Re: John 3:5 and the genitive

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Thu Mar 13 1997 - 13:11:49 EST

Re: John 3:5 and the genitive
(I couldn't resist correcting the spelling of "genitive")

As I was reading this discussion, the thought occurred to me that though
being "born again/born from above" is one of the most common evangelical
terms - the act is considered CRUCIAL to one's salvation - we're still
having difficulty understanding or agreeing upon what Jesus (or the
gospel writer) meant. 3:5 (being born of water and S(s)pirit) is surely
a further elucidation (either in deeper or plainer terms) by Jesus of
what being "born again" (3:3) means - yet we 2,000 years later appear to
be just as puzzled as Nicodemus was by what Jesus said. (Not to mention
the fact that Jesus is talking about seeing or entering the kingdom of
God, which may be different from being saved or receiving eternal life,
the ideas which are popularly associated with being "born again.")
"Amniotic fluid" - "John's baptism" - "semen" (called "water" in
rabbinical terminology - I think D.A. Carson mentions this in
EXEGETICALFALLACIES) - "natural birth" - "baptism into Christ's death
followed by resurrection to newness of life" a la Ezekiel 37) - etc.
What's further frustrating is that efforts to understand this by
rational discourse and argumentation may be an impediment to
understanding things which can only be taught and done by the Spirit.

Oh, well...back to Greek.

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