Have you been born again? Or begotten again?
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:54 pm    Post subject: Have you been born again? Or begotten again? Reply with quote

Today many people claim to have been born again. Seemingly this claim is based mainly on Jesus words to Nicodemus as recorded in John 3:3 regarding the necessity of being “born again”.

Truly, truly, I tell you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

But how can one be sure that the word “gennaō” always means “to give birth”? The word occurs 65 times in the New Testament, so we have plenty of opportunity to see how it is used. If one maintains that it always means “to give birth”, then some passages would have interesting translations:

Abraham gave birth to Isaac, and Isaac gave birth to Jacob, and Jacob gave birth to Judah and his brothers. Matthew 1:2

But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which was born in her is of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have given birth to you" Hebrews 5:5


Our English word “generate” appears to be etymologically related to “gennaō”, though it is thought that “generate” is directly derived from the Latin “genare” (to produce). The older English word “beget” also has this meaning as any good dictionary will indicate. It is my belief that “produce” is the closest English equivalent to the Greek verb “gennaō”.

If you bear with me while I relate some technicalities, I will ultimately explain the importance of translating “gennaō” as “to generate” or “to produce” or “to beget” rather than “to give birth”.

Thus if the word is translated “produced” in Matthew 1:2, the problems discussed above disappear.
Abraham begat or produced Isaac. God begat Jesus (the only-begotten Son) or produced Jesus (some may not like that way of putting it ---- sounds too much like “created”). The third century church was adamant (and rightly so) in stating in their creeds that Jesus “was begotten not created.”

In Matthew 1:20 “That which was produced in her is of the Holy Spirit.”

There is a Greek word which means “to give birth” ---- “tiktō”. It is used 17 times in the New Testament. Here are 3 examples of verses which contain the word:

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23

[Joseph] knew her not until she had given birth to a son; and he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:25

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7


Does this mean then that “gennaō” is never used in connection with a birth? No. There are two clear references in which it is. Most translators translate the word as "gave birth" or "bore".

Now the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she gave birth to a son. Luke 1:57.

When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:21


Does this mean, then, that “gennaō” not only means “to beget” or “to produce” but also “to give birth”?
I think not. It is interesting that both “tiktō and “gennaō” are used in Luke 1:57. Let’s see what the verse looks like when we translate the words properly as “give birth” and “produce” :

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she produced a son. Luke 1:57

Let’s look at John 16:21 when they are translated according to the meanings of “tiktō and “gennaō”:

A woman has grief when she gives birth, because her time has come, but when she produces the child, she no longer remembers the distress, because of the joy that a human being was produced into the world.

And now, I suppose it is time to ask the big question. So what? What’s the difference whether we say a person is “born again” or “begotten” (produced, or generated) again?

I suggest that when we are begotten again, that is when the new life starts in the spiritual womb, there is a lot of growth which must take place until we are ready to be born. After the spiritual foetus is fully mature, a new birth takes place. When would that be?

Colossians 1:18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

Jesus is the first-born from the dead. What does that mean? Does it not mean that he was the first to have a true resurrection? The resurrection which Paul describes in I Cor 15 when “this mortal must put on immortality”? No one who was resurrected from the dead prior to Christ , became immortal. Jesus brought Lazarus to life after he was dead four days, but Lazarus was not raised immortal. Some time later, he died a natural death just like everyone else. So Jesus, who was fully human, was born into the resurrection, the first.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also pre-appointed to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.

Again, Jesus was the first-born of many brethren. He was the first to be resurrected to immortal life, but there will be many other brothers and sisters who will be raised to life, those who are being conformed to the image of the Son. “Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection”, those who are overcomers.

So the order is:

[1] The New Production: Re-generation, that is, being begotten again or generated again.

[2]Growth toward Christ-likeness as the process of salvation from sin continues in us (He who began a good work in you will be completing it until the day of Jesus Christ).

[3] Born into the resurrection. Completed, perfected disciples, conformed to the image of Christ, raised to immortality at the coming of Christ.
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Paidion
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michelle, you wrote:
What do you think about Nicodemus' answer to Jesus' statement?

Nicodemus 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?"


Many people think Nicodemus was being ridiculous in asking this question. But asking such a question, does not seem as ridulous if the word is translated "begotten" or "produced". I think Nicodemus was asking whether Jesus was teaching re-incarnation. I think he was asking whether after a person gets old and dies, does he "enter his mother's womb" as a new combination of egg and sperm and get produced all over again.

Quote:
What do you think about death-bed conversions. Or strike that. I have a personal example of what I'm wondering about. I'm still grieving the sudden loss of a friend less than a year after she put her faith in Christ. Will she need to do some more growing before she's ready to be resurrected?


It may be that not only the immature disciples, but all disciples may need some correcting after death. This is suggested by Jesus parable about three slaves (or "bond servants" if you prefer). I think this passage is worthy of being posted and read in its entirety:

... be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes; truly, I tell you, he will gird himself and have them sit at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants!

But know this, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?"

And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I tell you, he will set him over all his possessions.

But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and put him with the unfaithful.

And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating.

But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating.

Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.

I came to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am pressured until it is completed! Luke 12:36-50


Three classes of servants of Christ! All three needed correction. One did not know his master's will, but did things worthy of a beating, and received a light beating. Another knew is master's will, and still did things the master did not want. He received a heavy beating. The third (or the first in the parable) said to himself, "To heck with this. The master is never coming back. Then he beats his fellow servants and serves himself in over-indulgence. The master is very angry with him, cuts him to pieces and puts him with the unfaithful (in other word in Gehenna, the Lake of Fire). His is a severe correction, indeed!

I really don't want to "strike" death-bed repentences. I think another parable of Christ deals with this. Those workers who came in at the end of the day, received the same wages as those who worked all day.

With your universal reconciliation views, what about those who are corrected in hell and finally bow their knee to the Lord? Will they then need some growth time?

I can't give you a definitive answer, but perhaps their very severe learning experience in hell combined with the teaching they receive from the completed saints, is sufficient to prepare them for eternity with the Lord. On the other hand, they may need further learning directly from and with the Lord I can't really say. Where a thing is not revealed we can only speculate in a manner which is harmonious with that which is revealed.
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Last edited by Paidion on Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Homer



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
combined with the teaching they receive from the completed saints, (in hell)


Quote:
Where a thing is not revealed we can only speculate in a manner which is harmonious with that which is revealed.


Speculate is here a euphemism!
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Rae



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
combined with the teaching they receive from the completed saints, (in hell)


I thought Paidion was referring to the teaching they would receive after their correction by the saints they would be with in the afterlife. I could be wrong, but I didn't think he meant that they would receive teaching by saints in hell.
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Rae, I did mean that the saints will be sent to Gehenna (or "hell") with the permanent (or "evelasting" if you prefer) gospel to bring to the lost there. They will urge the lost to repent and submit to Christ.

This is my speculation. I believe it is consistent with the Scripture, and there even seems to be hints of it in Scripture:

To me, though I am the leaster (a word coined by Paul) of all the saints, this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light the plan of the secret hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.This was in keeping with the plan of the ages which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord... Ephesians 3:8-11

"Prinicipalites and powers of the air (or in "heavenly places") in the NT, seems to refer to evil powers such as demons. Was the church even in Paul's day, beginning to make the Great Wisdom of God known to these powers? How much more will it be made known those who will be raised from death to a resurrection of judgment, and are cast into hell!

I believe that God's great Plan of the Ages is to reconcile all rational beings to Himself, so that all might come into submission to Him, when Christ turns the Kingdom over to the Father, so that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15)
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Rae



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh ok... not that the saints would be being punished in Gehenna too, just that they would preach the gospel there. I guess someone would have to preach to those in Gehenna if this particular view is true.
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TK



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

asbestos robes would come in handy, unless of course, the flames aren't real.

i was wondering how one could reason with somebody in torment. it's hard enough to reason with unbelievers who AREN"T in torment.

TK
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
i was wondering how one could reason with somebody in torment. it's hard enough to reason with unbelievers who AREN"T in torment.


I think I understand your thinking, TK. Yet, if the spirit of God operates, a person can submit while in great pain.

It frequently happens in hospitals when Christ's disciples visit those who are in great pain.

It frequently happens in certain countries where people are suffering from hunger and disease.

It frequently happens in prisons where a number of people are suffering from a lot of mental and spiritual conflict, or in some cases physical abuse.

In any case, we are not certain that those in Gehenna will be suffering at the time of the visit of the saints. God may give them temporary relief, or at least diminished suffering during the times of these visits. The two combined might induce repentance when the sufferers realize what they are missing in their rebellious state.
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Last edited by Paidion on Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Michelle.

As for the saints needing "asbestos robes",TK, I notice that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego got along fine without them while they were in the fiery furnace.
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TK



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed they did. Apparently the 4th person with them kept the heat off. they didnt even smell like smoke.

TK
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps "the 4th person" will also be with the saints who minister to the lost in Gehenna.
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TK



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion-

perhaps this should be over on the eternal torment, etc thread. But if your view is correct about the saints ministering to those in gehenna, what do you think the message will be? do you think it will be different for what is preached to the living? Will an icebreaking line be: "Well, this is a fine mess you've gotten yourself in to?" or "see, we told you so?" It would seem that, in the lake of fire, those there would have little doubt about the truth of the matter. i.e., it is not clear that they would need to be taught who Jesus is, etc. The emphasis would seem to be trying to get them to repent, but one would think the agony would convince them of this. Perhaps, however, those in Gehenna will not realize they are ABLE to repent and get out, being deceived by the devil. Perhaps the job of the saints will be to convince them of this possibility.

I am curious because until I heard this from you I had never heard it before.

TK
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