headerphoto

Modern Day Body Acceptance

How we can change our perception

of Gods Image and Likeness

 

In our current society, we have a view of the human body that is as wide as there are body varieties. Some of these views are: fat, skinny, ugly, shame, embarrassment, sex, perversion, violent and evil. On the other hand, it is: sexy, beautiful, artistic, Godly, something to share and show and care for. People can grow up being comfortable with their bodies or uncomfortable.

We have become so obsessive about our looks and our bodies that we don't know whether to hide it or to show it off; to be proud of it or to be ashamed of it. We are afraid if someone sees our body nude even for a moment, we feel violated! Yet we insist on wearing skimpy bathing suits and exercising our bodies so we can show it off and feel better about ourselves. And still, we are embarrassed and afraid.  That makes my head hurt! Do not all males have penises and all females have vaginas? Do we all have legs, arms, feet, noses (of all shapes and sizes), hands, belly buttons, etc.? What are we afraid of? What do you have that I don't have?  Who is the judge of what is the perfect body and size?

Let's go back to the beginning. It seems that for most of the people, (in the United States anyway), religious beliefs have a lot to do with this phenomenon. It is a paradox. Why do the "religious" have a body phobia that causes them to feel totally outraged by the sight of a naked human being that was, ironically, create in the very image and likeness of God in whom they worship? Is that feeling God ordained? Is God ashamed of himself? Does God hate his own creation? Does God hate human beings but not animals? Is that possibly true? Did God make a mistake when he created man naked in the Garden of Eden by "forgetting" to clothe them? Could the idea of being naked cause them to "fall"? Or was it something else? Does God hate us? Could the bible be lying when it said that He forgave us ALL our sins when we accepted His Son as our savior? Lets be reminded of what Jesus said while dying on the cross, "Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." He said that in advance, before they repented. Now that is Amazing Grace. Even the thief was saved on the cross when he recognized Jesus as the Christ. What works did the thief do to prove to God his righteousness? I think there is more going on here than we can see with our physical eyes. You may want to read The Gospel According to a Naturist.

What about those who do not believe in a creator? What are they afraid of? Why do they say 'my body is shameful' when they too look just like a Christian and any other human being? Assuming evolutionist theory, at what point in our "evolution" history did we become ashamed of our bodies? According to the evolutionists, we were naked for thousands of years!  The only ones who were not naked were those they found living in very cold climates, but even then, they were naked when it warmed up.  So when did we become ashamed and afraid of our own bodies and our own kind?  Could this be a mental sickness in our society, or is this normal? Does our evolution include fear of others of our own kind?

Does God want us to hate our bodies to the point where we become self-destructive? Those who are religious and non religious, atheists and evolutionists, all decorate their bodies, feed it, take care of it, and try to look pleasant, smell nice and generally look like a handsome bunch, yet are totally ashamed of themselves. They hate themselves while loving themselves. Many Christians claim that our bodies are evil and shameful (see Gnosticism), yet decorate it, clean it, feed it, and go to church in it. They hug each other, shake hands, walk to the alter, sing and pray with it, and then feed that body at a wonderful church potluck fellowship afterwards, while all the time, they feel their bodies are shameful and need to be hidden from the sight of others.

Think about this fellow Christians; Didn’t God create man in His own image and His own likeness? Genesis 1:26-27, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Three (3) times in one sentence, it says in Gods image. Now let me ask you a fair question. Is God shame? Is what God created shameful? Do you go to God and say "Shame on you God for creating me this way"?

"Does the pot say to the potter, 'Why did you make me thus?' " (Romans 9:20 ) What did God say? If you believe the Bible as Gods authoritative word, then believe this, "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:31)

"Very good." Did you get that? Did we miss something here? Did we lose something in the translation? "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25) What does this mean? What is going on here? Okay, so they were husband and wife! Is that why they were naked? If they had children, would they have "instinctively" put on clothes? Would God have come down and said "Oh yeah, I forgot, you need some clothes!" "And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it..." (Genesis 1:28)  Well? Was that not while they were still naked? He didn't say, "Well, since you are naked, be fruitful and multiply, but get dressed afterwards!!" Did God say put on clothes as soon as you figure out how or when you have your first child? No. He said, "Be fruitful and multiply..." indicating many children while leaving them naked.

Now we seem to have carried the "fruitful and multiply" command out to a fault. We even subdued the earth and animals without argument. But that naked part... Yuck! What compelled God to create us, and then leave us naked?  Maybe it’s because he was still carrying out his plan to create us in his image? Could be!

 God does not have a false image that He keeps covered up! That is what we do! We are the ones who cover the image of God and create our own image. "The clothes make the man (or woman,)" we say. And then we add, "This is what God is like! This is how God really wants us. Forget what He did in the Garden. That was just a slip up. He was really going to come down and clothe us! In fact He did clothe us!" But how did He clothe us and why?

Are we creating God into our own image by covering his image he created for us? Again, God does not have a false image that He keeps covered up! That is what we do!  We are hiding what God created and then make our own idea of who and what God created (or who God is)!

Did God come down for the sole purpose of clothing us or did we clothe ourselves? When did he clothe us? How long did he allow Adam and Eve to remain in their nude condition until he clothed them? Did he clothe them because Eve was pregnant and was about to have children? It doesn't say that. Then what does it say?

Adam and Eve saw that they were naked, and "they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons." (Genesis 3:7)  They made themselves aprons. A fact that many do not realize is that throughout the entire bible and at this point as well, the female breasts were never considered to be a shameful or sexual part of the body. Read the Book of Solomon. Women at that time, including Eve, were not afraid to go without a top covering. Women worked often without a top to, 1. Keep cool, 2. Freedom of movement. 3.To keep clothes clean from too much sweat and damage, 4. Style (yes, they had clothing style then too) and 5.To breast-feed their babies. It was an HONOR to breast-feed a baby. It was never a sin in the bible for women to breast feed their babies in public view. That is a modern fixation that has been fabricated nearly two thousand years after Christ, and the losers are the babies themselves. Now that is shameful.

Aprons only covered the front and maybe the back. Skirt is another term used, which suggests that they covered the backside as well, but not the breasts. I believe the emphasis was to hide their genitals.

Now why did they do this? Was it the right thing to do? Was God pleased with their invention? Did they suddenly became modest and say "Oh, excuse me, I didn't mean to run around in front of you naked! How silly of me." According to Genesis 3:10, Adam was afraid! He hid because he was afraid! It was raw fear! Now think about that one for a minute. There is no time frame mentioned from the creation of man, to the tree incident, so it could have been days, weeks or even months. All of this time, both Adam and Eve have been walking in the garden, working, naming animals, talking and walking with God, and "living it up in paradise"...totally nude! Now all of a sudden they got modest? Boy, what a little "knowledge" did for them! Did God warn them to not eat of that tree? Yes He did. His fear was not his sudden knowledge of his physical nudity, but of his sin against God! Spiritual nakedness!

Was Satan right implying that God was holding out on them? That God was afraid of them having "special knowledge"? Could Satan be right and God wrong? Well, from what I am hearing in today's attitude towards the body, the Christians are saying, "YES"! The Christians are saying that Adam was correct for listening to Satan and in putting something on. So in a sense, Satan did man a favor!

But what did God say about this? Oh yeah, don’t forget to hear what God has to say about all of this! First, we can see he wasn't carrying a catalog of the latest fashions. Actually, God was "walking in the garden in the cool of the day", and as his usual custom, He wanted to see his children just as you would.  And would he be surprised to see them running around naked (which ironically is how he left them). Would you be surprised and shocked? God wouldn’t have.  What did he say? "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (Genesis 3:11) (Note: The word "naked" has changed from their original state of creation to what Adam said about himself. See The Three Types of Naked article) Whoa here! That sounds more like he was displeased with their discovery. See how God made the jump from their knowledge of being naked to the Tree? Now we all know that God did indeed clothe them, but was that to cover their naked bodies in shame, or was it to protect them in their new environment? If we seriously (literally) take God clothing them as a "sign and command" that we "must wear clothes at all times", then must we also take God giving them coats of skin (leather and fir) to mean that this is what we must wear today? Not cotton. Cotton, like fig leaves, are derived from plants. But we decide that one is okay but the other is not (there's that self-knowledge from the tree again).

I also wonder about that coat of skin. I doubt seriously that it was human skin (there is a debate on this, so there may be a revisit on this comment). It was, I am sure, animal skin. Think about this: If He did cover them in shame, then in effect, God was saying, "So you don't like the Godly image I gave you? Then I will reduce you to an "animal" (so to speak), cover your Godly, living skin with ungodly dead skin from a dead animal. And every time you sin, (and you will,) I will require that you kill yet another animal as atonement for sin, as a covering for sin, (for the blood of animals cannot really forgive). You will be reminded continually of what you did this day by being ashamed and fearful. Wearing this dead skin is a reminder that you were ashamed and hid from me instead of coming to me as you were, and asking for forgiveness." (See "God Said/Satan Said".) Today, we sing in our churches, "Just as I am" and "Walk in the Garden" yet do the opposite. If only Adam and Eve did just that! (See "Adam and Eve" same page as God Said/Satan Said.)

Now back to today's Christian. Who are the Christians? What do they believe? Christians are people who believe in a Savior named Jesus Christ ( HaMashiach Yeshua). Actually, His given name is Jesus. The name Christ is not his last name. It is his title. Christ means "Messiah" (HaMashiach), "Savior" of the world. The Hebrew nation (Judah [Jews] and their fellow brothers, Levi, Dan, etc.), were looking forward to the promised messiah. Even Adam and Eve knew there would be a messiah to reverse what they had done. Jesus was that messiah or "Christ". A few years after the resurrection of Jesus and his ascension to heaven to be at His Fathers side, when the church began to grow in popularity, the people around the countryside began to call these followers of Christ "Christians", (see Acts 11:26). What was so different about the followers of Christ from the Jewish nation as a whole? They no longer gave sacrifices. Since Jesus became the sacrifice for all that would accept him then there would be no more sacrifice from that time on. Now does that mean there is no more sin? As long as you stay in Christ and continue in faith and avoid sin, then there is no more sin. (See "The Book of Romans")

But of course we cannot possibly continue in this life perfectly without sin. Then what do we do? Do we grab the nearest bush or fig leaf and hide from God? No, that was what Adam and Eve did, remember? We don't want to do that again! We run to God as we are and ask him to forgive us and not just cover our sins but to wash them away and we will be clean spiritually. Jesus [the] Christ washed away our sins and we are no longer required to perform animal sacrifices. We have been restored to our original state to where we can come to God in the garden, walk and talk with him "just as I am". Then why do we still insist that our bodies are shameful?  Since we are under Christ, we are no longer under the curse of Adam and Eve!  Why do we live as if we are?

The other difference with the Christian is that they believe that the old laws (The Torah, or The laws of Moses) are no longer required. If that is the case then all the laws of the Old Testament cannot be used to dictate our lifestyle. In the New Testament, there are laws governing human behavior, but the difference is, they are not numbered laws written on stone for us to follow in letter, but they are laws written in our hearts. Here is an interesting saying, "Those who are lawless, knows no law and those who are not lawless, needs no law." You have to think about that one. Read Galatians 3:19-25 or all if you would like. (If you read Galatians 3:10 and find that wearing clothes is a Law, then it would be true that wearing clothing because of what happened in the Garden of Eden is a curse we must live by. But look at 3:13 and you will find that we are redeemed from that curse.) Man needed laws because there was no relationship between man and God. Man was cut off from God, and separated. He tried to hide himself with coverings, which did nothing to cover the sin. The only thing the coats of (dead) skin did was cover what man used to represent sin, his naked body. And man only covered what is still there. It was the blood sacrifice that the skin came from that was used to cover the sin. It never cleansed man from guilt. Man still had to die for his sin. That was just a temporary solution until the One who was promised to be the messiah came and died for all of mankind, from Adam and Eve to the last human ever to be born on this earth. Only Jesus Christ can do that because He never sinned. He was God. He was not ashamed to come to earth and take on a human existence, the form and shape of a naked man. He had to eat, sleep and take baths just like any other man. He looked like, acted like and smelled like any red blooded Jew that was around him. Well, as far as acting like, he did better than that. He lived a life that he expected his followers to live. His life did not depend on the old covenant, the Jewish laws and standards. (He did keep them though as a Jew in a Jewish world) And because of his example of a free life, he was killed. The Pharisees kept pointing to the Old Testament just like many do today and He kept pointing it right back to them and saying "O.K., then why aren't you doing them?" They kept talking about what he does on the outside while he kept talking about the inside. They were noticing his "naked body" so to speak and he told them, "you are like tombs, washed and white on the outside while full of dead mens bones on the inside". Though they were dressed in their finery on the outside and put on a great show, they were spiritually naked on the inside. They were not looking at the heart but only on outward appearances. They kept making Laws and regulations that were never intended by God. Are we guilty of the same thing?

It is interesting that they made laws about, food, cleanliness, Sabbath, tithing, and yet strict laws about nudity have never been brought up. Nudity was all around them. Nude Olympics and public baths, inside and outside were very common. The Christians frequented these places just as much as their neighbor.There were some Jewish leaders that "frowned on" nudity, but no strict laws as we see them today in our culture.

Now I'm not saying that people ran around naked as a normal lifestyle. But if they did, there would have only been a few places they couldn't go because of it. People in those days sometimes looked at a naked body as either shame or an act of humility or as a servant/slave. Not the same shame (shame on you) as we do today, but as in very poor and in need. Someone who had nothing and probably came to town to beg. They didn't arrest them for it or called them sex perverts. But Jesus wanted us to love them, care for them and give them the shirt off our back, literally. Not to treat them as shameful, but as people who needs a neighbor. Think about the Samaritan who was a neighbor to the Jew who was ambushed by thieves. "But," you say, "He was stripped of his clothing, not just freely running around foot loose and fancy free!" True, however that was what the scripture was referring to when it says to clothe the naked. People that were in need, just like being hungry, you need to feed them. If someone were to fast (go without food for a period of time to draw close to God), would you consider them sinning? Some people will fast for 24 or more hours. Jesus fasted for 40 days! Now God gave us food to eat. He said that we could eat of the fruit of the trees. Is that a command? Well, try going without food for a few days and let's see how far you go. It seems to me you must eat or you die! But is it a sin to go without food? Even when it says to feed the hungry? Of course not. Yet we take "clothing the naked" in the same thought as a sign that physical nudity is a sin. Christians from around 500 AD onward tried to force clothing on people even in areas where it was not needed or wanted. Did you know that you could spend a whole lifetime without clothing and survive just fine? Weather permitting of course! Our bodies acclimate to our surroundings. It has a natural temperature adjustment that God built right in. When we wear clothing all of the time, our bodies get used to it and become lazy and dependent on clothing for warmth. As for warmth, we don't even need clothing in the summer, yet we wear something to keep cool!  Of course, use common sense for extreme situations and safety.

But try going without food. Ah yes, glorious food. We have become gluttons in this country (USA). Jesus said it is a sin to be gluttonous, yet we are, without feeling guilty. We die over a period of time if we do not eat. If we are to deny our bodies of food to draw close to God, then why is it a sin to "deny" our bodies of clothing?

Besides, for anyone who has spent anytime without clothing, especially outdoors, find it very comfortable, easy to work, quickly adjustable to temperature and relaxing. They get used to it very quickly. (I find below 40 degrees a bit difficult). What is really amazing about it is that our minds are not even on anything evil or perverted. The person looking (or staring) usually has their mind reeling with all kinds of thoughts and fears but the person being unknowingly stared at, has their mind on whatever project is at hand. Now who has the problem? I'll give you a hint. Who had the problem, Bathsheba, who was innocently taking a bath outdoors, or David who did the staring and lusting? Ask God. Read the full account in 2 Samuel 11:1-26 and 12:1-11. You will find it was David who got into trouble. Outdoor bathing was not the problem. Since indoor plumbing was not (generally) used at that time, it was common to bathe in rivers, lakes and in a tub in your back yard. Families bathed together a lot. Even earlier in our own history of the U.S. and Europe, boys swimming in the nude and in the open in front of others were normal. Norman Rockwell portrayed it, Mark Twain wrote of it, and many other paintings and stories of it in our own culture.

How did it disappear? Shame. Fear. We suddenly put shame on something we never had before! Boys today have started wearing big baggy “shorts” just to avoid being associated with being other than “manly”.  Someone got worried and decided to make a law against it. Imagine it. Children get to play in the nude, and you will never have to worry about their clothes going to ruin. Little children are natural nudists. Adults haven't taught them the shame yet. But don't worry, someone will teach these poor children that they have something to be ashamed of, themselves. Isn't that sweet? The children are already taught that they are strange and perverts, having some sexual desire because they would rather do without the bother of clothing. Of course that was not on their minds, but we, as adults must have been thinking these dirty thoughts and told them. Doesn't that sound familiar? Adam and Eve were God's children and they were innocently living out their lives in the nude and some adult (Satan) came along and taught them shame. Now we as adults who got the story in the bible to teach us differently, will do the devils work anyway. We just keep perpetuating the lie Satan taught us. Especially the Christians! Let's put a stop to it!

"But there are perverts and child abusers out there! I can't allow my children to play in the nude!" Oh. I see. And I am sure the perverts are not doing these things because they are dressed and that protects the children? Actually, children and adults who see the nude bodies as normal and not shame, come out as normal and not perverts. There have been studies that have shown that children who live in a nudist environment not only are not shocked by the human body, but also do not see shame in themselves and others and end up growing up with a better attitude toward themselves and others. They do not grow up to be sexual perverts, and child abusers! As teens, they are not acting like a "teenager" when it comes to seeing other teen's bodies. Girls and boys are more comfortable and are not worried about body changes and usually are not experimenting with premarital sex. That of course does not guarantee chastity, but has clothing really helped? Look at our society and see what clothing has done. Now that is a shame.

Now what can we as Christians do about it? As I started this article, I commented on the fact that there are many views of the human body, bad and good. How can we change that? Do we really want to change that? If you want your child to grow up with a healthy attitude toward their fellow humans, then you would want to. How? Well, buying Playboy magazines (and the like) and have them lying around is not the way to go. In fact, those only perpetuate the situation and reduce women to sexual playthings and not elevate them as God's children.

There is much profit in our ignorance and fear. These "legalized forms of prostitution" are making billions of dollars a year from sex hungry men and women. If the human body were not shame and people looked at it as something normal and treated Gods creation as wonderful and not shameful, then they would lose most of their market. People wouldn't run to the bookstores and movies to "look at tits" (that sounded stupid) because it would be like running to the bookstores and movies to "look at a face". You may respond with, "Yeah, but faces are normal." YES! That's the point!

As a male who has succumbed to the pull of the flesh, and has seen these magazines, I know what it does to the body and mind. It treats women with less respect and love, then lust, desire, and just plain selfishness takes over. Our minds are not right. You would be right in taking away the magazines from the children. But it's in how and why you take it away that makes the difference. It isn't the bodies that you don't want them to see. That should be normal. It is in how the body is used and mistreated that you want to teach them differently. If you and your family are used to each other without clothes and all your activities are good wholesome Christian activities, then there would be no sexual shame being taught. You should also have no problems teaching about the "birds and the bees" and speaking the truth about sex to your children. Believe me, and you should know from experience of your own youth that these kids today are learning about sex from the streets, school playgrounds and television! But it is more fiction than fact. It is not based on Godly understanding. You are far better off allowing your children to see your family without clothing, shedding any fears and misunderstanding, than with clothing and ignorant. God's spirit gets rid of any fears and replaces it with love.

Since I started to study naturism in the light of Gods word, and started to practice it, not just on my own, but with my wife and others, I found that a lot of ignorance and fears went right out the window. My mind has been relieved of a lot of garbage that has been filtered through it. Of course, that didn't happen without help or overnight. A lot of Bible study and prayer and continued prayer on a daily basis asking God to not only heal my body, (people ask that a lot) but my mind and heart as well, which is far more important than my body as Jesus pointed out several times. As a result, our bodies began to heal as well because of the natural physical healing it goes through when it is freed up from the hot, clammy, tight fitting, humid, germ ridden and bacteria growing, man made skin we call clothing. God's clothing is so much better!

When we think about it, our fears today are just that: fears. When we look at the simple biblical truths that Jesus taught, and live by them, then we should have no fears. There are a lot of myths that people assume are written in the bible. In fact people teach their children a lot of things that are totally unbiblical such as Santa Claus and the Easter bunny as truth. When they grow older and find out that their parents themselves lied to them (thou shall not lie) often, they decide to "look into this 'Jesus' thing too". That is much worse than seeing a fellow human being in the image of God in a positive light.

Now please keep in mind, I am NOT encouraging voyeurism, unwanted exposure and fondling or any such perverted actions, especially by strangers. Those actions are wrong and completely against Gods laws of love. For that matter, Halloween is against Gods laws of tampering with evil spirits and witchcraft but that doesn't seem to bother the Christians any but the sight of a human being in Gods image does.

As I have already stated, I know there are a lot of child-molesters out there, but clothing the children has never stopped them. Proper training in decency, love and not allowing them to grow up ignorant and call it "innocence" is more crucial in protecting these children. One young man told me that when he has children, he would like for them to grow up as "innocent and naive" as possible. I told him that was the worse thing he could do to them. Now of course they don't need to know all the gory details of life and grow up too quickly, but an understanding of the differences between male and female and their roles would do more to help them grow up and stay out of trouble. To see each other and their families nude under a family life situation, children in these families, (and they exist all over this country and world), are not "shocked" by seeing their moms and dads nude. It's normal for them and they are used to it. They think nothing of it. As a matter of fact, they wonder what all the excitement their peers are finding when they get a glimpse of a nude body. "So, what's the big deal?" they ask. Yeah, what is the big deal? Why are we so funny about our bodies? The more you cover up and hide, the more they want to seek it out and steal a glimpse. I know from personal experience, I was once one of them. Now I don't.

Of course I still appreciate the sight of a naked human body because it is beautiful. "God don't make junk." We don't hide someone's face because it is beautiful and sometimes sexy do we? Our hands are often used during sexual activities. Do we hide them as well? No, of course not. Does that cause us to not appreciate the sight of a beautiful face because we see it every day? Do we not appreciate the sight of a beautiful sunset? Well, sometimes we get very busy and forget those things, but we still don't hide it and call it shameful. But it's not the beauty, we say, it is because that penis hanging out there is ugly! O.K., do we hide the human face because it is ugly, or do we arrest someone because they have an ugly nose? Maybe we try to hide our own faces behind makeup because of our concept of what is pretty (good) and what is ugly (evil). WOW! Does that sound familiar? OOPS! Here we go again!

So goes the endless cycle. Instead of loving each other and respecting each other, we judge, hide and force others to our own human standards instead of Gods.

You may also want to read these additional scriptures:

Col.3:1-172Cor 10:7; James 2:1-13; 2Tim 1-7; Rev. 19:8