Nudity

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Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Gen 3:6-11, 21

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make {one} wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."

And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Gen 9 20-29

"Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness."

What do these texts teach us about nudity? Adam and Eve experience shame when they understand their nakedness. But prior to eating from the Tree of Knowledge they were naked and it seems it was perfectly moral for them to be so. What happened?

In the Gen 9 text the sin seems to have been commited with Ham viewing his father's nakedness. Why else would the brothers enter the tent backwards?

This issue is particularly important for me as an artist I have seen many, many people nude. Was this a sin?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I've seen lots of nudity as a nurse, but that was my job. And it certainly wasn't entertaining. We had a thread about this topic in the Dad's Tool Shed forum. You may want to check it out.
 

FrozenChosen

Puritan Board Freshman
Ian,

I'm not sure, because art is a really weird subject when it comes to approaching the nude figure.

Artists and photographers take great pains (if they don't, they should) to make sure that their portrayal of the nude figure is not pornographic. In this way they attempt to combat the easy lusting part of depicting the nude figure.

The flip side is that they glory in the human body almost to an unparalleled extent. Naturally I speak with room for exception, but I think that many artists and photographers see glory in the human body as it pertains to humanity and not to God's creation. In the end, to me, it seems like an exchange of human lust for human pride.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:da25475198][i:da25475198]Originally posted by FrozenChosen[/i:da25475198]
Ian,

I'm not sure, because art is a really weird subject when it comes to approaching the nude figure.

Artists and photographers take great pains (if they don't, they should) to make sure that their portrayal of the nude figure is not pornographic. In this way they attempt to combat the easy lusting part of depicting the nude figure.

The flip side is that they glory in the human body almost to an unparalleled extent. Naturally I speak with room for exception, but I think that many artists and photographers see glory in the human body as it pertains to humanity and not to God's creation. In the end, to me, it seems like an exchange of human lust for human pride. [/quote:da25475198]

WOW!

Nice answer:thumbup:
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dan and Adam,


I'm not convinced of this idea because it seems that Adam and Eve were ashamed of being nude and it seems that the actual sin that caused Noah to curse Canaan was looking on his nakedness.

Then there are the Aaronic "breeches" to cover the priests nakedness in Ex 28:42. Le 18:7-19; 20:11.17-20 etc speaks of uncovering nakedness. There is much more! Is 47:3, Lam 1:8, Ez 16:8, Rev 3:18.

[Edited on 6-4-2004 by Ianterrell]
 

Irishcat922

Puritan Board Sophomore
I agree Ian the Lord seems to take a lot of interest in our modesty. Man's sinful heart, at least I know mine takes very little provocation, to go from beauty to lust.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
[quote:a178401cea]What do these texts teach us about nudity? Adam and Eve experience shame when they understand their nakedness. But prior to eating from the Tree of Knowledge they were naked and it seems it was perfectly moral for them to be so. What happened?[/quote:a178401cea] What happened was the entrance of sin skewed everything. We could speculate that people might have automatically begun wearing clothing when through births and growing up they adopted an appropriate modesty--or maybe not. Who knows? We [i:a178401cea]do[/i:a178401cea] know that sin and shame occasioned the introduction of covering, and abberant lust is the common besetting sin of humanity that is combatted to some extent by the modesty of clothing. Interesting that even "half-naked" aboriginals typically have [i:a178401cea]some[/i:a178401cea] standards of modesty--even if minimal. [quote:a178401cea]In the Gen 9 text the sin seems to have been commited with Ham viewing his father's nakedness. Why else would the brothers enter the tent backwards?[/quote:a178401cea] Because this is the "biblical text" forum, I'll enter into some (too!) brief textual analysis here. We have here a sin (Noah's drunkenness), leading to more sin (his careless nakedness) compounded by scandal and shame (Ham's observation) compounded by further sin (Canaan's contribution--whatever it was--he was cursed). Shem and Japheth, in order to end the spectacle, cover the nakedness of Noah. The original sin (in this case) was Noah's. [quote:a178401cea]This issue is particularly important for me as an artist I have seen many, many people nude. Was this a sin?[/quote:a178401cea] First I'll say that to ask the question [i:a178401cea]now[/i:a178401cea] means that until/unless you are settled on the propriety in your own mind--don't freely do what you once did. Second, I'll simply ask if you ever had stirrings of lust from the activty? Or was this person only objectified in your sight? Was it "clinical," this looking? Third, how far can you take "objectification" before you have sinfully reduced this [i:a178401cea]imago dei[/i:a178401cea] to a "thing." Both tendencies have an "unnatural" bent. The modern obsession with the human body is a working out of Enlightenment preoccupations. It springs from Rennaisance and neo-classical roots. It's tendency to reductionism is its heritage from paganism. I honestly don't know if it is possible to redeem good fruits from this tree. So, Ian, its going to be up to you to discover the answers to these questions and chart your course of God-pleasing behavior.

My Position:
There is a neccessary nakedness (hospitals) and an unneccessary nakedness (nudist camps). There is appropriate nakedness (marriage) and inappropriate (stripclubs). There is a hard line between them somewhere. For my part, I can only say that whether it is a "great work" or not, I know I can't linger over a nude painting for "art appreciation." I would start enjoying the "subject matter" too much. "Oh, but you can enjoy it without sexual interest by training yourself." But this "appreciation" is not meant to be stifled, trained out of us! Not when in the context of marriage it is meant to be fulfilled! So for me, its ALL and NOTHING. Willful "blindness" to all pictures and forms not neccessary or appropriate, so there is no mental distractions from my wife, no "mental block" to remove.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
I don't think I have what it takes (besides the artistic talent) to be an artist and paint nudes. Can people actually do that without lusting?

Bob
 

FrozenChosen

Puritan Board Freshman
Ian,

I wasn't trying to figure out which answer is right (yes or no to your question). I was making an aside. I'm right where you are on this issue (in the sense that it's unresolved for me), so I hope to profit from your thread.
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:f6ea5bbfb6][i:f6ea5bbfb6]Originally posted by Contra_Mundum[/i:f6ea5bbfb6]
What happened was the entrance of sin skewed everything. We could speculate that people might have automatically begun wearing clothing when through births and growing up they adopted an appropriate modesty--or maybe not. Who knows? We [i:f6ea5bbfb6]do[/i:f6ea5bbfb6] know that sin and shame occasioned the introduction of covering, and abberant lust is the common besetting sin of humanity that is combatted to some extent by the modesty of clothing. Interesting that even "half-naked" aboriginals typically have [i:f6ea5bbfb6]some[/i:f6ea5bbfb6] standards of modesty--even if minimal.[/quote:f6ea5bbfb6]

Yes the introduction of total depravity has a profound affect on what modesty entails I feel. But even then, why should husband and wife be ashamed?

[quote:f6ea5bbfb6][quote:f6ea5bbfb6]In the Gen 9 text the sin seems to have been commited with Ham viewing his father's nakedness. Why else would the brothers enter the tent backwards?[/quote:f6ea5bbfb6] Because this is the "biblical text" forum, I'll enter into some (too!) brief textual analysis here. We have here a sin (Noah's drunkenness), leading to more sin (his careless nakedness) compounded by scandal and shame (Ham's observation) compounded by further sin (Canaan's contribution--whatever it was--he was cursed). Shem and Japheth, in order to end the spectacle, cover the nakedness of Noah. The original sin (in this case) was Noah's. [/quote:f6ea5bbfb6]

The original sin was certainly Noah's, but my point was that it is apparent in the text that viewing Noah's nudity, his shameful nakedness was a sin. Did you look at those texts I posted?

[quote:f6ea5bbfb6][quote:f6ea5bbfb6] This issue is particularly important for me as an artist I have seen many, many people nude. Was this a sin?[/quote:f6ea5bbfb6] First I'll say that to ask the question [i:f6ea5bbfb6]now[/i:f6ea5bbfb6] means that until/unless you are settled on the propriety in your own mind--don't freely do what you once did. Second, I'll simply ask if you ever had stirrings of lust from the activty? Or was this person only objectified in your sight? Was it "clinical," this looking? Third, how far can you take "objectification" before you have sinfully reduced this [i:f6ea5bbfb6]imago dei[/i:f6ea5bbfb6] to a "thing." Both tendencies have an "unnatural" bent. The modern obsession with the human body is a working out of Enlightenment preoccupations. It springs from Rennaisance and neo-classical roots. It's tendency to reductionism is its heritage from paganism. I honestly don't know if it is possible to redeem good fruits from this tree. So, Ian, its going to be up to you to discover the answers to these questions and chart your course of God-pleasing behavior.

My Position:
There is a neccessary nakedness (hospitals) and an unneccessary nakedness (nudist camps). There is appropriate nakedness (marriage) and inappropriate (stripclubs). There is a hard line between them somewhere. For my part, I can only say that whether it is a "great work" or not, I know I can't linger over a nude painting for "art appreciation." I would start enjoying the "subject matter" too much. "Oh, but you can enjoy it without sexual interest by training yourself." But this "appreciation" is not meant to be stifled, trained out of us! Not when in the context of marriage it is meant to be fulfilled! So for me, its ALL and NOTHING. Willful "blindness" to all pictures and forms not neccessary or appropriate, so there is no mental distractions from my wife, no "mental block" to remove. [/quote:f6ea5bbfb6]

Bob,

In art school we used both male and female models. I didn't really struggle with lust though obviously the opportunity was there. It was the same opportunity that might arise during the examination of a patient as you say in a clinical environment. "Objectification" in art is not sinful inherantly. Examining the human figure as a structure composed of shapes, learning to render the figure in a way that is aesthetically pleasing is hardly an act of desecration. Models at time wear clothing. Some times they don't. The question is whether or not it is shameful to view the nude figure or not. Not whether it is wrong to study the human body as an artist, because such a thing can be done without using nudes.

Personally I am not in art school anymore nor am I planning on returning so the relevance of this to me is more intellectual than personal. I lean towards saying personally that nudity in art is an unecessary indulgence of human curiousity, and when it is for aesthetics it is superflous, and therfore probably unjustifiable. We cannot train our natures to be nuetral to sexuality and as you have suggested it may not be the best thing for a healty desire for sex. I for one would say that if we were not depraved than approach to nudity might be different but in scripture we have a clear picture of the necessity of modesty.
 

dado6

Puritan Board Freshman
This is my personal take:

I can view nude paintings/photos/sculture and not feel any pangs of lust provided the art is not deliberately evocative of sex. In other words I can appreciate the artist's attempts at using the nude to show particular beauty by way of composition, lighting, contrast, etc. all without feeling a sexual response.

I do not think however, that I could view a live nude female model without some sexual rumbling surfacing. Without the benefit of the artists deliberate point of view, I am left to basically look at a naked woman and at some point lust will enter into my perception. But then again if it were my profession, I suspect I would become immune after a while. I stayed at a topless beach hotel in the Dominican Republic while working at my last job and the sight of bare breasts ceased to be intriguing fairly quickly.

This is a highly individual area I guess. If you can view art or models without lusting or if lusting fades with exposure than I guess it is not an issue. If you cant look at Venus Rising without thinking of a roll in the hay, then maybe you should avoid the Louvre.

Thanks,
Rob
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Clarity, precision (hopefully)

Ian,
What I have to offer here should not be taken as "corrective" of anything you've said. I'm simply trying to be more clear in what I've proposed. I'll also attempt to address the specific questions you raised.

Shame proper is the product of guilt. We can also experience the closely related feeling of embarrasment which comes when we feel or expect disgrace from something inappropriate which we do or is done to us. The term "shame" is found prior to the Fall, in Gen 2 when Adam & Eve were "not ashamed" to the nakedness of one another. I believe this is Moses' way of commending their sexual attraction, as husband and wife. (Its different from "factual" language, "Adam knew his wife.") This is a [b:dd5d73748b]major denial[/b:dd5d73748b] of the idiotic notion that such attraction and such nakedness is inherently sinful. It was [i:dd5d73748b]not shameful[/i:dd5d73748b] before the entrance of sin, hence it is not shameful afterward either when it falls within bounds.

In Gen 3, the language is that of awareness and fear. We are told first that "they knew" they were naked. Their acts of knowing, sewing, making, hearing, and hiding were [i:dd5d73748b]together-acts.[/i:dd5d73748b] Sin turns everyone into a loner at some point, but here the emphasis is on their both being estranged and trying to cover themselves from God. When Adam declares "I was afraid because I was naked," he is [i:dd5d73748b]primarily[/i:dd5d73748b] afraid before God. Whatever need they [u:dd5d73748b]may[/u:dd5d73748b] have felt to cover up [i:dd5d73748b]from each other[/i:dd5d73748b] was not, could not be because there was something [u:dd5d73748b]actually shameful[/u:dd5d73748b] now associated with their interpersonal, marital nakedness. Keil & Delitzsch suggest that spiritual death worked in them an embarrasment, even between the married, at the worthlessness of the flesh. (Note the contradiction to the world's "glorying" in the flesh!) But before a [i:dd5d73748b][b:dd5d73748b]STRANGER[/b:dd5d73748b][/i:dd5d73748b]--God, the Person and the Judge--was their true shame.

A & E's pathetic, foolish attempt to cover themselves and hide from God shows they saw a need for covering--but it is God's covering that they truly needed. Thus, the sacrificial quality of their first dress. In [i:dd5d73748b]that[/i:dd5d73748b] covering, not A & E's, is the true origin of "clothing" as a guard against all kinds of further shame. The inevitability of the sinful abuse of the flesh, particularly in sexual ways, teaches us the wisdom of God in so ordaining dress. So, in shunning dress, except where appropriateness and neccessity demand it, men rebel against God.

Briefly, again with respect to Noah, this passage presents interpretive challenges, and good men have come to different conclusions. I think I have the right interpretation, but I'm far from infallible. We know ham "saw" the nakedness of his father Noah. If it was something he could have prevented then his shame was a product of his guilty indulgence. If it was an unintentional embarrasment or scandal (my interpretation), then he can't be guilty of a sin. Now Shem and Japheth KNOW that Noah is uncovered in his tent BECAUSE Ham has told them. So, in order to avoid either shame or embarrasment they walk backward into the tent to shield their eyes and protect what dignity remains to their father. What Canaan's sin was is never explicitly stated, but it was occasioned by the same circumstances which Noah instigated

I don't suppose this will be the last word on the subject, but I'll close for now.
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
First of all sorry for calling you Bob!

Secondly good post that's a really interesting interpretation of the Noah incident. Thanks!
 

SmokingFlax

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ian,

I guess I'm in the same boat as you, having wondered about the implicatons of the hours I've spent drawing naked people. Of course that was back when I was Joe Heathen so it wasn't an issue at the time. But since becoming a Christian and thinking on the issue I never really found a satisfying answer or resolution.

My knee-jerk, pietistic reaction to such kinds of situations usually tends to be: "...if in doubt, leave it out". though that doesn't really provide for any real growth in knowledge (I don't think). Also, having been recently influenced by a lot of reconstructionist type of thought, my feeling is that Christians SHOULD be the one's who are leading the field in all disciplines and so (in some way) need to be able to address this issue without retreating into some kind of a dead and impotent, defeatist mentality.

At this point I am somewhat dormant as an artist but I've always felt that the highest expression of art was found in the ability to render the human figure. When I went to art school and was introduced to (really mugged by) the whole post-modern concept of art I reacted very negatively against it (in my own brutish way). To this day I still can't stand pretty much anything after the Impressionists. Picasso -hate 'im...Pollock -are you kidding me?...de Koonig -is this some kind of a joke?...Warhol -please. etc. etc.

I don't know what the prevailing current of philosophical thought is that undergirds todays art education but if it's the same as when I was in school true representative art is looked down upon as something less than true "art"...hence the proliferation of all of this abstract stuff. Being able to draw the figure only seemed to be a small historical curiosity rather than an essential.

I wish that I had been fortunate enough to have been influenced by Francis Schaeffer back then. His insights into the arts are brilliant (and so perfectly logical). His How Should We then Live is awesome...
if you haven't already, you ought to read it.

I know that I haven't answered your question but at least you should know that there are others out here that share your perplexity on this issue.


:wr50:
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Chris,


Thanks for your comments. Interesting what you were saying about the figure. It's natural I think that the figure should have developed into such a crucial element of artmaking. It's the likeness of God.

[Edited on 6-7-2004 by Ianterrell]
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Wait a minute....are you saying that the physical body is the image of God?

Being made in the image of God is not about our physical body or make up. We do not look like God. God is Spirit, not body.

You need to study what the term means to say that man is made in the image of God.

God is clear that we are not to look at others nakedness, excepting within the family as God has allowed. Working in healthcare I think is also an exception as we must see what we are treating.

But using art as an excuse to view nudity is wrong. Because of sin and the fall, exposing the naked body is shameful and we must strive to be as modest as possible in an imodest world.

Phillip
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:b52b6fdb90][i:b52b6fdb90]Originally posted by pastorway[/i:b52b6fdb90]
Wait a minute....are you saying that the physical body is the image of God?

Being made in the image of God is not about our physical body or make up. We do not look like God. God is Spirit, not body.

You need to study what the term means to say that man is made in the image of God.

God is clear that we are not to look at others nakedness, excepting within the family as God has allowed. Working in healthcare I think is also an exception as we must see what we are treating.

But using art as an excuse to view nudity is wrong. Because of sin and the fall, exposing the naked body is shameful and we must strive to be as modest as possible in an imodest world.

Phillip [/quote:b52b6fdb90]

Phillip is there no sense in which our physical attributes are likenesses of God though obviously limited as physical attributes? I have studied this quite a bit actually. I've never heard anyone deny that our physical attributes are part of being image bearers. Without any further evidence to support this claim I'm going to have to disagree.

Your statements about using art as an excuse to view nudity I completely agree with.

I deny that our physical attributes do not contribute to the "image of God" that was impressed upon us. Man was created to be analogous to God. Could you clarify please, because this is a very new idea. I have read several respected theologians that disagree with you such as John Frame.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
Before the Incarnation, did God have a Body?

If He did not, which He did not, He is Spirit.....then how could our physical attributes be in His image? Was flesh modeled after Spirit? Can't be.

The image of God is not about our bodies, but the way we are created as a spiritual, rational being. We bear His image in His communicable attributes, not in our flesh.

Phillip
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Ian,
I tend to agree with Phillip here. In fact, I have not heard any different in all that I have read. Although I have not read "Frame".

Phillip, is God "rational"? Does not rational imply the struggle between rational and irrational? Could one be technically rationale if irrationality is not a trait?

Someone asked me the other day if God thinks? My reply was, God decree's, ordains, institutes.....
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Phillip,
(Ian, apologies) Does God really reason though....or is that His way of speaking along our line of thought?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I agree that the essence of the [i:f7a97aa3f2]imago dei[/i:f7a97aa3f2] is spiritual. The moral essentials are knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. And there are other derivative ways that we spiritually bear his image--as we think his thoughts after him we are re-creative, logical, aesthetic, decisive, etc.

The body is the instrument or means of dominion (Berkhof, Calvin, Turretin). As God is said to "make bare his arm" or "look to see" as expressions of his power and will (though he does not have a body and does not need one), so man exercises his will through his necessary body. Man's "arm" therefore is not so much an aspect of the image of God as it is a physical [delete*]type of the pure instrumental and effectual will of God. Here is Turretin (P&R, 1.5.q10.v, pp465-66):[quote:f7a97aa3f2][This image does not consist] in any figure of the body or external bearing in which man resembles God.... For although we do not think that every relation of that image should be altogether denied of the body and see some rays of it glittering there, ... still it is certain that image shone in the body not so much formally as consequently and effectively.... If human members are attributed to God in Scriptures, it does not therefore follow that the image is to be placed properly in these, since they are ascribed to him after the manner of men ... and must be understood in a manner becoming God ... not formally and properly, but figuratively and analogically.[/quote:f7a97aa3f2] Thanks for the raising the issue. It's been a profitable study.

[i:f7a97aa3f2][*edit--I mistermed when I wrote "antitype" above. It should read "type". "Antitype" (its the "anti-" part that always gets me!) is the thing pointed to. I'm sorry for the confusion Ian, although by your post below it seems you understood generally what I meant to say.][/i:f7a97aa3f2]

[Edited on 6-9-2004 by Contra_Mundum]
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Bruce,


This idea is very close to what I was saying. Mr. Frame didn't qualify the body analogy to God as anti-type. I can already imagine how my conception could be a thin bridge to cross and I welcome the instruction. For example:

Monkeys have arms. Elephants have noses. Squid have eyes. Beyond that there are physical attributes that we do not have that are owned by non-image bearing creatures, such as wings, that are used to descibe God figuratively. Thanks for the help on this everybody. I will of course continue to think about this subject in greater detail, God willing.
 
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