The question I am trying to consider is whether the structure lends
itself more readily to a semi-contrast or to a connection of some sort.
My contention is that Jesus could have stated it more clearly if His
intent were to say, "No, Nicodemus, everyone is born of water, but
entrance into the kingdom requires the addition of spiritual birth." As
His words stand, they seem to be taken most naturally as giving a joint
expansion of anothen in verse three. Taken this way, verse five is an
expanded parallel, changing "see" to "enter" and "again (or from above)"
to "of water and spirit." There are, of course other arguments involved,
from context, OT imagery, and a number of sources and angles, but here
I've tried to consider the syntactical structure--an argument used on
more than one occasion to oppose the physical birth view, but never
really taken up in any detail. At least I haven't found anything
substantial on it.
Perhaps it is a bit odd for me to be responding to my own original
message, but I thought it fitting to close the matter, if in fact the
number and depth of responses is indicative of the regard held for this
study. I'll not beat it to death from this point forward.