Is it wrong for a man to be a gynecologist?

A gynecological examination.Shooting a real doctor's office

Are all men that go into gynecology secretly perverted? Should gynecology be left only to women? Do male gynecologists get turned on when they do gynecological exams? Do men have an “on and off” switches for their sexual arousal?

Previously I wrote a post reviewing an essay by Pastor Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Temple, Arizona. The full post can be found at http://www.faithfulwordbaptist.org/lust.html.

In part of this post, Pastor Anderson states this about male gynecologists:

“And, you know, here is an area that is not popular. It has never stopped me before. It is not going to stop me now. But here is another area that is not popular. But, you know what? Women who go to a male doctor and just disrobe in front of a male doctor. Why? Because they don’t believe that nakedness is a sin. Because he is not lusting, supposedly.

Because we all know what is going on inside his mind. He takes a polygraph detector test right before and after every visit.

“I had…my mind is as clean and pure as the driven snow.”

Yeah, right. Good night. He is a man. He is a red blooded man like anybody else. Do you know what every male gynecologist ought to do? He ought to take a scalpel and a lancet and cut out his own eye and throw it in the trash. That is what the Bible says. He ought to just remove his own eye. I am not kidding. He has got all the tools to do it. He ought to do it.”

The Facts about male gynecologists

Before I tackle the issue the morality of a man(Christian or otherwise) being a gynecologist let’s look at the facts about male gynecologists.

FACT #1

Even with half of all gynecologists now being women, most women don’t care if their gynecologist is male or female

“There has been a significant gender shift in OB-GYN over the past two decades. In 1990, 22.4 percent of all OB-GYNs were women. In 2010, nearly 49 percent were women,” Jeanne Conry, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in an email. She pointed to figures showing bigger changes to come: “In 1990, 49 percent of all first-year OB-GYN residents were women. In 2012, 83 percent were women.”

But that still leaves plenty of men pursuing gynecology as a profession…

70 percent of women said they had no preference when asked if they preferred a male or female gynecologist. Of the nearly 30 percent who did, the majority preferred a female gynecologist…”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/12/09/are-male-gynecologists-creepy.html

FACT #2

Male Gynecologists admit they are sometimes sexually aroused by their patients

“Of all the specialties in med school, I was sure gynecology was the one I wouldn’t want. As a straight male, I didn’t want to ruin my love of the vagina. Years into it now, I’m never more professional than I am with a patient. The vagina is so desensitized to me, I hardly notice anything about it. But if a woman is attractive, I do have to fight that part of my brain. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I’ve had patients legitimately hit on me — one immediately after her abortion, and another right after a pelvic exam.”

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/09/10-men-explain-why-they-became-gynecologists.html

FACT #3

Some Male Gynecologists have sexually abused their patients

“Of 10,000 physicians surveyed, 1,891 responded and the result was that fully 9% admitted to some sexual contact with one or more patients. (Sample included 344 gynecologists.)”

http://patientmodesty.org/sexualmisconduct.aspx

ARGUMENT #1 Sexual Misconduct by Doctors

One of the most common attacks against the idea of male gynecologists is the possibility of sexual abuse. In the survey I cited above, 9% of physicians admitted to sexual conduct with patients. But we have to be careful to separate out what would be “unethical” sexual conduct, verses “criminal sexual misconduct” by a doctor. The reality is that the vast majority of sexual conduct between physicians and patients is actually consensual, even if it does violate medical ethical rules.

But from a Christian perspective, it would be wrong for man to engage in sexual conduct with any woman outside of marriage, so from our perspective we would say that 9% of physicians admitted to sexually immoral behavior with their patients(regardless of whether it was consensual or not).

While it is a sad fact of the sinfulness of man, that 9% of physicians engage in unethical and sexually immoral conduct with their patients – this means that 91% percent of physicians do NOT!

So basically we have people attacking the concept of male doctors treating female patients because of the possibility that less than one out ten of those doctors may engage in unethical or immoral behavior with their patients (and even a much smaller percent would engage in abusive behavior).

I can sympathize with women who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their male physician. I realize that even if less than 5% of male physicians engage in sexually abusive behavior with their patients, that makes little difference to these women – they would never see a male gynecologist ever again.

But we cannot “throw out the baby, with the bathwater”. I believe if we look at this from an objective standpoint, the sexual misconduct argument against male gynecologists does not warrant the elimination of male gynecologists.

ARGUMENT #2 Female Gynecologists

The truth is by every measure, there are more and more female gynecologists every day. Now half of the OB-GYNs in the United States are women. Even higher numbers of female OB-GYNs will be coming through medical schools over the next decade.

So why shouldn’t women, Christian or otherwise switch over to female OB-GYNs? The truth is there is a doctor shortage in this county, whether it is in the OB-GYN practice, or even just general family practice. If women started going exclusively to female physicians those doctors would be overrun and the waiting lists would be astronomical.

So yes let’s as Christians push more women to enter the medical field and become OB-GYNs so women won’t have to see male gynecologists. This would solve the problem right?

But aren’t we forgetting a very important issue from a Christian perspective?

Being a physician of any kind, whether that is an OB-GYN or some other kind of doctor, is a very demanding job. It takes almost a decade of schooling and residency with long hours and a lot of commitment for anyone to accomplish this feat.

For most female physicians, they are not even able to start a family until they are well past their prime child bearing years and even when they have children their children spend a great deal of their time being cared for and raised by people other than their mother(their father, their nanny, or other child care professionals).

Now if you are an Egalitarian or Christian feminist and therefore reject the Biblical doctrines of Gender Roles, then this is not a problem. But for those of us who believe God created men and woman for distinct and different purposes, then these commands of God’s Word would seem to discourage us from pushing more women to be doctors:

“…teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:4-5(KJV)

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

I Timothy 5:14(KJV)

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:27(KJV)

While the Bible does not forbid a woman from working outside the home, it does make clear that a woman’s primary place is in the service of her husband in their home caring for their children and household.

A woman cannot be in two places at once, either she will give the majority of her time and energy in service to her husband, her children and her home as God had designed her to do, or she will give the majority of her time and energy to others outside her home as she pursues her career outside the home.

So on the female gynecologist argument, I have shown that for two reasons this argument does not hold up when put under closer examination. There are not enough female physicians to service all the women that need medical care. Also from the perspective of Biblical Gender roles, we must cannot, if we accept God’s Word on the nature and design of woman, encourage more women to be OB-GYNs.

I completely realize that my argument against more female doctors could play right into the “doctor shortage” problem. If we have less women doctors, then we would have less doctors and create a larger problem. I agree that it would under the current system.

But there is an easy way to solve this problem. We need to do a better job of establishing different levels of medical caregivers. We need to encourage the training of more male physician assistants and male nurse practitioners, men who do not have to have all the training of a full a doctor. This would greatly alleviate the pressure on doctors and allow them to handle the cases that truly need a fully trained doctor.

ARGUMENT #3 Sexual Arousal

Finally we will address Pastor Dave Anderson’s argument from the point of lust.

Light switch. 3d illustration isolated on white background

Let me first say where I agree with Pastor Dave – men don’t have an “On and off” switch for sexual arousal. Many male gynecologists will privately admit they are sometimes turned on by their patients, if they find them attractive. But let’s also be honest with the fact that for every patient that is attractive to a male doctor, there will be several that are not attractive.

As I have pointed out in my previous post addressing Pastor’s Dave’s “Lust of the Eyes” essay – Sexual arousal is NOT lust. Please review that post examining the scriptures on this very crucial point. If we error by believing and teaching the false doctrine that mere sexual arousal is lust, then Pastor Dave would be right that no man should ever be a gynecologist from a Christian perspective. But if we follow Pastor Dave’s perspective, men ought to look at the ground everywhere they go, for fear of seeing a beautiful woman and becoming sexually aroused (and therefore lusting).

It is not sinful for a woman to disrobe for her physician, as Pastor Dave asserts. As long as she is not setting out to purposefully make him lust after her (as some female patients do with their doctors), then she has committed no sin by disrobing in his presence for a medical examination. Contrary to Pastor Anderson’s assertion – Nakedness is not always sinful, see my post “Why Nudity is NOT always shameful?”.

In the same way, it is not wrong for a male gynecologist to have his female patient disrobe for an examination. It is not sin for him to examine her in a medical and professional way. It is also not sin for him to be turned on by her beauty if she is attractive to him.

What is sinful, is if he either thinks of ways to get her to have sex with him outside of marriage (lustful thoughts), or he actually engages in sexual behavior with her. That is the truth of Scripture.

Conclusion

91% of gynecologists never engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with their patients. There are not enough female gynecologists to serve the needs of all the women out there. Christians should not be encouraging more woman to leave the duties of their home to be physicians. There is no sin in a woman disrobing for her male doctor, or being medically examined by him. A male gynecologist is not sinning if he is aroused by an attractive female patient in the course of his duties. The sin comes in what he does with that arousal. Based on these facts, it is not wrong for a Christian woman to see a male gynecologist, and it is not wrong for a man to be a gynecologist.

 

 

Is it wrong for Christians to pose nude, or paint and photograph nudes?

nice portrait of a young woman with naked shoulder posing inside a frame

Is it wrong for Christians to pose nude for painters or photographers? Is wrong Christians to take nude pictures of models, or paint nude models? Is wrong for Christians to be involved with nudity at all?

The lust argument

Many Christians would say –“Duh – ya! Of course it is wrong for a Christian to pose nude, or take nude photos, or paint nudes or to have any involvement in nudity at all”.

The reasons for this common belief among Christians are:

  1. If a person poses nude, there image will be used to cause others to lust.
  2. If a person takes nude photography, or paints nude – they may lust themselves after the model they are painting or photographing and/or cause others who see the photograph or nude to lust.

I would not argue with the fact that if a person poses nude, they might cause others to be sexually aroused by their beauty. While this could apply to women as well, it would primarily apply to men because men are usually much more visual than women.

But the fact is, the Bible never condemns sexual arousal, it only condemns sexual lust. While sexual arousal and sexual fantasy can lead to sexual lust, they do not have to, any more than our hunger for food has to lead to gluttony.

Our sexuality, our sexual nature, is a part of who we are as human beings, this true for men and women. As men, we are much more sexual in our natures, due to having 10 more times the testosterone in our bodies. Our brains are bathed in testosterone while we are in the womb, and this makes us have highly competitive, aggressive and yes sexual brains.

As believers, God wants us to channel our sexuality in positive ways that do not break God’s law. While all acts of physical sex are reserved for marriage between a man and woman, this does not mean we have to suppress our sexuality until we are married. It also does not mean that after marriage all of our sexual energy, and every sexual thought must be about our spouse.

What it means is we are not to fantasize about trying to get someone to sleep with us outside of marriage, whether we are single or married, that is the very definition of lust. Lust is fantasy to possess something that does not belong to us.

Lust is NOT being sexually aroused by the sight of a beautiful woman.

Lust is NOT being wondering what a woman looks like with her clothes off.

Lust is NOT having a sexual dream or fantasy about a woman you are not married to.

The “no arousal” argument

There may be some Christians (and non-Christians) that think it is OK to paint or photograph nude models as long as there is no arousal. Every time I hear this theory, it makes me want to chuckle. I don’t dispute that in 95% of cases, especially for men, the site of a nude model that is even semi attractive would cause sexual arousal.

Now can men learn to hide their arousal? Certainly. But we as men are hardwired for visual beauty, it’s a fact. To say otherwise is a biological lie. But again as I said above, there is no sin or immorality with being aroused at the site of a beautiful woman. It is what we do with that sexual arousal that will become sinful, or not sinful behavior.

Let me review some principles from my article “Is Nudity always shameful”:

  1. As a general rule, God wants people to be clothed. In most circumstances, to be naked is to be shamed.
  2. We are not to uncover the nakedness of anyone involuntarily, or for the purposes of having sex with someone we ought not to be having sex with (anyone outside of lawful marriage).
  3. Most instances of nakedness being a shame in the Bible are of involuntary nakedness such as being captured in war and being stripped, a woman being raped, or someone being in poverty and losing one’s clothes. A person having their clothing taken from them against their will is shameful and disgraceful.
  4. In some instances, when clothing is removed voluntarily, and with specific purpose for limited time, it is not a shame or sinful to do so.

So once we understand that lust is not sexual arousal, or even sexual fantasy, but is instead thoughts and fantasies about actually possessing someone that we cannot have, or having someone outside of marriage, then we need to look at principles for nudity.

God wants us as believers to be clothed, generally speaking – see my post Why God meant people to be clothed.

However, when someone disrobes voluntarily, for a specific time, and for a specific duration for the purposes of being painted or photographed – no sin has occurred.

Song Solomon shows the beauty of the human body, along with a wife painting her husband’s body with words (Song of Solomon 5:10-16), and a husband painting his wife’s body with words (Song of Solomon 7).

The husband of Song of Solomon calls his wife’s body, “The work of the hands of an artist” in Song of Solomon chapter 7:

“How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter!

The curves of your hips are like jewels, the work of the hands of an artist.

2 “Your navel is like a round goblet which never lacks mixed wine; your belly is like a heap of wheat Fenced about with lilies.

3 “Your two breasts are like two fawns, Twins of a gazelle.

4 “Your neck is like a tower of ivory, your eyes like the pools in Heshbon by the gate of Bath-rabbim; your nose is like the tower of Lebanon, Which faces toward Damascus.

5 “Your head crowns you like Carmel, and the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads; The king is captivated by your tresses.

6 “How beautiful and how delightful you are, my love, with all your charms!

7 “Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters.

8 “I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’ Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, And the fragrance of your breath like apples,

9 And your mouth like the best wine!” “It goes down smoothly for my beloved, flowing gently through the lips of those who fall asleep.

Song of Solomon 7:1-9(NASB)

Conclusion

I completely disagree with those who are Christian, or even non-Christian (such as Muslims) who believe that nudity must be covered at ALL times (except for between a man and woman in the privacy of their own home).

Both from a Biblical perspective, as well as practical perspective, how does it make sense that God has made the human body so beautiful, especially that of women (“the work of an artist”), only for it to be hidden away?

I have used this example before, and I think it very applicable to this issue beauty as well as nudity.

Single Orange Tree

Imagine that a man plants a beautiful orange tree in his yard. It grows and blossoms with beautiful fruit. But people walk by and look at its beauty, and this bothers him, because he reasons “that tree belongs to me, and its beauty is only for me”. So he hires a construction company to build a 20 foot wall around it with a door so only he can enter and see its beauty.

Now most of us would find this utterly ridiculous, but this is how some men see their wives, and some wives think they should be treated as wife. They see a woman’s beauty as something to be hidden, and only enjoyed by the husband in private.

Using this same tree, continuing our analogy, what if the man did not build the wall but allowed the beauty of his tree to be enjoyed by all his neighbors, and all who would drive by his home?

If the tree represents his wife, there would be no sin people walking by and enjoying the beauty of his “tree”, then the only sin would be if someone were to come and touch that “tree”, and take from its fruit – for that tree belongs him and him alone.

Although God wants us to be clothed as we go about our daily lives, there is a place and a time for nudity and the display of the art, the beauty and sexual allure of the human body. There is a place in Christianity for artistic as well as erotic nudity. But as Christians we must always exercise our expressions of art and sexuality within the bounds of God’s law.

See these other related posts in this series on Biblical Nudity:

Why did nudity become shameful after the fall?

Why God meant for people to be clothed

Why nudity is not always shameful for a Christian

Why nudity is not always shameful for a Christian

Why nudity is not always shameful

Is nudity always shameful? Some would say yes. They could point to many passages of Scripture that associated nudity with shame. I believe that as a general rule, God meant for us as human beings to be clothed. He did not intend for us to just go naked everywhere we went, whether it is for shopping at the store or going about the daily business of our lives.

There is a time and place for everything under heaven

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3:1(KJV)

Are there times and places for nudity? Some might say there is never a time for nudity (outside of nudity between a husband and wife in marriage), but the Scriptures show otherwise:

Job’s humility before the Lord

“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not…” – Job 1:20-22a (KJV)

Job – after losing his children and everything he had, tore his clothes fell to the ground naked before the Lord. This a great act of humility – and the Scriptures are clear, he did not sin in becoming naked in this instance.

David’s praises the Lord naked

“14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod… And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart…

20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

21 And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. 22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour.

23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.” – II Samuel 6:14 & 16 & 20-23(KJV)

David danced for the Lord and worshiped him naked. His wife, Michal, was angry and jealous of his dancing in front of other women being naked. God blessed David for this, and he cursed Michal with barrenness for her jealousy.

God orders Isaiah to preach naked

“At the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.” – Isaiah 20:2(KJV)

While Isaiah preached naked as a sign to Egypt and upon Ethiopia that they would be conquered by Assyria and brought back naked and barefoot, the issue is that God did sanction nakedness here.

So we have three distinct instances of nakedness that were clearly blessed and condoned by God. Job’s nakedness in his humility toward God, David’s nakedness in his worship of God and Isaiah’s nakedness in preaching in the Word of God.

All three instances of Biblical nudity have some things in common

All three of these instances, besides being condoned by God, have people willingly becoming naked. All three of these instances also have people becoming naked for a specific purpose, and not nudity was not their normal way of life.

Nakedness is like marriage

God designed man and woman for marriage. Specifically, God designed woman for man, and he created marriage as the protection for that physical, emotional and spiritual relationship. But God makes exceptions to his general purpose that men and women should marry. He calls some men and women to celibacy, he gives them this gift of celibacy for his service.

In the same way as marriage, we can see throughout the Scriptures that God’s meant as a general rule for people to be clothed. God clothed Adam and Eve in the Garden, he designed our bodies to be clothed (as our bodies are not meant to brave the elements). He often speaks of nakedness as a shame, but yet we see three instances in Scripture where God sanctions nakedness.

Biblical Principles for Clothing and Nakedness

When we compare these instances with the rest of Scripture, I believe we can establish these principles:

  1. As a general rule, God wants people to be clothed. In most circumstances, to be naked is to be shamed.
  2. We are not to uncover the nakedness of anyone involuntarily, or for the purposes of having sex with someone we ought not to be having sex with (anyone outside of lawful marriage).
  3. Most instances of nakedness being a shame in the Bible are of involuntary nakedness such as being captured in war and being stripped, a woman being raped, or someone being in poverty and losing one’s clothes. A person having their clothing taken from them against their will is shameful and disgraceful.
  4. In some instances, when clothing is removed voluntarily, and with specific purpose for limited time, it is not a shame or sinful to do so.

One application of these principles would be – it is not wrong for a woman to disrobe for her physician(even if he is a man). This is temporary nudity, for a specific purpose and there is no sin in this.  This is our third article in the series “Biblical Nudity”. In upcoming articles we will apply these principles for clothing and nudity to more real life situations.

See these other related posts in this series “Biblical Nudity”:

Why did nudity become shameful after the fall?

Why God meant for people to be clothed

Is it wrong for Christians to pose nude, or paint and photograph nudes?

Why God meant for people to be clothed

Why God meant for people to be clothed

I believe that it was God’s intention for man and woman to be clothed whether or not Adam and Eve ever sinned – the proof is that we will be clothed in the eternal state.

Humans have no natural protection from elements

We as human beings in our natural state are exposed, and thus we are meant to be clothed. Clothing protects our skin from extreme temperatures (hot and cold), and from being cut and scraped. This why we wear clothing and shoes.

Symbolic Purposes for Clothing

It is clear from the Bible that God loves symbols. Marriage while have practical purposes in this life, is also a symbol of the eternal relationship between God and his people. Yeast was symbolic of sin. Boaz redeeming Ruth was a symbol of Christ’s redemption of all mankind. There are countless symbolisms in Scripture, and clothing is no exception. While clothing has practical purposes that we have previously pointed out, clothing also has symbolic purposes.

Being clothed separates mankind from all other creatures

God could have designed people with a super durable and protective exterior to the extent that we did not need clothing, but he did not. The reason was that he wanted to separate us out as special from all his other creations. Every other creature on this planet does not need clothing, but they are given custom clothing by God himself. Birds have feathers, bears, dogs and cats have fur. Some creatures have scales, while others have extremely thick skin. Turtles have shells.

In the Scriptures God made a man to be like an animal for sinning against him:

“The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.”

Daniel 4:33(KJV)

King Nebuchadnezzar sinned against God, and God made him go about as an animal for a time, because of his sin. The phrase “his body was wet with the dew of heaven” is acknowledged by many commentators as meaning he was naked. He replaced his clothing with excess body hair, in the same fashion as an animal, or more specifically like eagle’s feathers.

As we saw in the first section, the temporal reasons for clothing are practical ones.

Clothing is symbol of righteousness, while nakedness is symbol of shame

In Revelation chapter 19 we see that clothing is a symbol of the righteousness of the saints:

Job shows us that his righteousness was a clothing:

“I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.” – Job 29:14(KJV)

John tells us in the book of Revelation that clothing was symbolic of the righteousness of the saints:

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” – Revelation 19:7-8(KJV)

In Revelation chapter 3 we see that clothing covers the shame of nakedness:

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” – Revelation 3:18(KJV)

Clothing is a symbol of salvation:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” – Isaiah 61:10(KJV)

While clothing has many positive symbolisms in the Bible, nakedness is often associated with poverty or shame:

Christ spoke about nakedness as symbol of poverty:

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” – Matthew 25:35-36(KJV)

The scripture also see nakedness as symbolic of shame:

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” – Revelation 16:15(KJV)

Conclusion

In this third second article in our “Biblical Nudity” series, we have established why God always meant for mankind to be clothed (even if the fall had never happened). We can see that unlike other creatures in God’s creation, man was not made with a natural and durable covering to brave the elements and protect his body from damage. We can see there is great symbolism in man being clothed, and it separates and distinguishes us from all the rest of God’s creation on earth.

Clothing, for the most part, has a very positive symbolism in Scripture being symbolic of things like righteousness, salvation and prosperity. Nakedness on the other hand, is often associated with shame, disgrace and poverty.

In our next article in this series, we will discuss “Why nudity is not always shameful”.

See these other related posts in this series “Biblical Nudity”:

Why did nudity become shameful after the fall?

Is it wrong for Christians to pose nude, or paint and photograph nudes?

Why did nudity become shameful after the fall?

Whynudityshame

Why did nudity become shameful after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Was it because they realized what sexual attraction was? Was it because of the potential for lust that God clothed them? Or were there other reasons that God clothed Adam and Eve, and nakedness became a shame after Eden?

There was no shame about nakedness before the fall

The Bible says this about Adam and Eve right after they were created by God:

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” – Genesis 2:25(KJV)

Shame felt for the first time

In Genesis 2 – God had told Adam not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Then we read in Genesis 3 that sometime after God created Eve for Adam, and brought them together in the first marriage, Eve was deceived by the Devil. He promised her this “knowledge” that God was hiding from her and told her that she and Adam could become gods by eating the fruit.

Eve ate the fruit, convinced her husband to eat it and the Bible says:

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden… And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” – Genesis 3:8-11

The Bible tells us “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” and they sewed leaves together to cover their nakedness. They instantly knew after eating the fruit that they were naked, and needed to be clothed.

The reason for Adam and Eve’s shame

The source of Adam and Eve’s shame was not some new knowledge about sex or lust as is many times presented by various theologians and writers. The source of their shame was not even knowledge of evil, but it was in fact a new and expanded knowledge of what is good.

What is often overlooked is the fact that the tree was not just a tree of the knowledge of “evil”, but also of “good” (Genesis 2:17 & 3:22). Most people only think of the tree giving Adam and Eve knowledge of sin and evil, but the fact is, it also gave them a more complete knowledge of what is good.

When we see little one and two year olds running around the house naked and unashamed, we call them “innocent”. But we know Biblically that children are born sinners, and they sin just as adults do, just in different ways. Little children lie, steal and hurt one another. What we really mean when we call that naked two year old running around “innocent” is, that they are “ignorant” of the fact that as human beings we are not meant to be naked at all times, but we are meant to be clothed.

Just as babies and one and two year olds are ignorant of their nakedness, and the need for clothing, so too Adam and Eve were ignorant of this need for clothing as well, this why they felt the shame they did about their nakedness.

If nakedness were truly a symbol of innocence, then when we get to heaven and when we dwell with God for eternity, we would again be naked. But look at what God says in the book of Revelation regarding clothing:

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” – Revelation 7:9(KJV)

In the eternal state, we will be clothed in white, not naked. We will once again be completely innocent from sin, yet we will not be naked.

Who told you that?

What was God’s first response to Adam and Eve’s knowledge of their nakedness?

“Who told thee that thou wast naked?” – Genesis 3:11(KJV)

Let me give an example to illustrate from a parents point of view. Imagine you have a 6 or 7 year old child, and they find out at school from some kid in their class about sex. Any parent would reasonably ask “Who told you about that? It’s not that the knowledge of sex is bad thing, it is simply that it was not yet time for the child to have this knowledge. This is exactly what happened in Eden.

Make no mistake, God was angry at the way Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of their nakedness through sin, and not in the way he intended for them to find out, from him and in his perfect time.

God did not clothe Adam and Eve because of the presence of sin. He did not cloth them because of some new knowledge about sex or sexual lust.

He clothed them, because they were always meant to be clothed.

This has been the first article in our series on “Biblical Nudity”. In this first post we talked about the shamefulness of nudity, in other posts in this series we will cover topics such as “Why God meant for people to be clothed”, “Why nudity is not always shameful”, “Can Christians pose for and paint nudes?” and other related topics to Biblical nudity.

Lawlessness, God’s Law and Tradition – Which one do you and your Church serve?

historic white church on the hill, bodega, california

In many Christian Churches today, we see one of two extremes. We see churches preaching against traditionalism (or legalism as it often referred to today) but not preaching against lawlessness. We also see churches preaching against lawlessness, but many of these same churches fail to preach against traditionalism (legalism). It is becoming less and less common in our culture to see Churches that neither go to the left nor the right of God’s law.

Do not turn to the right or to the left

This subject of not going to the right or left of God’s law seems to be a very important theme in the Scriptures.

“Be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you are not to turn aside to the right or the left.”

Deuteronomy 5:32 HCSB

This phrase of not turning to “the right or the left” of God’s commands is repeated 7 more times in the Scriptures(Deuteronomy 17:20, Deuteronomy 28:14, Joshua 1:7, Joshua 23:6, 2 Kings 22:2,2 Chronicles 34:2,Proverbs 4:27).

God also uses another phrase to express this same sentiment:

“You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 HCSB

This same phrase of “not adding or taking anything” away from God’s law is repeated in Deuteronomy 12:32.

So in total, 10 times, count them – 10 times God says he does not want us to go the left of his law, or to the right of his law, he does not want us to add to his law, or take away from his law.

When we go to the left of God’s law, and we take away from God’s law, we get lawlessness. When we go to the right of God’s law, we add to God’s law and we get tradition.

LawlessnessGodsLawManslaw

Jesus Christ himself reserved some of his most vehement scolding for Jewish teachers of the Law who added to God’s laws and taught their traditions as being equal to God’s law when he quoted from Isaiah:

“In this way, you have revoked God’s word because of your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said:

8 These people honor Me with their lips,

but their heart is far from Me.

9 They worship Me in vain,

teaching as doctrines the commands of men.””

Matthew 15:6b -9 HCSB

The Apostle Paul, when fighting against a new false teaching that added rules to God’s Word spoke these words:

“8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ… 16 Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his unspiritual mind. 19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.

20 If you died with the Messiah to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: 21 “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? 22 All these regulations refer to what is destroyed by being used up; they are commands and doctrines of men. 23 Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence.”

Colossians 2:8 & 16-23 HCSB

The Three types of spiritual slavery in the New Testament

In the passage we just quoted from Colossians 2, Paul talks about human tradition taking us captive. He has used this concept of captivity with lawlessness as well when he states:

“19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.”

2 Peter 2:19 HCSB

Paul talks about another type of slavery, a positive type of slavery:

“16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. “

Romans 6:16-18 HCSB

So we have three masters we can serve, Lawlessness, God or Tradition. Being a captive of Lawlessness or Tradition are both equally sinful activities.

Examples of the difference between Lawlessness, God’s law and Tradition

LawlessnessGodsLawManslaw2

What if I or my Church practice some of these traditions, am I sinning?

Please don’t misunderstand me. We all have some rules for ourselves, or as parents for our children that may fall into some of the categories I have mentioned above. Even some Churches may have some rules that are not found in the Bible.

It is one thing to have a rule or standard for one’s life, one’s family, or even for Church activities, and another to teach these things as doctrines of Scripture that all men must follow, else they are sinning.

For instance, if I personally have a rule for my family that we won’t drink alcohol in our home, there is no sin in that. But if I teach that the drinking of any alcohol is wrong for all people, and sinful for all people – then I am being a slave to tradition and I am sinning by adding to God’s Word. God’s Word condemns drunkenness, not drinking.

Perhaps you believe that God wants you and your family to tithe, to give 10 percent of your gross income to your local church. There is no sin in this belief, as long as you understand that it is not sinful for others give less than 10% to their local churches, because tithing was never instituted as a method of giving for the New Testament Church. Anyone who teaches this as a doctrine for the New Testament Church is being a slave to the traditions of men, and is adding to the New Testament which clearly says with New Covenant, we are no longer under the old law.

I could go on, but you get the point. There is nothing wrong with having traditions that you follow, as long as those traditions do not cause you to violate the commands of God, and as long you never equate those traditions with the commands and doctrines of God’s Word.

So the question is what master will you serve? Lawlessness? God or Tradition?

This has been the first in series of posts I wanted to write relating to traditionalism. In this first post I wanted to compare and contrast following lawlessness, God’s law and the traditions of men. This is not just some theoretical exercise, I grew up in Churches that believed in many of the traditions I listed, and they held strong convictions that anyone who did not embrace these traditions as the commands of God, were in fact sinners under the judgment of God.

Many times on this blog I have been accused of being a traditionalist myself, because of my strong convictions regarding Biblical Gender Roles. But the major difference between mine and millions of Christians who believe in Biblical Gender Roles and these traditions I listed above is – there are ample Scriptural commands that teach Biblical Gender Roles, there are no Scriptural commands that teach any of the traditions I have shown above. They are built on conjecture, and opinion, not on clear Scriptural commands.

In upcoming posts I will be reviewing actual doctrinal statements from a church website that one my blog readers referred to me where this Church teaches many of these traditions as the commands of God, rather than the traditions of men.