This issue has been one lately that I have been researching some. I started with a search online for ‘Christian views of nude art’. I found a lot of articles that take the position that there is not anything impure about nudity; it is like Mark 7:21, that the impurity comes from our hearts (and how we view the nudity)... I have been thinking that the human form is the most beautiful of all God’s creations on earth, and why should we view it as an unclean thing? I honestly feel that I can view nude art (not pornography) and not lust. I feel like it is a form of worshipping God, because I am praising Him for the beauty of his creation... I had started viewing nude art as a form of worship, but when I told my wife about this, she does not feel comfortable with it. But isn't this a "disputable matter"?
She doesn't feel good about it, but I think she is calling something evil that I consider good (Romans 14:16). She is feeling insecure that I am looking at other women in nude art, but I am trying to reassure her that it is foolish to think that our physical appearance is going to endure. Why should I vainly restrain this sensual indulgence (like Colossians 2:23), especially when it is one that brings me a lot of encouragement? I liken it to the appreciation of a beautiful sunset, or countryside. Through reading the paper you can see a much more of how I see Scripture supporting this; and, I am wondering how the passage Romans 14:22 should manifest itself in my case. I partially want to, in moderation and in openness with a married brother, resume my occasional appreciation of this practice, without letting my wife know. I already know that she is not okay with me doing this, but she does not believe me that I feel in no way that this is pulling my heart from her. I love my wife more now than the day I married her, but I love her for who she is. I know that I nor her, nor any human is going to maintain their physical beauty (charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting), but why should I or anyone be denied the privilege of appreciating what God has made, what is lovely? I am torn on this subject and have spoken to several older married disciples about this, and still have not seen scripturally that this is a sin, or even wrong if done with the right heart.
I can honestly say that I do not see this as something that is not pulling my heart away from my wife: in some regards I feel like it makes me love my wife more, because I am more filled with the positive that comes from thinking about what is lovely, excellent, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). So... is there a difference between nude art and pornography? Is it a sin to appreciate (not lust after) the beauty of God's creation in nude art?
I am aware that there are very tasteful (by our society's standards) photographs and paintings depicting men and women nude, but I refuse to look at them. I also refuse to look at images of women dressed in very form-fitting clothes. Although our culture has drawn a line between what it considers appropriate and inappropriate images and dress, I see no reason to believe that the world is best suited to make godly decisions about what is appropriate and what is not. Looking at a woman in a tight sweater can be just as harmful to me as when they are wearing no top at all! I do not mean to give a law, but in general I think that nudity (outside of marriage) has a harmful effect on us, no matter what the purpose or medium. There are plenty of beautiful things in God's creation to appreciate that do not run the risk of harming my walk with God, so I choose to focus on those.
I doubt most Christians would say viewing nude art falls into the category of "disputable matters." In the case of eating meat sacrificed to idols (Romans 14 etc), Paul was saying in effect that it was okay for some but not for others. That’s because there are no “gods” but God. The body will endure eternally, though in a transformed form. Doctors see bodies all the time. But even then, there's modesty. They don’t desire the people they see. This just seems like lust… Lust is desire, esp. illicit desire. If your wife is uncomfortable, even if this were fine, you shouldn’t do it. Any more than you should lust after money. I think her uneasiness alone should be ample reason for you to change. I suspect most Christians -- 99% -- would advise you not to view it. I would be in that 99%. After all, if viewing nude art is fine, why not pornography? Can’t we view it in appreciation of the female form?
And I'm sure the early Christians (first 3 centuries) would be utterly shocked. Have you read what they wrote about women scantily clothed or unclothed? So this is really out of line with Christian orthodoxy. Women being lovely in form does not mean we should look at them unclothed. I see nothing in the scriptures justifying this. Actually, Habakkuk 2:15 comes to mind. We might want to look at them, but this is not right. --IBTM Research Team