Something else strikes me about the creation story. Check out Genesis 2:25:
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
This was before the Fall, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s only command to them. Their life consisted of walking around in the Garden, hanging out with each other and God, tending the garden and animals, and eating vegetarian, all while naked. Sounds kinda hippie-ish, eh? Only without the weed and Jimi Hendrix music. The “no shame” phrase jumps out at me. No one had taught them that their bodies were shameful or unclean unless they were covered. It wasn’t until after the Fall, when sin and guilt entered the world, that Adam and Eve had anything at all to hide. Embarrassed and afraid because they had eaten of the forbidden fruit, they made coverings for themselves out of fig leaves. They tried to hide their guilt by hiding parts of their bodies, bodies that God had created in His image with great care. Once they fessed up to God, he made coverings for them of animal skins, which is the first example of blood being used to cover sin in the Bible.
So if God created Adam and Eve and was happy to let them run around nude in the Garden, does that mean nudism is acceptable for Christians today? As you might expect, opinions vary widely within the Christian community. Supporters say the human body is one of God’s most beautiful creations and doesn’t need to be hidden by clothing. They claim that American culture in particular improperly links nudity to sex, which produces a host of problems including pornography, premarital sex (both of which result from relentless curiosity about the opposite sex), skimpy ladies’ swimsuits and clothing that show just enough skin to tease men, and onlooker discomfort/disgust with women who breastfeed in public.
Opponents say public nudity does nothing more than feed our natural lust, leading to impure thoughts and probably impure actions. The idea of people running around naked is so contrary to mainstream American and American Christianity that nudists are viewed by many as odd at best, dangerous freaks at worst. “Christian nudist” is an oxymoron. Some cite examples from Scripture of nudity that are negative, such as the story of Noah getting drunk and passing out naked on his bed in Genesis 9:20-27.
Out of curiosity, I did some research and found some sites on this topic, both pro and con. Apparently the Bible itself is mostly silent on the issue, mentioning public nudity in passing and neither encouraging nor condemning it. Check some of them out and discuss!
- Wikipedia on Christian Naturism – Both sides with some history and other info
- Nudity, as mentioned in the Bible – Both sides with discussion of many relevant passages in Scripture
- Fig Leaf Forum – Pro, with an interesting debate
- The Marriage Bed – Con