Biblical Nudity – Nakedness and The Bible Book Review
Novel by: Paul M Bowman. Ferndale: Amnity 2001.
Biblical Nudity - The book “Nakedness and the Bible” does not claim to be a defense of naturism; it just claims to be an explanation of what the Bible says on both sides of this issue. For some time, people have used the Bible in an attempt to say that naturism is outside God’s law and should not be practiced by Christians. Various people within the nudist movement have praised the book including im-ok-naked.com. Like them, I add my approval to this work.
The author, Paul M. Bowman, mentions the account of what is termed the fall of man, when Adam and Eve decided to willfully disobey God and sin. The one problem that I have with this book is that is doesn’t treat Adam and Eve as though they were real people. Since the Bible and its relationship to nudity are being discussed here, we are going to assume that the Bible is a true document. The veracity of the Bible is a different topic completely, but he goes on to state how God deals with the Adam and Eve after they sinned. He deals with how the nudity has been dealt with throughout the history of the church, yet the author writes that the anti-nudity message that the church has now been due to a result of the 400 years of an anti-sexual message.
When the Bible is examined for what it has to say about the body a clear message is sent about it being pro-nudity, if it must be termed that, because nakedness wasn’t an issue for them as it is for us today. They took baths in the river and ripped their clothing as a sign of grief; that was what they did. The conclusion that this author reaches is that whenever nakedness is shown as sinful, another sin is present (that explains Noah, Lot, David etc.). In fact, the author even says that public nakedness is ok by God, due to the fact that God commanded Isaiah to go naked. (Isa 20:2) That completely destroys the shame argument. God only mandated clothing for the priests while in the act of worship. (Exo 28:40-3).
What one can learn by reading the book is that there are very few direct references to nakedness in the New Testament; Matthew 25 is one of them. Jesus is talking about having enough clothing to make that choice whether or not to wear clothing. In Romans 8, verses 38-9, nakedness is found among other states of existence and the context is dealing with things that can separate us from the love of God.
The most interesting portion of this book was where the author dealt with verses that Christians attempt to apply to nakedness like 1Thes 5:22, causing another to stumble and 1 Timothy 2:9. One thing that amazed me was when the author mentioned how clothing has been associated with shame just as nudity has been commonly portrayed while giving numerous Bible verses to support his assertion. In the end, I find this book to be a fascinating read that allows naturists to be able to support their beliefs and rest in the fact that we can give an answer for the hope that we have.