THE QUESTION (No. 64)
Born From Above
This is how I understand the rebirth, it is a culmination of the birthing process, which is what we are experiencing now in the physical realm – with the final part of the process occurring at the Last Day – raising up or resurrection.
Is this what you understand as well?
Christian false doctrine is sticky stuff! Though I learned better long ago, I still find my mind contaminated by Christian false doctrine, and the process of spiritual reproduction is prime example. About four years ago I a paper on The Gender of God. Then, just last May I began to see the Light and published this paper, Spiritual Reproduction and the Gender of God to replace it. My error was in being stuck on the idea of being born again as the means of becoming a child of God. This springs from the erroneous and misguiding English translation of the Word from John 3:3f, that is nearly universal in Christendom.
First, the basic text is John 3:3-8, which is the prime source of the "born again" doctrine. Here it is in the Revised Standard Version:
3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4 Nicode'mus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.'
8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes, or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit."
And here it is in the Faithful New Testament:
Jn.3:3 FNT Jesus answered and said to him: Truly truly I say to you, if someone not be begotten from above , he is not able to see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus says to him: How is [a] man able to be begotten being old? Is he able to enter into his mother's belly [a] second time and be begotten? 5 Jesus answered: Truly truly I say to you, if someone not be begotten out of water and spirit , he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is begotten out of the flesh is flesh, and that which is begotten out of the spirit is spirit. 7 You should not marvel that I said to you, You must [all] be begotten from above. 8 The wind blows where it wants, and you do not know whence it is coming and where it is going, in this manner is everyone who has been begotten out of the spirit.Now, let's focus on the highlighted words. Only the Faithful New Testament gets it right. The NT Greek for "rebirth" or "begotten" (some have "born again," you say "reborn.") is the 3rd person, singular, aorist 1, subjunctive passive form -- gennethe. Now, examine the footnote (#1) provided by the Faithful New Testament and see the critical distinction that the great majority of English translations fail to consider. The Lord is not telling Nicodemus that he must be born again, but that he must be begotten again, consistent with the Father in heaven, above, having been assigned male gender pronouns by the Lord. Confirmation comes when we understand that the Father is in heaven, and that we are being told that we must be begotten from above. Christians have almost universally misconceived the whole process of spiritual reproduction by focussing on birth rather than begetting. Nicodemus' question, that calls attention to the womb, or belly, further tends lead us to misunderstand because we immediately think of the mother and of being born from the womb.
But that was not Nicodumus' question!
He heard "begotten" and he responded with "begotten." Christians misunderstand because they fail to acknowledge that the begetting is what takes place in the mother's "belly." The being born take place on leaving the mother's belly, not in it.
From this point, the Lord leaves the human reproduction metaphor, and proceeds to teach on a wholly different basis -- the metaphor of plant reproduction as in the parables of the Tares and the sower.
One of the unique things about Greek is that the aorist form of the verb, (does not exist in English) defines a kind of action. If it is an aorist, the action is instantaneous from beginning to end. Therefore in this case, the thing Jesus mentions is something that happens in an instant.