Friday, January 20, 2006

Theology of Clothing

Why must we wear clothes? What is different about us versus Adam and Eve, who did not wear clothes? For that matter, why did Adam and Eve feel the need to make clothes after the Fall?

The more I have thought about it, the more am I convinced that the real reason is intimacy, or the lack thereof. Here is the reasoning.

Before the Fall, Adam and Eve first of all each had intimacy with God. Their relationship with God was unmarred. Therefore they had intimacy with each other, and that also was a right relationship.

Then came the Fall. Neither Adam nor Eve then had a right relationship with God; God cursed the relationship between them so that they no longer had intimacy. Because they did not have intimacy, they needed clothes. It follows by contraposition that if you do not need clothes when you are with someone (hopefully your spouse!), you must be intimate with that person.

Now we can see why it is immoral not to wear clothes. Not wearing clothes implies an intimacy. If you don't have that intimacy, then not wearing clothes is really lying. You're saying the intimacy's there when it isn't.

Where am I going with this? A little while ago, I posted a blog entry on female modesty. The present blog entry, to my mind, not only provides the theological reason for my previous comments, but also supports another conclusion: it is equally wrong for men to appear unclothed where there is no intimacy as it is for women. I'm not saying the consequences would necessarily be the same; I understand that men and women are different in how they react to visual stimuli. However, that does not change my line of reasoning here. It is still wrong for men to be naked. So, men: you need to dress modestly also! Furthermore, my little "rule" (please see my previous warnings about legalism) about neck to knees and not too tight seems quite as appropriate for men as it does for women. I realize this goes against the grain of modern culture, which certainly sees nothing wrong with half-naked men going about. I submit to you that 10,000 Frenchmen can still be wrong. Naturally, that does not necessarily make me right. But this is hopefully food for thought. I'd be interested in your ideas.

In Christ.


 
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9 Comments:

At 1/22/2006 07:58:00 PM , Blogger Susan said...

I agree with you that neck-to-knees-and-not-too-tight can well be applied to men as well.

Much more emphasis is placed on female modesty usually, which I think is an appropriate emphasis. Not only are men more visually stimulated than women, but women seem to have far more "trouble" with covering themselves, so I see why more emphasis is placed more on female apparel. Men like to notice, and women like to be noticed; so is sinful nature.

As a woman, I find it a struggle to keep my thoughts pure when men have on tight clothes, saggy pants (do they think it looks attractive?), no shirt, etc. The neck-to-knees rule would sure help in this area.

Why do both men and women seem to think that the rules of modesty fall by the wayside when one visits the beach or a pool? More and more I find myself just trying to avoid such situations, as it is impossible to keep one's eyes diverted at all times, which is the only way to avoid the flesh parade. It sure would be nice if the men would at least put on a shirt. . . and I just feel sorry for all you guys when I look at the scraps of fabric my own kind wears.

I do think that some (especially in the homeschool community. . . ) can take modesty to an extreme, resulting in the disdain - instead of proper respect and admiration - for things like human beauty. It makes me sad to hear of people who think that more layers = more holy, or to hear of a father who won't allow his daughter to wear her hair down because "it looks too pretty that way." Since when is Beauty a dirty word?

 
At 1/22/2006 09:04:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Susan.

Thank you for your thoughtful comments! I agree that female modesty requires special attention that is usually not so pressing a need as the other. But that is not to say it should be ignored. For one thing, if men did dress modestly, it might encourage the women to do so. But mainly, of course, the men should show one way or another (and it might have to be subtle, given the propensity of women to be very defensive about their clothes) that they will have nothing to do with a woman who dresses immodestly, just like Joseph would have nothing to do with Potiphar's wife. Indeed, sometimes I wonder if some of those women aren't being just as brazen as Potiphar's wife was. On the other hand, most of them would be highly insulted if any man did what her clothes suggested. *sigh*

I fully agree with you that modest does not mean ugly. There is such a thing as feminine beauty, and there is no need to pretend you're not a woman in order to avoid stumbling your brothers. It is quite possible, because I've seen it done, to dress modestly yet attractively.

I also agree (in fact, I don't think I disagree with anything at all you said :-)) with the beach problem. Perhaps you've seen this web page:

http://www.freewebs.com/
swimwear_solutions/

This is extremely encouraging. I, for one, think those swimsuits are modest (they follow the neck-to-knees rule, at least!), functional, and attractive. Quite an accomplishment.

Even more encouraging: there are godly women like you around who are finally thinking about this. I thank you from my heart. You probably remember, but since you seem to like my neck-to-knees rule, I hope you remember my warnings against any sort of legalism. This is, after all, a man-made rule and therefore by no means is it on a par with God's law.

*laughs* "my own kind?" Ja, I think women are a completely different species at times. ;-)

In Christ.

 
At 1/23/2006 08:21:00 AM , Blogger Susan said...

Yes, I have seen the website you linked, as well as others that are similar. I think choices such as those are excellent solutions.

I fully agree with you that your rule is merely a rule, not God's law. To believe so would be legalism. I was assuming that you were aware that I was aware of that, but it would have been good for me to clarify this so you didn't think that your post had birthed a legalist :). Thank you for the warning.

 
At 1/24/2006 07:14:00 PM , Blogger zan said...

I for one am very happy about clothing. It is really cold here in New hampshire.

I can't remember a time where my thoughts strayed because of a scantily clad man.(Frenchman in speedos is the most retarded looking thing in the world.) What always attracted me to men were there eyes. (I'm partial to blue). I guess we should encourage men to wear dark glasses. Fortunately, my husband had blue eyes.

I am just kidding about the sun glasses comment.

 
At 1/24/2006 10:38:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Susan.

Well, I did rather highly suspect you of thoroughly avoiding the error of legalism. :-) On the other hand, you can never be too careful. I'm glad you didn't seem to take offense. It is rather a relief to be able to communicate without walking on eggs the whole time. I've got a head like a brick wall, so never fear on that score!

In Christ.

 
At 1/25/2006 11:13:00 AM , Blogger Tammy said...

We agree on something.I despise men who are out cutting the grass in nothing but shorts and their bellies hanging out.My husband has been known to go without a cover while swimming but since we don't go very often we have proably never thought of always being covered.Also tight clothes on men should be outlawed-espcecially biking shorts!!!

 
At 2/01/2006 02:12:00 PM , Blogger Danny Patterson said...

Adrian,

Interesting post! What do you think about nakedness being a symbol, a visual reminder to Adam and Eve of their sin, and the covering given to them by God as a sign/symbol of their redemption?

In other words, nakedness is reminder of separation from God. Now, in the marriage relationship, this is taken away because intimacy is restored (per your post), and the picture is now of Christ and the Church in intimate union!

This speaks to female modestly as well. If nakedness (lack of adequate clothing) is a reminder/symbol/picture of sin, then to get as naked as possible without taken one's clothes off is nothing more than a reveling in sin! Covering one's self, adequately however, especially with the Christian, is a reminder of redemption.

At any rate, been thinking about this lately. It's gets to 110 degrees here in battle mountain and the clothes come off!

 
At 2/01/2006 02:13:00 PM , Blogger Danny Patterson said...

Please also forgive my various typos, etc....my mind works faster than my fingers, and many times they get left behind!

 
At 2/01/2006 09:58:00 PM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Danny.

I would agree that their nakedness is also a symbol, even if it really means something else also. I would instantly agree that the covering given them is a sign of their redemption. In fact, it isn't just a sign, it is their redemption. You remember that God said, "In the day you eat of it, you shall surely die." Well, in the day they ate of it, they actually did not die. Spiritually, they did. No question. But they did not die physically. How is that? I think that the clue is that God made for them coverings out of animal skins, sacrificing the animals in the process. Here we have our first recorded sacrifice. It must have been a solemn moment when Adam realized that the wages of sin is death, even when God is gracious.

I agree that when women try to reveal as much as they can without actually being completely naked, they are wallowing in sin. There simply is no other explanation.

Ja, if it's 110 degrees, and clothes are coming off, then men are thinking about it. That's an unavoidable cause and effect relationship, I'm afraid. Fight the good fight! May you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

 

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