“What does the Bible say about nudity?”

Many pagan cultures throughout history considered public nudity normative, especially Spartan, Greek, and Roman societies. In more recent years, pubic nudity has become more and more acceptable, with many groups promoting a “back-to-nature” philosophy and the supposed health benefits of taking off one’s clothes. Nudists, or naturists, form clubs, frequent clothing-free beaches, and engage in activities ranging from hiking to horseback riding au naturel.

Although the world’s standards may permit or even encourage nudity, the Bible has a different perspective. It is true that the first humans were created unclothed by God (Genesis 2:25). Adam and Eve were innocent in their nakedness, but after the fall everything changed. When they sinned, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). Never before had they realized they were unclothed—the concepts of “clothed” and “unclothed” were meaningless to them. Sin affected their hearts and minds, creating vulnerability, guilt, and shame, and these things produced fear (verse 10). In their attempt to cover their spiritual shame, Adam and Eve intuitively covered their bodies. We should note that, when God took away their fig leaves—a sadly inadequate covering—He replaced them with something more permanent—animal skins (verse 21). Thus, God regarded clothing as appropriate and necessary in a fallen world.

Nudity now has implications of sinfulness attached to it. With few exceptions, the Bible presents nakedness as shameful and degrading (Genesis 9:21;Exodus 20:26;32:25; 2 Chronicles 28:19; Isaiah 47:3; Ezekiel 16:35-36; Luke 8:27; Revelation 3:17; 16:15; 17:16). The only passages in which nudity is free of shame are those that describe Eden’s idyllic setting or that deal with marital relations (Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Solomon 4).

We still live in a fallen world, surrounded by lust, immorality, and perversion. The innocence of Eden is gone. Naturist philosophy ignores the results of the fall. Even in “asexual” contexts, public displays of nudity dishonor God by pretending an innocence which no longer exists. A Christian should definitely not be a nudist or participate in nudist activities

About Dr. Mike Harmon

Dr. Harmon began preaching at the age of 15 while living in southern California. He has conducted over 600 revivals and evangelistic campaigns nationwide, and has served as Senior Pastor at seven churches. Dr. Harmon has degrees from Central Baptist College, the University of Central Arkansas, and a Ph.D. From the Christian Bible College and Seminary. He has served as trustee for Southeastern Baptist College and Chairman of the trustees for the BMA Theological Seminary. He also served as Chaplain for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas State Senate. His many sermons and articles on Christian Apologetics are widely published. He is married to one wife of 43 years; has two sons, and seven grandchildren. He considers the simple pleasures of cooking, dining with family and friends, and liesurely rides on his Harley through the Texas Hill Country to be some of the most enjoyable blessings from the Lord.
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