Nudity is shun among Christians because the bible has taught us that nakedness is sinful, shameful and degrading. For example,
In Genesis 3:7, the fall of creation
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Adam and Eve were aware of their nakedness and were ashamed of it so they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves.
In Isaiah 47:3, the humiliation of Babylon
3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
and your disgrace shall be seen.
I will take vengeance,
and I will spare no one.
The Babylonians were humiliated by sitting on the ground and stripping.
In Ezekiel 16:35-36, the Lord’s faithless bride
35 “Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the Lord: 36 Thus says the Lord God, Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them,
In this context, the Lord is making known to Jerusalem her abominations, her unthankfulness and wrongdoings with nakedness being used to shame.
There are many other verses in the bible that talks about nudity with similar connotations to it. But first let me just zoom in on Genesis 3. In verse 21, it says
21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Once sin flooded the perfect bodies that God created, it was disgraceful, distasteful and utterly disgusting to be naked. Notice also, how God took away the fig leaves-something so temporal and uncomfortable and replaced them with garments of skin-something far more permanent and comfortable.
With this in mind, I want to talk about a question that I’ve been pondering on. My lecturer encouraged us to do some live drawings in studios to practice anatomy drawing. And I also went to the Louvre museum which featured lots of art from the Renaissance period. This means that a lot of the art pieces were mostly nude drawings of plus sized females and muscular males.
This got me thinking. If nudity is now having sinful implications, is it wrong to have nudity in art?
If the answer to this is yes, I can understand why.
Looking at nudes be it on a painting or during live drawings makes us all the more vulnerable to our natural sinful nature-lust and is not what God intended for us.
1 John 2: 16
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
Mathew 5: 28
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
James 1: 14-15
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Because the flesh is weak and the heart is deceitful, we will easily be enticed by the nude in front of us and when we give in to that desire, we give in to sin which will bring us down a dark path that will eventually lead to death. Not physically, spiritually.
That is why the bible tells us to flee from temptation.
2 Timothy 2:22
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
1 Corinthians 8:13 says “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”, likewise if looking at nudity in artworks, or if creating a piece of art involving nudes causes you or your brother to stumble, then I would say nudity in art is indeed wrong.
However, I could also counter this by saying that the nudity in my art pieces are to admire the once perfect bodies that God created. To remind us that we have fallen short of his perfect standard and therefore the nudes in my artwork does not cause me to lust, instead it causes me to glorify God all the more. After all, God did not intend for nakedness to be something ugly but rather something beautiful and pure.
In Genesis 2, God created Adam and Eve without clothing them and it was perfect
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
And in Song of Solomon 4, Solomon admires His bride’s beauty
4 Your neck is like the tower of David,
built in rows of stone;
on it hang a thousand shields,
all of them shields of warriors.
5 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that graze among the lilies.
Solomon describing His wife’s body in such a delectable, respectful manner.
Also in Song of Solomon 7, Christ the Beloved expresses His love to the church
7 How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O noble daughter!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
the work of a master hand.
2 Your navel is a rounded bowl
that never lacks mixed wine.
Your belly is a heap of wheat,
encircled with lilies.
3 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle.
Christ expresses His love and acknowledges God’s beautiful work of art again by describing the beautiful body He created.
The human body is a beautiful anatomy and a vessel for us given by the Creator. Nudity in this sense is a masterpiece done by the artist Himself. The reason nudity is shone in a bad light now is because of sin. Sin has corrupted our minds. It has made us aware of the shame we feel and it has opened us up to temptations and lust.
When doing live drawings, there will definitely be this sense of sexual attraction or arousal but it is not the attraction nor is it the arousal that is a sin, it is what we choose to do with this attraction and arousal. If we choose to act on it, it leads to lust which will then be a sin.
In my personal opinion, I don’t think nudity in art is a sin. It is up to one’s self to be responsible for his or her own sin because God will hold you accountable to all your sin and you will have to answer to Him.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.