find God looking for his children. And God called to them saying, “Where are you?” It wasn’t that God did not know where they were, he was wanting them to acknowledge the truth i.e. “to give an account,” and “confess their sin.”
Having found them hiding He asks, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Gen. 3:11) Notice here that God never told them they were naked. God had created man for open, honest, and intimate fellowship, as well as for a display of His glory and might, but because of fear, Adam sought to cover his own shame and hide.
In so doing, he was actually acknowledging that he was unwilling to be open and honest with the Lord. He did not trust God to deal with him in love, but “was afraid” of God’s wrath. For again, “…fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18)
Instead of hiding, they should have run to the loving arms of their Savior and sought His forgiveness. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Pro. 28:13) They should have stayed naked before Him, “confessing and renouncing” their sin, understanding that “God is love!” (1 John 4:16) (For a Biblical definition of love, see 1 Cor. 13:4-8 and Rom. 13:10.)
After God pronounced the curses on them, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Gen. 3:21) The Lord God showed them mercy by providing for them in the midst of their punishment. In leaving “Paradise” they would no longer be in the perfect environment they had known all their lives, but would now be exposed to ever-changing weather conditions.
Their need to be clothed was part of the curse that came on them, because if they had not sinned they would not have had to leave “Paradise” and would have remained “naked, and not ashamed” in continued unbroken fellowship with the Lord God. We therefore no longer need to be ashamed, but can once again stand naked before God, and even man, and not be ashamed.
Let’s remember that it was when “they made clothes for themselves” that they were separating themselves from God. It was their righteousness they were promoting and not the Lord’s. They established a human regulation (or “tradition”) whereby we are “afraid” to be open and honest with others as to who or what we really are. Clothing still serves to “hide” us from the intimate relationships with others that God intended.
Of coarse there are many practical times to be clothed, but society has gone to the extreme. It now declares our bodies are indecent and obscene, and forces people to “hide.” Their idea is that all nudity is sensual, sexual, perverted or depraved, and that is because “…to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” (Titus 1:15)
Not only does the body suffer from such an attitude but also one’s whole being. Clothing is a necessity, but like food, we don’t need it all the time and our bodies, including the way others and we see them, will suffer with unnecessary, prolonged, or excessive use.
Our whole being will benefit with the correct use of our bodies as God designed. The argument that we be clothed to protect others and ourselves from sensuality and lust just does not work. “Do not let anyone take you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Col. 2:8) “Such regulations indeed have the appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Col. 2:23) According to these verses, laws do not “restrain sensuality.”
“…I am fully convinced that nothing is unclean of itself. But if someone considers something unclean then for him it is unclean.” (Rom. 14:14) Many people are trying to teach us that our bodies, or certain parts of our bodies, are somehow unclean. With such thinking, being seen, or seeing others naked means we are somehow depraved, or that it will lead to depravity.
These teachers “promise freedom” from depravity through being clothed. “They [false teachers] promise freedom, while they themselves are slaves to depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” (2 Peter 2:19-20)
The truth is, nudity is not “unclean of itself.” Nudity becomes “unclean” through it’s misuse. Take for example sex. Sex is a wonderful gift from God that is intended for one man and one woman within the bonds of marriage. Pornography, which is an exploitation of that gift, is a misuse of sex. That misuse makes it wrong. Should we, who have a right to sex, be outlawed from it because others misuse it? No!
Here is another example. When a person drives a car drunk, it is a misuse of their car and their driving privileges. Drunk drivers have caused great injury and harm to many people, and we therefore pass laws against driving drunk. Even so, we do not outlaw either cars or driving.
Now let’s apply these ideas to nudity. Many “anti-nudity” laws have tried to outlaw nudity altogether simply because some people misuse nudity for their perversions. With such laws every nude person is deemed a pervert and/or criminal. The laws should really be against those who misuse nudity; those who commit lewd acts, and who are causing injury and harm to others.
Just being nude is not lewd or impure. “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:15) We have been made clean through the blood of Jesus Christ. And only in understanding that truth, in a clothing optional environment, will people know the full freedom and benefits of the correct use of their bodies.
Satan, and man through sin, has perverted the good things of God so much, that now when we see the truth, it appears not to make any sense. Being naked before God and man has become foolishness. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.” (1 Cor.1:28-29)
“…Boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16) When we are stripped of our clothing we have no reason to boast, for then all that we are is what God made us to be – his good and “wonderfully made” creation. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” (Isa. 5:20)
We will end by remembering that Jesus Christ, who was God before the foundation of the world, is clothed in nothing but a brilliant light, the splendor of His own glory. “O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment;…” (Ps. 104:1-2) “His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.” (Hab. 3:4) He needs no external garment, which is meant to hide the truth. “I am The Truth.” (John 14:6)
When He came to earth as a man, He “stripped” Himself of His heavenly glory, and He gave up all that was His, which is everything. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” (1 Cor. 8:9)
When it was time for Him to depart, He prayed, “…Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had before the world began.” (John 17:5) Then He was beaten and mocked and hung naked on a cross. “…there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…” (Isa. 52:14) “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ ” (John 19:23)
Though He was in full view of everyone, He did not “hide,” and He was not ashamed.
Now, I hope you understand that the only required clothing is Jesus Christ Himself. All else is vanity. For those who do not believe, you’d better get dressed in Christ, or your shame will not be covered or hid, even by your high moral standards and right living (your “fig leaf apron”).
For those who are (clothed) in Christ, there is no shame or reason to hide, therefore you can be “naked and not ashamed.” “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than… ‘the Good News that Jesus is the Christ,’ (Acts 5:42) …let Him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:9)
If it has not been made it abundantly clear. It is the misuse of nudity, and also of clothing, that is wrong. And, being clothed in Jesus Christ is a requirement, for we will not be accepted by God any other way. So, even now, God is looking for you, to fellowship with you. He is calling out, “where are you,” “what have you done?” and He knows, but you must not doubt God’s love for you, as did Adam and Eve. You must come forward and confess your sin. Let Him remove the fig leaves, and clothe you with His sacrifice – the Lord Jesus Christ.