05/05  Revised 04/06          

A Prayer
of Jesus

I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


By Edgar Jones


God our Father is spirit, and spiritual reproduction is the process by which he reproduces his spiritual sons.  We are here to investigate this process, and to seek to understand it in terms of the utterances of Jesus of Nazareth, who is our Lord and Master, and our Truth. 
What follows is a radical interpretation of John 3:3-8 and related texts.  The ideas may be new to you, as they were to me until very recently, when my perceptions underwent a sea change as regard to spiritual reproduction and the questions of gender.  Please be prepared for a new way of thinking about an old subject as you continue to read.

About three years ago I wrote and posted a paper on this site entitled The Gender of God.   It has now been removed from this site.  Within that paper I defined nine points of the "human reproductive pattern" and applied these same points to a "spiritual reproductive pattern," stating that each point in the natural process corresponds to a similar point in the spiritual process.  My motive for writing was to expose the growing feminist practice of applying feminine pronouns to God.  The motive was good, but the method was flawed.  I erred by making natural human reproduction in all its points a metaphor of the spiritual.  This paper is an attempt to correct that error and to present the process of spiritual reproduction as Jesus has revealed it.  He did not make the comparisons I made; I erred in making them, and ask forgiveness of anyone who has been troubled thereby.  It is plant reproduction, not human reproduction, that Jesus utilized as a metaphor for the spiritual reproduction that produces the sons of God.  The one exception is in his dialog with Nicodemus in Chapter 3 of the Fourth Gospel.

I. The Decisive Deed

Listen to our Good Shepherd:

Matt. 12:46 FNT While he was speaking to the crowd, behold his mother and brothers had stood out seeking to speak to him. 47  And someone said to him: Behold your mother and brothers have stood out seeking to speak to you. 48 But answering he said to him saying to him: Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? 49 And having stretched out his hand over his disciples he said: Behold my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

Do you hear him?  Once more, listen carefully:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

Oh, one must listen very, very carefully.  Yet once more, hear him:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

It is yet doubtful that you have heard him, for all the repeated exposure to this utterance.  You may have read the words many times already, yet without hearing them.  Instead, your mind has, if it is like mine, dredged a deep river of misunderstanding of this text that it naturally drops into. 

Perhaps it will assist if we take a look at what he might have said if he were thinking in that deep river of the dead where Christians usually think.  He did not say this:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens . . . is either my brother or my sister or my mother.

It is normal to not hear the he himself. The brother, sister, and mother are three relationships that we distinguish in either of two ways.  We distinguish brother from sister by gender.  Mother is gender specific, but more than that, it defines a function -- that of mothering children -- of giving birth.  Brother and sister do not define functions.  So, these three all have to do with gender, in the case of brother and sister and mother,  and also function in the case of mother.  That is the way things are in the river of misunderstanding, if one insists on translating these concepts into the realm of the Eternal.

Recall now the circumstances of this utterance.  Mary, the mother of the Lord, and her other sons, his siblings, had come to speak with him and they find him in the press of a crowd.  Word comes to the Lord:

Behold your mother and brothers have stood out seeking to speak to you.

He responded immediately,

Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?

Then he answered his own question, with the words we have examined above.  He did not recognize Mary as his mother, nor James, Joses, Judas and Simon (see Mark 6:3) as his brothers, (based on gender and function) but defined a new set, which he designated as mother and brother and sister.  This set consists of

whoever does the will of my father in the heavens. 

This is the decisive deed.  The two things, gender and function, play no part in it.  Those relations that are gender and function determined are not recognized, as these things play no part in doing the will of the Father or in spiritual reproduction.

II. The Different Determinant

We humans distinguish between mother, brother, and sister by means of gender and function in the human, mammalian reproductive process.  These are the determinants of these relations. 

Not so for Jesus!   He did not distinguish between brother, sister, and mother in relation to himself.  Instead, he lumped them all together, and distinguished them from others by a new determinant:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

Our Lord does not distinguish gender from gender, nor function from gender, nor even recognize either the function or the gender in his own true, spiritual relations.  Neither function nor gender exist in his mind, except as properties of earthly, carnal human beings. and he renounced all of those in this brief utterance, since they were the ones in question.

The confirmation of this statement is within the above statement of the Lord.  He uses what is, for us, a gender specific word for the whoever, of the phrase, whoever does the will, when saying, he, or he himself.  Then, immediately, he identifies this he himself as my brother and my sister and my mother.   This is not reasonable by carnal human definitions, for it transgresses all that humans naturally understand by these words.

Yes, he can be my brother, but:

How can I, am man, be his sister?  This violates gender.

How can I, a man, be his mother? This violates both gender and function!

And these relations spring from his stated determinant:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens . . ..

That is the sole determinant, the decisive deed.  Do the will of the Father in the heavens, and you become . . . not his brother, . . . not his sister, . . . not his mother, . . . but all three!
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then it follows that all who are his brothers, sisters and mothers are sons of God, and that we become his brothers, sisters and mothers by means of one determinant -- by doing the will of God, his Father.  But again, he does not recognize the distinctive function of a mother to him, because he blends mothers together with brothers and sisters -- all the same, and all become so by a single determinant, the decisive deed -- by doing the will of his Father. Remember, he did not say one or the other of the three, but all three together!

III. A Different Reproduction Process

Humans are flesh.  We have spirit potential, but the reproduction process by which humans reproduce humans, according to the flesh, is one that requires both gender and function.  By this means we reproduce and have children in our likeness who are, among themselves, either brothers or sisters who have mothers.  This derives solely from the gender and function distinctions, which is solely of the flesh. 

God is spirit.  Thus Jesus informed the woman at the well (John 4:24), and humans generally accept this.  When He, being spirit, has children, He does so by a different reproduction process, that of the Spirit.  Jesus defined the most essential element of this reproduction process with these words:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

This doing of  the will of my father in the heavens defines the reproduction process that produces brothers, sisters, and mothers according to the flesh, yet all the same to Jesus.  It is also the process that produces sons for God the Father in the heavens, because Jesus is the Son of God, and all brothers are sons.  We can expand on this by turning to Jesus for an explanation of what he means by the will of my father in the heavens, and I have done so elsewhere.  We learn these things from him only by hearing and believing his Word, the words he spoke, which in sequence is the first thing.  But here we need to keep our thought sharply focussed on the reproduction process.

Unlike humans, the Father in the heavens does not utilize gender and gender functions in reproducing Himself so as to have sons in His likeness.  All of that is purely of the flesh. His reproduction process is
based on volition, or will, and has no gender components -- all of which is purely of the Spirit.  There are functional components, but without gender differentiation's.

Therefore, believing that Jesus speaks Truth from the Father, I conclude that our human reproduction process is specific to the flesh, and has no place with the Father in the heavens.  It follows that there is neither male and female in the heavens with the Father, and therefore the distinctions, brother / sister / mother do not exist there.  Jesus delivers this Word of Truth that is from the Father, and then confirms it by other utterances that are wholly consistent, such as this:

Mark 12: [24]FNT Jesus said to them, Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?
[25] For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

The reproduction process in the heaven and by which the Father reproduces HImself (and has children) is a process that is peculiar to the Spirit and is exclusive of any of the features of human, carnal reproduction that, through marriage of male and female, produces brothers, sisters, and mothers on the earth.  Therefore Jesus of Nazareth, whose perspective is that of the Father in the heavens, did not make these distinctions in relation to himself, who is the Son of the Father.  Further, there are no gender distinctions
in heaven.  These distinctions are wholly of the flesh, and there is no flesh there!

IV. Father, Brother, Son, He, Him, His, Himself

To earthbound humans, these terms are all specific to male gender, and Jesus majored on them in speaking of spiritual relations.  God is Father (our only father), Jesus is the Son of the Father, the disciples are all brothers (remember, he himself), and they are all sons.  The Lord characteristically utilized the (to us) male gender pronoun he in referring to all of these persons. 
How is this to be reconciled if, as I have stated, there is no gender in spiritual relations, spiritual reproduction, or in heaven? 

Just to assure that you understand, let's go back, yet again, to our basic utterance from above:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

This utterance preserves two examples of this practice of the Lord of applying to spiritual relations what, to us, are gender specific terms. He speaks here of
my father and of whoever does the will of my father as he himselfWe should state here that 'he himself' is a way the translator has chosen to render a subtle emphasis that Jesus is making, and who has by it preserved and strengthened the application of a gender specific term, he, to the one who is brother, sister, and mother!

This is reasonable only if we understand that he is not a gender specific term -- not to Jesus, not in the Word of Truth.  To us humans, yes; to the Son of God the Father, no! 

Gender necessitates a differentiation into male and female.  If either of these is absent, neither exists as a gender concept.  This is significant because, when we examine the utterances of Jesus, we discover that the female does not exist in relation to spiritual entities.  We have God the Father -- but not God the Mother; Jesus the Son -- but not the Daughter; disciples who are sons -- but not daughters; disciples who are all brothers -- but not sisters, and male pronouns applied to spiritual beings -- but not female.  Check and see how wonderfully consistent Jesus is in this practice!   Here is one example:

Luke 20:[34] And Jesus said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;
[35] but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
[36] for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

No daughters of the resurrection?  Right!  No daughters in the resurrection!

Jesus does not recognize anything pertaining to the Father, to heaven, to souls in heaven -- that is, things of the Spirit -- by female terms.  But male and female gender relate to each other as does up and down, or hot  and cold, or light and dark.  Take one away and you have lost the other.  Each exists only as the alternative to the other.  The terms, male and female therefore do not exist as gender in the language of Jesus when he is speaking of spiritual and heavenly entities -- and of his spiritual relativesThere is no gender in heavenThis means that neither the male nor the female gender exists in the spiritual realm -- i.e., in the resurrection, or in heaven.  The female does not exist in the spiritual realm, hence neither does the male because, by removing the female, the male terminology, if it continues to exist, no more signifies gender!  That is due to the facts, 1) God made them male and female only from the beginning, from creation.  Prior to creation there was no such distinction; and 2) gender is strictly a distinction of the flesh.  Prior to the creation, there was no flesh, no gender.  Spirits have no gender, the God in heaven is without gender, and so is the Son of God.

V. The Reason for Gender Specific Terms

Why, then, did he utilize what are, to us, gender specific terms when speaking of the spiritual entities -- of The Father, the Son and the sons, the brothers?  Why did he apply what, to us, is a gender specific pronoun when speaking of the Father as "He" or "him?"

Why does he call HIm "Father?"

If he did not intend to specify gender, what did he intend? 

We are able to supply a good answer to these questions when we put this prohibition into the mix.  He said:

Matt. 23: [9] FNT And do not call [anyone] your father on the earth, for one is your father in the heavens.

There are two primary things that Jesus' contemporaries associated with the man -- the human parent -- whom they were accustomed to call "Father."  First, there is the perception that the child finds its source in the father and, in some sense, resides in the father long before it is conceived in the mother.  The perception, even more specifically, is that it gets its life from the father.  That this was the perception in Israel we see in this verse from Hebrews:

Heb. 7: [9] FNT And so to speak, through Abraham Levi, the [one] receiving the tithe, is tithed. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

(Please recognize that I am not utilizing this document, The Epistle to the Hebrews, as a source of, or authority for, Truth.  This only illustrates how the Israelites perceived these things.)

Second, there is the nigh universal perception, in all cultures, of the father as the authority and of the son as submissive and obedient to the father.  This was the perception in Israel, and it is the perception in most cultures today.  Through obedience, the son does the will of the father, whose right it is to command, teach, and instruct.  The result is the formation of great respect in the son for its father as the one to whom it owes its life, and to whom honor and respect are due. 

Love is another very important property of the father / son association.  The son honors, respects, obeys, and loves the father who is often seen as the source of individual existence and who manifests love for the son in many ways, one of which is the provision of food, clothing, shelter and other necessities of life.  Israel was, and remains, a strongly patriarchal culture, and this devotion to the patriarchs was and is very strong.  It is also characteristic of all major branches of the human family.

It follows that there is within the human race a strong general association that is characterized by these things.  All together, they define a relation that exists between one individual, a father, and his offspring, the son.  It is therefore God's will that we each transfer this relation, which we well understand, from the man whom we have called "father" to Himself.  Therefore, the Lord said, as quoted above,

And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

If we did not have experience with this relation that God desires to establish with each individual,  we could not know or understand God's will.  It follows that the terminology of Jesus as applied to spiritual entities defines the relation that God, who is spirit, wills to establish with each human individual in and through the Spirit.  He has promoted this relation among humans so that we can have a basis for understanding his holy will.  God, through Jesus, has made known this essential core of his will and desire for each of us.  So it is the relation, not the gender or the reproductive function, that requires of Jesus that he apply this terminology to spiritual entities and relationships such that we can understand.  It is then natural to keep the same (to us) gender specification as the Father to designate those who become the sons of God -- they are sons and brothers who, being Spirit, are all without gender.  What to us specifies gender does not translate into a gender specification in heaven, but only into a relationship specification.  It as as the Lord said,

Mt.23:8 FNT But do not be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, and all [of] you are brothers.

Mt.25:40 FNT And answering the king will say to them: Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did [it] to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

You see?  There are no sisters!  Female disciples that have received the Word and believed so as to become spiritual do not preserve a gender specification.  The same is true for male disciples.  All, both male and female, enter into the spiritual relations that the Lord has chosen to describe using what, to those in the flesh, are male gender specific terms, but neither retains gender.  These terms take on a radically new definition according to which they are gender-less..

In heaven, the terms Father, son, and brother say absolutely nothing about gender, but only define relationship -- a gende- less, spiritual relationship.  Jesus uses them to specify this relationship and not to indicate gender when speaking of spiritual entities.

VI. Is God a Misogynist?

Definitely not!  Nor is Jesus.

Some may think so, because they will observe the absence in heaven of anything called a mother, a daughter, a sister or she or her in the terminology of Jesus when applied to spiritual entities.  However, Jesus has denied to any disciple the legitimate title, and the relation, of father.  Not so the mother!  and this is plain in the text that is the basis for our thesis.  Look at it again:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

One who does not understand the message of Jesus could as easily make a case for God being a man hater as for Him being a woman hater.  There must be quite a few of these whoevers who do the will of the Father and, therefore, Jesus has many mothers.  It  should be acknowledged that only one woman, Mary, served the feminine function of giving birth to Jesus -- yet there there numerous disciples who are, each one, his mother!

This relation to Jesus (of mother) that includes quite a few person by now, does not depend on the gender based function of a mother, served only by Mary, but on the spirit based relation apart from gender or function.  He denies to every man, who is a disciple, the title and relation of father. He also denies the function of a father as a source of life for the child (his disciple), and makes it legitimate only when applied to God in heaven.  In so doing, he establishes God in heaven as the only legitimate Father (no gender) -- and the only source of life and authority.  There are no more fathers -- there is no other.  But there are quite a few mothers! 

The many fathers, he reduced to one for all, but the mother, he increases to quite a few.  A man could reasonably interpret this, from a human perspective, as the hatred of men because he denies them their beloved place as father.  It is not the hatred of men, of course, and neither does Jesus manifest the hatred of women.  He only reveals that the fleshly functions of both mother and father have no place in spiritual reproduction, and the gender distinctions male / female have no place there. 

VII. Spiritual Reproduction

So, let us examine this process of spiritual reproduction that Jesus defines with these words expressing the decisive deed:

For whoever does the will of my father in the heavens, he himself is my brother and my sister and my mother.

I take this to mean that
whoever (any individual -- male or female) who is not related either to Jesus or to God (in the flesh only, dead to all spiritual entities), becomes the brother / sister / mother of Jesus, the Son of God, and so also becomes the spiritual brother of Jesus and one of God's sons. Whoever wishes to do so becomes a son of God by doing the will of my father in the heavens.   The Father in the heavens has a new son thereby.  He accomplishes this without either gender or gender specific functions, but by providing the knowledge of His will so that one may do it.  This does not produce daughters or mothers or sisters, but only sons and brothers who have no gender but rather a certain relationship to God that resembles that between fleshly sons, brothers and fathers.

This statement that specifies the essence of spiritual reproduction came from the Father, but through Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus gives a specific definition of  the will of my father and, since it is Jesus who has spoken thus, one must do the will of the Father as Jesus specified and defined it to become a son of God.  It is beyond the scope of this paper to examine Jesus' definition of the will of the Father, but one can go to the link provided above
and here to discover what the will of my father means to Jesus and how to do it.  Or, better yet, go to the gospels and listen to him directly.  It almost surely will not be what you think, because, in Christendom, the common perception of the will of God is far from His will and is not what Jesus means when he utilizes the term.  Nor does doing it produce sons of the Father.

Also, Jesus placed this (the essence of spiritual reproduction) in the present tense.  It is whoever does the will of my father now that is my brother and my sister and my mother now. The fact of this accomplished spiritual reproduction in the present is a matter of faith -- of believing here and now.  It does not become knowledge until the resurrection, when the children of the Father enter into His presence in heaven.  Nevertheless, we can truly say that we are God's sons now if we are doing the will of the Father now. 

Spiritual reproduction
proceeds without recourse to gender, sex, or to gender based entities.  It works well for persons of any gender, and it produces the sons of God who are, as such, without gender.  They are also, therefore, without any of the gender based relationships that characterize life in the flesh. 

For as long as we remain in the world, we retain these carnal distinctions, of course, and it is normal and natural to continue to apply them to the appropriate persons.  The Lord makes an accommodation to this by identifying those who have become the sons of the Father in heaven, as
my brother and my sister and my mother, even while they remain in the flesh.  However, take careful note: these terms no more apply to those who only have a carnal relation with us according to natural birth.  Therefore, on the day when Mary and his siblings came to speak to him, he did not apply this terminology to them.  Never did he refer to Mary as his mother, nor to her other children, male and female, as his brothers and sisters.  He did apply this term to her in relation to the beloved disciple of the Fourth Gospel, which indicates that at that time she had also become a disciple -- one of the mothers -- by means of spiritual reproduction.  He expects of us the same attitude toward these carnal relations -- as we see under the following heading.

VIII. Light On a Hard Saying

Understanding the essence of spiritual reproduction enlightens one of the hardest of the sayings of the Lord:

Luke 14:25 FNT But [a] great crowd was going with him, and turning he said to them: 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yet even his own psyche-life, is not able to be my disciple.

This utterance seems very uncharacteristic of the Lord, and so it is if we understand him to mean that we must hate those persons who are our closest relations in the world.  Jesus does not mean this, however.  In the Light of the above specification of spiritual reproduction, we now see that he does not mean to hate those persons.  He means to hate those relationships!  They are gender based relationships that must be replaced by a spiritual one if one is to have any relationship with the Lord.

This is essential because we will not find those gender based relationships and functions in heaven, and so,
if we cling to them, we do not want to go to heaven.  We must hate them -- the relationships -- or we will not qualify for a place in Glory (or to be his disciples).  To state it another way for even more clarity:  The cost of discipleship does not include hating those persons who were our fathers, mothers, spouses, children, brothers and sisters of the flesh.  They are our nearest neighbors, and the Lord commands us to love them as such.  It does include hating the relationships that they represent, and that otherwise bind us especially to them. 

IX. On Being Begotten From Above (not born)

Here is the source of my error -- and not mine only, but of all Christendom, which is where I received it  --  these verses from Chapter 3 of the Fourth Gospel as found in all of the commonly used English translations of the New Testament (this from the RSV):

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.

Do you see the highlighted word, born, in the above verses?  Let me tell you, my reader, Christian false doctrine is sticky stuff!  Once attached, it is removed with great difficulty.  So it is with this Christian doctrine of being born again (or anew), which is one of the favored doctrines of Christianity -- Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.  I subjected myself  to the indoctrination of Southern Baptists at Southern Baptist Seminary and elsewhere.  This is one of their favorite themes -- was then, and remains so to this day.  It is not Baptists alone, but all Christian disciplines promote this born again doctrine in one form or another.  The result is that we have it in the Revised Standard Version as I have quoted above and in all popular English translations that I have used over the years.  This is the only utterance of the Lord that utilizes this word in this way and, as I now know, is an erroneous translation of his Word.  That this practice in translation is pervasive in Christendom is obvious from the paucity of translations that get it right.  I know of only one: The Faithful New Testament.

Yes, the Faithful New Testament is the only one I know that gets it right, and here is the FNT translation:

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? 5Jesus 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.

The New Testament Greek word is gennathe, the third person, singular, aorist 1, subjunctive passive of gennao.  This verb can and sometimes does mean born, which accounts for its translation as born in the English versions, except for the FNT.  But it can also mean beget as the footnote in the FNT indicates.  When it refers to a mother, it is correctly rendered as born.  But when it refers to a father, it means to beget.  This makes perfect sense.  Mothers give birth, fathers beget.  Webster's Collegiate has this definition:

Main Entry: be·get
Pronunciation: bi-'get
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): be·got /-'gät/; also be·gat /-'gat/; be·got·ten /-'gä-t&n/; or -got; -get·ting
Etymology: Middle English begeten, alteration of beyeten, from Old English bigietan -- more at GET
1 : to procreate as the father : SIRE
2 : to produce especially as an effect or outgrowth
- be·get·ter noun

So, who does the birthing/begetting in the above verses?

This question leads us to yet another mistranslation in the same verses, that the FNT gets right, most of the others very wrong.  Should this action be from above, again or anew?  The New Testament Greek is, standing alone, not determinative, for the word, anothen, can mean any of these depending on the context.  It's most literal definition is from above, and this is what one would normally expect, and so it is in this case.  The correct rendering, as you can see it in the FNT above, is from above. (see verses 3 & 7) 

How do we know that this is the correct rendering? 

Vs. 8 tells us that the Lord is speaking of a begetting "out of the Spirit."  Now, we know that God is Spirit,

Jn.4:24 FNT God is spirit, and [his] worshipping [ones] must be worshipping in spirit and truth.

We also know that God is the Father, and that he is in heaven (the heavens), as it is written:

Mt.6:9 FNT Therefore pray thusly:
Our father in the heavens,
Let your name be holy,

We also know that "the heavens" are above, so that what we have is a Father that is Spirit, in heaven above, who is doing what only fathers do: begetting!  That this is of the Father, who is above, therefore confirms that what Jesus said to Nicodemus was to the effect that one must be begotten from above.  That is what fathers do -- beget.  They do not give birth.   So, if the Father is above, in the realm of the Spirit, he begets from above and of the Spirit.  He does not give birth from above, or again, or anew!

I required 58 years of discipleship to learn this, that is so simple and straightforward that a child should understand.  Please don't let it take that long for you!

We can get confirmation for this by examining Nicodemus' question:

Jn.3:4 FNT 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?

Christian scholars, stuck on born as the correct rendering of gennathe, have reasoned that if Jesus had intended to be understood as being born from above, rather than again or anew, Nicodemus would have asked a different question, like "How is it possible for one to be born from above?"  But since they think he asked about how he could enter again into his mothers womb (belly) and be born, they incorrectly conclude that again is the correct rendering of anothen

Once one understands that the Lord is speaking of begetting, not of birthing, it becomes clear why Nicodemus asked this particular question: it is within the belly (womb) that the begetting takes place.  Being born is the process of coming out of the womb; if that were what he was asking about, being born, he would not have asked, ". . .is he able to enter into his mother's belly a second time and be born?" but he should have asked ". . . is he able to come out of his mothers belly a second time and be born?"

You see how elementary it is once the scales of Christian false doctrine have been lifted from the eyes of our hearts?  So, what we have to deal with in the text of John 3:3-8 is begetting, not being born, and this changes many things!  Let us examine the text again, as it appears in the correct translation of the FNT:

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? 5Jesus 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.

The statement from vs. 5 is the cause of much disputation among interpreters.  What is meant by the expression,
if someone not be begotten out of water and spirit he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God?  What is meant by water and spirit?  Or, more specifically (since we think we know about spirit) what is meant by water? 

Catholics say that this is a statement about the necessity of water baptism.  Except one has been baptized and born of the Spirit, one cannot see the kingdom of God.  This is not the answer to our question.  There are many other (erroneous) interpretations, but we do not need to expose you to them here.

Let's first take note of my former error in interpreting this passage.  Thinking of it as a reference to being born, I took the water to apply to the birth of the flesh, and most specifically to the amniotic fluid that appears as a part of the natural birthing process.  It seems a natural.  But now that I know we are speaking of begetting rather than birthing, this cannot be the correct interpretation.  But examine the immediate context of the statement, and one can see that my wrong interpretation was reasonable.  Nicodemus' question was, in vs. 4:

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?

It is to this question that the Lord responds, and we see that Nicodemus understands that two begettings are required.  The first one was in his mother's belly.  Does he have to return there for the second one, that is of the Spirit?  The two begettings are that of the flesh, when his earthly parent begot him, and of the Spirit, that the Lord has just introduced to him.  Then we look again at the Lord's reply, but include the next verse as well:

5Jesus 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.

After speaking of the water and the spirit in vs. 5, he immediately explains that he is speaking of what is begotten of the flesh and also, a different begetting, what is begotten out of the Spirit.  What reason, then, have we for seeking an interpretation that makes of begotten out of water anything other than the begetting out of the flesh?  If Jesus had included some unique teaching by his use of water, he must have explained it to Nicodemus, which he did not do.  And yet, he expected Nicodemus, a Rabbi and "teacher of Israel" to understand him, and chided him because he did not.

It is helpful to consider also that the word for spirit also means wind.  So it would have been normal to use two natural substances as representative of two different births, I.e.,
water~~flesh and wind~~spirit.  The Lord returned to this play on words by speaking of the wind in vs. 8:

8 The wind (pneuma) 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 (pneumatos).

Keeping foremost the thought that we are considering begettings and not births, it has also been suggested that the water in vs. 5 has to do with semen that, having been planted in the belly, resides in the amniotic fluid, or water until birth, and that it was considered as such in the ancient Rabbinical literature.  This would have been known by Nicodemus, as a teacher of Israel, and thus the begetting out of water refers to the begetting out of the flesh, and would have been reckoned so by Nicodemus.  I doubt this is the explanation for water in this context; whatever the connection, it is enough for me to understand that the Lord is speaking of the begetting out of the flesh, and that he expected Nicodemus to understand the same.  The coupling of the begetting out of flesh with that different begetting out of spirit is the only normal explanation for this utterance, coming as it does between two verses both of which specifically couple begetting out of flesh with begetting out of spirit.  Put yourself in the place of Nicodemus, hearing the Lord, and consider how confused you might be if the Lord had switched from two begettings to one begetting in two modes (water and spirit) and back to two begettings again without any explanation. He does make the switch in vs. 7, but it is obvious in the context.

X. The Begetting Out of Spirit

How is it that the Lord teaches the begetting out of spirit

I bring this question forth because it will contribute much more to our new perception that the Lord means begetting and not birthing in these verses.  He has indicated the action in the Parable of the Sower, for one, according to which the seed  (Greek, sperma), falls into a good and sound heart, springs forth and bears fruit.

The parable:
Lk.8:5 FNT The sower went out to sow his seed, and in sowing it some fell by the road and was trampled, and the birds of heaven ate it. 6 And other fell on the rocks, and grew, was withered because of not having moisture. 7 And other fell in the midst of thorn bushes, and the thorn bushes growing with it choked it. 8 And other fell on the good land, and grew produced fruit hundredfold.

The interpretation:
11 Now this is the parable. The seed is the word of God. 12 Now that by the road are those hearing, then comes the devil and takes the word from their hearts, in order that not having believed they [not] be saved. 13 And that on the rocks are they who when they hear receive the word with joy, and these do not have root, who for [a] time believe and in time of trial fall away, 14 so that falling in the thorn bushes, these are those hearing, and proceeding under the cares and riches and pleasures of life they are choked and do not bear fruit. 15 But that in the good land, these are those in [the] good and sound heart who having heard the word hold fast and bear fruit in patience.

The Lord defines the seed (sperma) very directly in vs. 11:

The seed is the word of God.

The parallel with the entrance of sperm into the belly as the act of begetting is obvious.  So it is the sperma of God that, entering the good and sound heart, becomes alive and produces fruit.  This takes place only as a begetting; it is not a part of birthing. The Parable of the Tares is another example of life following the sowing of the seed, that is the Word of God.

Similarly, if we advance forward in the Fourth Gospel only to Chapter 5, vs. 24, we find this statement by the Lord:

Jn.5:24 FNT Truly truly I say to you that the [one] hearing my word and believing the [one] having sent me has eternal zoe-life, and does not come into judgment, but is moved out of death into zoe-life.

And here we have this exact definition:

Jn.6:63 FNT The spirit is the [one] making zoe-alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are zoe-life.

The words spoken by the Lord are the seed of God that, received by the disciple, move him out of death into life, zoe-life.  This is the exact parallel of the process of begetting, confirming again that the text of John 3:3-8 says nothing about birthing, everything about begetting.

One can also make the case, accurately, from the Fourth Gospel by reference to the sayings of the Lord that speak of Living Water.

Jn.4:9 FNT So the Samaritan woman says to him: How do you being [a] Jew ask to drink from me who is [a] Samaritan woman? (For the Jews do not have dealings with the Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her: If you had known the gift of God and who is the [one] saying to you: Give me [some] to drink, you would have asked him and he would have given to you zoe-living water. 11 She says to him: Lord, you have no bucket and the well is deep; whence then do you get the zoe-living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave the well to us and he himself drank from it and his sons and his animals? 13 Jesus answered and said to her: Everyone drinking from this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks from the water that I will give to him, he will not thirst for eternity, but the water that I will give to him will become in him [a] well of water springing-up to eternal zoe-life.

The Lord does not explain further here, but when we see that his word is spirit and life, it follows that this living water is nothing less than the words he spoke.

Additionally, we have this:

Jn.7:37 Now in the last day of the festival Jesus stood and cried out saying: If anyone thirst, he must be coming to me and drinking. 38 The [one] believing in me, just as the Scripture said: Rivers of zoe-living water will flow from his belly.39 But he said this concerning the spirit that those believing in him were [about] to be receiving. For the spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
If we understand the "belly" here to be the heart, and relate this utterance to this:

Mt.15:18 FNT But the [things] coming out of the mouth proceed out of the heart, and these defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnessings, slanders, 20 these are the [things] defiling the man. But to be eating with unwashed hands does not defile the man.

We understand that, for the Lord, the words that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, or belly, whether for good or ill, (as in this case).  Again, it is the Words spoken by the Lord that are the Living Water, and those who receive and believe those words will be moved to multiply them in the world by repeating them to others -- hence,

Rivers of zoe-living water will flow from his belly.

Yes, and one can also make a case for being begotten of water in Jn. 3:5 meaning being begotten out of the Word, and hence out of water, Living Water.  But in that case we are again expecting Nicodemus to understand something that he, as a Rabbi, had no reason to understand. This thought would also eliminate one of the begettings from 3:5, making both water and spirit refer to spirit, providing another reason for Nicodemus to fail to understand.

No, I am confident that we have two begettings in vs. 3:5, just as in vs. 3:4 and 3:6. 

XI. Plants, Not People

The Lord's preferred figure for illustrating spiritual reproduction is that of the seeds of grain sowed on the ground.  It is a figure that is just as enlightening to the gardener as to the farmer.  Indeed, it will be difficult to find a person of adolescent age or over who does not know and understand this pattern. 

The process of spiritual reproduction is therefore according to the pattern of the reproduction of plants -- not men or other mammals.  Although we now know that this process of plant reproduction has it's own male and female gender, those to whom Jesus spoke immediately did not know that and did not associate the sowing, growing, and harvesting of grain as a gender related process.  The simple pattern is this:

1. Sow seed in the ground.
2. The living plants spring up.
3. The plants grow.
4. Each plant multiplies the seed many times over.
5. The sickle appears for harvest.
6. T
he harvest is gathered into the barn.

All with no reference to gender or to a gender based reproduction process.  There is no mother.  There is no semen (seed, but no semen).  There is no egg, there is no womb, there is no amniotic fluid, there is no embryo and no fetus -- and no birth.  There is none of that!  The produce appears to be all the same -- seeds of grain without gender distinctions.  This is the process of spiritual reproduction from the perspective of Jesus and of heaven.  At the risk of insulting your intelligence, here are the corresponding steps in the spiritual reproduction process:

1. Sow the Word in the earth -- witness to the Word.
2. Those who hear and believe become zoe-alive; they are begotten (not born) of the Spirit.
3. Each one grows up.
4. Each one also multiplies the Word and sows it in the earth.
5. The Lord puts in the sickle for the harvest.
6. He gathers his sons into his house, where he even now prepares a place for them.

The Teacher reinforces this view of  the process of spiritual reproduction by repeatedly making comparisons to the sowing of seed, always meaning the Word, followed by growth, multiplication, and finally, the harvest.  The theme of a harvest shows up repeatedly in the Word, which helps explain why he favors plant reproduction as a figure to illustrate spiritual reproduction.

XII. Seeing the Kingdom

For anyone who agrees with my earlier paper and prefers to believe that the process of spiritual reproduction corresponds to that of men, and that one is not born from above, of the Spirit, until one is resurrected at the Last Day, there are at least two more relevant things to bring forth that suggest very strongly the focus of the doctrine of our Lord. 

First, We have these two utterances by which to obtain an even more definite conclusion.

John 3:3 FNT Truly truly I say to you, if someone not be begotten from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:27 FNT But truly I say to you, There are some having stood here who will not taste of death until they see the kingdom of God.

Look at the sequence.  We are unable to see the kingdom until we have been begotten from above, but . . . some will see the kingdom before they taste of death.  It follows then, as does the night the day, that the "being begotten from above" comes before the tasting of death!

Second, it is difficult to understand the Lord as speaking of something that is not to be performed until we are resurrected (raised up above) as being born from above.  A resurrected person will not look about him, having arrived above and hear the Lord say, "You have just been born from above."  Because, of course, he will be above!

XIII. The One Common Element

Where two dissimilar things touch, they share a common point.  The means of spiritual reproduction and the means of carnal reproduction are dissimilar to say the least.  Nevertheless, they touch at the one common point -- the point at which a carnal human being opens the heart to the Eternal Word, that is Spirit.  Therefore, it is appropriate that the Lord utilized a single element that is common to both means at that point -- that of begetting!  One who has been begotten out of flesh, having later been begotten out of spirit, moves past the point of contact into the realm of all things spiritual, where the further development proceeds according to spiritual reproduction only.  This more closely resembles the familiar pattern of grain production than anything else, therefore the Lord chose to explain spiritual reproduction by parables that speak of sowing seed in the field.


From the very beginning, immersed in darkness, humans have devised explanations for the world and their lives within it.  They invented spirits, demons and gods, to explain the unexplainable.  As there were many humans, they imagined many gods.  As there were good and bad humans, they imagined there were good and bad gods.  As there were male and female humans, they imagined that there were male and female gods.  As they were born of mothers, they imagined that there were mothers among the gods.  As they mated with one another, they imagined the gods mated with gods and, sometimes, with humans.  Immersed in their darkness, they could neither see nor understand that they were projecting their own features onto the imagined spirits, demons, and gods. 

We create god(s) in our likeness.  That is what we humans do.

It is a primal instinct that I fell into and followed when writing and publishing the previous paper (now removed from this site) on the gender of God.  I projected the human reproduction process onto the spiritual one, as did my most ancient ancestors when, immersed in darkness, they devised their human like gods.  To do it, I failed to consider some of the clearest utterances of the Lord, those that serve as my corrective and the source of this paper.  This is an effort to correct that error, for now I have listened more carefully and I know better -- with much credit due to others, brothers in the Lord -- with whom I have more recently discussed these things.

Now I know that God has no gender, nor does He need gender because His sons are produced by a method best illustrated by the sowing and cultivation of grain.  Such plants need no womb in which to develop, nor are they ever born since they have no mothers.

I have listened to the Lord, and have learned that there is no gender in heaven.  I have listened to the Lord and I have learned that in heaven there are no mothers, no daughters, and no sisters, and no fathers.   There is one Father, but no fathers!  

I have listened to Jesus and I have learned that, in heaven, there is one Father (without gender), that there are many sons and brothers and that are no mothers, daughters or sisters.

I have listened to Jesus and I have learned that all these -- the one Father and the many sons and brothers in heaven -- have no gender or gender functions, neither male nor female. 

I have listened to Jesus and I have learned that all these -- the one Father and the many sons and brothers -- designate spiritual relations only.  They do not indicate gender, for there is no gender in heaven, where all are spirits.

In Jesus and his Word, we walk in the Light and in the Spirit and are therefore delivered from the bondage of the flesh.