Re: John 3:5 and Carson

From: Andrew Kulikovsky (
Date: Fri Mar 14 1997 - 04:12:27 EST

Paul Dixon wrote:
> Of course, taking hUDATOS as reference to water baptism is the least
> likely, if at all possible, of the options available. The following
> parallel (v. 6) suggests the water be taken as the water associated with
> physical birth versus spiritual birth as denoted by PNEUMATOS paralleling
> "that which is born of the spirit is spirit."
> But, KAI could be taken ascensively or appositionally and the spiritual
> cleansing of Ezekiel be in view.

Someone mentioned Carson's discussion in "Exegetical Fallacies". I have
a copy of this book and checked it out. Very Interesting! (p. 41-42)

Carson said he initially accepted the idea that water = amniotic fluid
but turned away from this because He couldn't find any other ancient
text that spoke about being "born out of water". He then accepted (with
some reluctance) that water = semen = natural birth. He was then
convinced by a student that this phrase EX UDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS *doesn't
refer to 2 births but to one* (he says the fact that both nouns are
governed by one prep. favours this view).

Therefore v. 3, 5, 6b and 7 are all parallel statements. Water and
spirit are linked in Ezek 36:25-27, where the prophet forsees a time of
eschatalogical cleansing in which God will sprinkle clean water on his
people, making them clean, and will give them a new heart and a new
spirit - which Nicodemus should have understood.

Therefore the phrase isn't a hendiadys but a reference to the dual work
of the spirit (3:6) who simultaneously purifies and imparts God's nature
to man.

So what does everyone think about this argument? It does seem quite

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