Christian Reflections on Sex (Part 3)
Ever wonder why we don’t see elephants or cows wake up in the morning and put on a pair of pants and a shirt? In fact, we don’t see any kind of animal doing that. Ever wonder why humans spend so much time looking for the right thing to wear each morning? Humans are the only creatures that cover their bodies with pieces of fabric pretty much at all times. Why is this? From a naturalistic point of view, there could be many explanations. Some common ideas are that humans started wearing clothes to protect themselves from the weather or that clothing or body paint were (and still are) symbolic, an expression of self, and of culture. These things may be true, but they are still guesses as to how and why people started wearing clothes. Once again, as Christians, we can look to scripture to get an explanation of these things. Just as all foundational beliefs of Christianity, the answer lies in Genesis.
When God created Adam and Eve, He created them without clothes. Specifically in Genesis 2:25 it says that Adam and his wife, the first humans, were both naked and felt no shame. Pre-fall, naked-ness was shameless, in fact, it was so normal that Adam and Eve didn’t even realize “naked” was a thing. However, as soon as they disobeyed God, scripture says that their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. Upon this realization, Adam and Eve took fig leaves and made themselves coverings (Gen 3:7). Now, why would this happen? What does this imply? It implies that sin corrupted something good with shame. At the moment of creation, Adam and Eve were in perfect communion with God and with each other, they felt no shame about their nakedness- there was no shame in the natural state of humanity. Their nakedness reflected the life giving grace and love of God. However, once sin entered, humanity’s natural state became corrupted, it became something shameful. After Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit, they heard God walking in the garden and they hid in fear. When God called out to Adam and asked where he was at, Adam replied that he was afraid and hid because he was naked (Gen 3:10). It was then that the first sacrifice was made. God killed an animal in order to make Adam and Eve clothing to cover their nakedness. Because God cannot be in the presence of sin, something had to be done to cover that sin. An innocent animal had to suffer the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin in order for them to be covered- both physically and spiritually. As scripture says- without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin (Heb 9:22). For hundreds of years after this incident, millions more animals continued to lose their lives as a result of human sin. Because the blood of animals could only temporarily “clothe” people, they had to preform sacrifices again every time they sinned. The skins of animals wear away and decompose as the sin it covers grows bigger and bigger. Soon it would be time for new garments, and a new sacrifice had to be made.
Essentially, the reason humans wear clothes is because of sin. It’s ironic because we have all types of flashy and fancy clothing that we buy to feel confident and good about ourselves. We even have categories of clothing for different occasions like work clothing, leisure clothing, sport clothing etc… Yet no matter how we clothe ourselves, we need to remember the initial sacrifice that was made to cover Adam and Eve’s sin. We need to remember that no matter how nice our clothing is, we as humans wear it because our sin is detestable to God … Clothing is a sacrifice we wear, it is innocent blood that covers our shame.
Now, why are human beings obsessed with uncovering the body? Strip clubs are full every night, pornography sites need strong servers that can handle large volumes of traffic and it seems like almost every movie gives you at least a few flashes of body parts here and there. Humanity’s unnatural obsession with sex is well illustrated in C.S Lewis’s Mere Christianity, and I talk a little about it in my previous post (The Kite’s Freedom) We are continually lifting the edge of Adam’s robe made from animal flesh. Over and over, the Serpent’s attack is still the same- to put doubt in God’s work and to convince us that we can be like Him deciding the standards of right and wrong. Over and over, God provides His Word as a shield against death, but we want to look behind that shield in case He’s actually trying to keep us from “living the life”. Yet every time we as Christians peek behind the robe, every time we push God’s shield aside, we are pierced with the face of death. The sad thing is that the Enemy has done such a good job at convincing the rest of the world that the face of death actually isn’t the face of death. People then begin to find no need for the robe anymore, no need for the shield. No need for Christ’s sacrifice.
Yet, why are most humans disgusted by rape? Why does the majority agree that exhibitionists should be arrested and jailed? Society loves to decide what is right and wrong; pornography, voluntary on screen nudity, and sex with multiple partners outside of marriage puts the decision in our hands to participate or not. Rape, voyeurism, and exhibitionism does not let us decide, it is another deciding and imposing on us what they want. People’s aversions to these things suggest that deep down people know certain ‘kinds’ of sex is wrong. Consent is important yes, and there should be consent whenever sex is happening but that’s not all there is to it. God determines the context where that consent can even happen. People love sex and nudity but most people believe that only certain types of sex are ok and they believe they can determine the conditions. Why do people agree that rape is always wrong? It’s not about consent. Most people would agree that if there was an entire country somewhere in the world that thought it was ok to rape (by our understanding of it) most people would claim that those people were wrong regardless of what the country said or what those people believed. Most people acknowledge that rape is wrong by a higher standard above what any country thinks or believes, even if every single person in the country believed it.
However, most live inconsistently when it comes to other sexual things such as pornography. People pull the consent card saying that the people involved in pornography agree to record sexual acts publically. They claim that anyone can watch it if they would like since all parties are consenting. People claim that each individual can decide if they want to watch it or not because it’s an individual choice; but what if an outsider came and said that pornography is always wrong? That person would be met with much opposition and hostility, how dare he imply that he knows what’s right and wrong?! He is putting himself above everyone! The same exact thing would happen to the missionary going to tell the remote villagers that rape is always wrong! People will without question accept that rape is wrong but pornography is ok without ever questioning why they believe those things! Absolute standards exist, and they are given by God’s word not by man’s opinions! So then, why do we arrest exhibitionist and esteem pornography? Because we want to be like God and determine what is right from wrong.
As Christians we know the standards God places on humans yet we are not exempt from the bombardment of oversexualized propaganda. A lot of Christians watch pornography, and not because they think it’s ok. This is because just having absolute standards is not a way to freedom. The law does not bring freedom, it brings death. The standards show us we are incapable of living as we should- it points out that we are pretty much helplessly dependent on the skins that God made us to cover our sin. Humanity is in constant need of new clothes, as we soil ourselves quite quickly.
HOWEVER, as Christians, we are no longer clothed in animal skins, we are clothed with Christ- the ultimate perfect sacrifice! Galatians 3:37 says that those baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ! Ephesians 4:22-24 says “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Then later in Ephesians 6 we are told to put on the armor of God in order to be able to stand firm against the schemes of the Devil. Romans 13:14 also tells us to- “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” What we put on matters deeply to our success in overcoming any sin. Sometimes even being clothed in perfect attire, we still want to wear our old animal skins. Do not cover with flesh what only Christ can cover with His life. The Christian life is one of dependency; we will not be successful trying harder or submitting ourselves to more rules. The key is to remember who God made you- He made you HIS righteousness! (2Cor 5:21). Quit trying to sew fig leaves together to cover yourself and stop “making sacrifices” to make things right. Instead, ACCEPT the white robe that Jesus has given you and you will effortlessly shine because His life enables you. The Christian life is a life of TRUST, it is a life that is not our own but Christ’s!
Which sacrifice do you wear? Which sacrifice do you wish to uncover? Which nakedness do you wish to see? The one that is full of shame or the one free from it? The one that offers life or the one that leads to death? Live a life that continually seeks to uncover the abundant gifts that God offers you, one that contemplates the unfathomable love He gives you. This is the way to see and experience pure and holy nakedness, one that bares the soul and heart before God without shame.