Re: John 3:5 and the genitive

From: Andrew Kulikovsky (
Date: Sun Mar 16 1997 - 20:52:56 EST

Michael Palmer wrote:
At 11:22 PM +0000 3/15/97, Brian E. Wilson wrote:

>I have been waiting to see if anyone would raise the question concerning
>John 3.5 whether Jesus was including himself in his statement. Was Jesus
>himself GENNHQH EX hUDATOJ KAI PNEUMATOJ ? As the statement stands,
>there is good reason to suppose that Jesus was including himself in it.
>After all, He of all people was in the kingdom of God. If Jesus
>included himself in those "born of water" , and if, as some b-greekers
>are on record as having supposed, hUDATOJ means "semen", it would follow
>that, on such a view, Jesus had a human father.

But you can see EX hUDATOU as referring to physical birth without seeing
any reference to semen. The water probably (despite Carson's claims)
to the water of birth (amniotic fluid). Verse 6 strongly suggests that
water is parallel to physical birth.

>I personally think that GENNHQH EX hUDATOJ KAI PENUMATOJ does not allude
>to human procreation, but refers to baptism in water and being empowered
>by the Holy Spirit. We know (and I am sure the writer of the Fourth
>Gospel also knew) that Jesus was baptized in water and was empowered by
>the Holy Spirit. On this interpretation, Jesus includes himself in his
>statement in John 3.5 without implying that he had a human father.
>Brian E. Wilson

Yes, the writer of the fouth Gospel certainly knew that Jesus was
in water, but he never mentions that fact anywhere in his Gospel! Where
find the story of Jesus' baptism in the other three Gospels, John only
tells us of an encounter between Jesus and John the Baptist, but never
mentions that John baptized him. On the other hand, he mentions physical
birth (3:6) in the very next verse after the one we are discussing.

This is a good point concerning baptism.

However, I do find Carson's argument for EX UDATOS refering to cleansing
like that in Ezek 36:25-27, quite compelling.

He dismisses the idea of it refering to physical birth (which is what I
initially considered it to be) because there are no ancient parallels of
this phrase to be found. While this is in no way conclusive it is
*strong* evidence since you would expect to find such a phrase somewhere
if it was commonly used and if Jesus used it to explain himself to
Nicodemus who was having trouble understanding.

I take the reference to physical birth in v. 6 as emphasizing spiritual
birth rather than contrasting the two. Nicodemus asks: how can a person
be born again? (refering to physical birth) Jesus answers in v. 5 and
clarifies in verse 6: flesh gives birth to flesh, BUT SPIRIT GIVES BIRTH

In other words,"Nicodemus, unless a person is born again they will not
enter the Kingdom of God. Now I'm not talking about physical birth when
I say you must be born again, BUT SPIRITUAL BIRTH.

(caps = emphasis)

Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS
Software Engineer
CelsiusTech Australia
Module 6 Endeavor House
Fouth Ave, Technology Park
Adelaide, Australia
Ph: +618 8343 3837
Fax: +618 8343 3777

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