Born Again of Water and the Holy Spirit

Modesty

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The way I've always heard this passage discussed is in the context of Jesus emphasizing the importance of both baptism in water and baptism of the Holy Spirit and how this process is a spiritual rebirth; it makes you a completely new person in Christ, a member of God's Kingdom. I'm curious, is your linking of Jesus' teaching with alchemy and the Eastern practices you mentioned influenced at all by transcendentalism? :)
 

RJM

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Nicodemus recognized the "light" in Jesus...according to that scripture...and he came at night, in the "darkness", without knowledge.
perhaps he didn't want his visit to be known?
The way I've always heard this passage discussed is in the context of Jesus emphasizing the importance of both baptism in water and baptism of the Holy Spirit and how this process is a spiritual rebirth; it makes you a completely new person in Christ, a member of God's Kingdom. I'm curious, is your linking of Jesus' teaching with alchemy and the Eastern practices you mentioned influenced at all by transcendentalism? :)
I agree that is the common interpretation of the passage. What is transcendentalism? *

I think perhaps Jesus was introducing Nicodemus to the esoteric inner teaching?

* I looked it up. To me it sounds dissimilar @Modesty
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism
 
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Modesty

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perhaps he didn't want his visit to be known?
I agree that is the common interpretation of the passage. What is transcendentalism? *

I think perhaps Jesus was introducing Nicodemus to the esoteric inner teaching?

* I looked it up. To me it sounds dissimilar @Modesty
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendentalism

Transcendentalism, from my knowledge, links Western religious thought with Eastern. I was also under the impression that it considered all religions as coming from the same divine source, but I can't find that again, so I might be mistaken. Your linking of Jesus' teachings with other traditions made me think of it. What does the 'esoteric inner teaching' entail?
 
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RJM

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Your linkingof Jesus' teachings with other traditions made me think of it. What does the 'esoteric inner teaching' entail?
Although not linking Jesus directly with the eastern Neidan and Kundalini yogas outlined in the first few posts of this thread, am wondering if he was suggesting to Nicodemus something along the same lines -- esoteric knowledge of the inner alchemy -- being born again of water and the spirit?

The use of the same specific water and spirit terms used in inner alchemy practices as those referred to above?
 
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I've thought about it for years, in connection with the Christian churches' emphasis on physical baptism deriving symbolically from the 'inner alchemy' practices and meditations at the root perhaps of Jesus's conversation with Nicodemus, that has become such a big part of Christianity?
 

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However, my academic training is in Chinese language, literature and philosophy, with a concentration in Buddhist studies.
Are you Chinese? Are you a Buddhist? Just asking, no need reply :)
 

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The power of the Christ is universal. It reaches every person and touches every person on whatever level I submit, surrender ego, imo

God meets me where I am
 
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Ella S.

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Geoffrey

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I think you may have meant to link this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasideans

I referenced that particular Wiki in response to another member's question regarding "the massive anachronism of putting Jesus in a Hasidic context is dealt with? There's a 1500 year disparity?"

The Wiki I referred to answers this question quite clearly, "The first to adopt the epithet collectively were apparently the hasidim in Second Temple period Judea, known as Hasideans after the Greek rendering of their name, who perhaps served as the model for those mentioned in the Talmud. The title continued to be applied as an honorific for the exceptionally devout.

In 12th-century Rhineland, or Ashkenaz in Jewish parlance, another prominent school of ascetics named themselves hasidim; to distinguish them from the rest, later research employed the term Ashkenazi Hasidim." The Wiki you referenced seems to address the identity of an even earlier group.
 

Geoffrey

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The power of the Christ is universal. It reaches every person and touches every person on whatever level I submit, surrender ego, imo

God meets me where I am
Apropos of that thought, from the Precis at my blog:

Deep in their hearts,
All men hear my whisperings, and
As clearly and as loudly
As one hears my voice,
To that extent is he
Ruled by spirit and

To that extent does
His desire for me
Determine the path of his life.
...

Hearing but denying my voice,
Hearing my voice but softly, or
Hearing my voice as a deafening roar,
All men walk the paths
Determined by their dispositions.

All men – non-believers, devotees, renunciants –
All men alike return, in the end,
To whence they came,
Their bodies returning to earth, and
Their spirits returning to me,
Untouched,
Unchanged,
Unblemished.

Perfect.

And, my faith tells me, "all men" - devotees and renunciants of all colors, cultures, and creeds - each of us is reached.
 
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powessy

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Since I became aware of inner alchemy and immortality yogas, such as Kundalini yoga and Taoist Neidan, Jesus's 'born again' conversation with Nicodemus has always intrigued me:

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?

John 3:1-12 Read full chapter

The final step of the Neidan transformation is when the purified upper fire is plunged into the purified lower water, to create, or give birth to the perfected and immortal body that can become many bodies. The yogi is able to manifest and unmanifest a physical body – or many bodies in different places at the same time. The new spiritual body does not need to eat or sleep, and the yogi can create whatever appearance he desires.

I wonder what Christ really meant when he spoke to Nicodemus?

I am not religious, and I have never been baptized. As for experiences that I have where water is a part of the experience, I would say that these types of experiences are almost 50% to 60% of them. I think all jesus was saying here though is that you have to born to something here to be born again after death.

As for being born again this is absolute, you will not have the same things become you there as you have becoming you here. Not sure how the Holy Spirit calculates into this for we are already inside of him. I do not know what is meant by spirit gives birth to spirit, you move from this body to that body, from here to there. Also you will not be born to a child again you will figure yourself out and the form of you that you choose to become will become you.

I can make sense to what Jesus is mostly saying but Nichodemus, his thoughts do not make sense to me.

Powessy
 
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powessy

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Isn't he just asking Jesus to explain?
I am not so sure. Nichodemus I believe has a full cup. I think Jesus also sees this through nichodemus’s questions and answers.

powessy
 
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Geoffrey

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To quote my Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament (an invaluable resource in my reading of the New Testament:

When Jesus says that "unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God,"

The Greek expression can mean either "again" or "from above." Nicodemus takes it to mean "again," as though Jesus required a physical rebirth to enter his kingdom. This is a misunderstanding. Jesus instead calls for a spiritual rebirth "from above." The Greek expression always means "from above" elsewhere in John (3:31; 19:11, 23).

and, further on ...

the OT envisions Yahweh pouring out his Spirit from above in the messianic age (Is 32:15; Ezek 39:29; Joel 2:28-29). This was depicted as water being poured upon the Israelites to wash away their iniquities and renew their hearts (Is 44:3; Ezek 36:25-26). These prophetic hopes should have prepared Nicodemus to understand the thrust of Jesus' teaching.

I never found this passage too puzzling. I always thought that Jesus was merely incredulous that Nicodemus, given his standing in the Jewish court, would not understand his meaning. Perhaps Nicodemus came to Jesus by night because he was afraid of having his relative ignorance revealed in the light of day.
 
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RJM

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The Greek expression can mean either "again" or "from above." Nicodemus takes it to mean "again," as though Jesus required a physical rebirth to enter his kingdom. This is a misunderstanding. Jesus instead calls for a spiritual rebirth "from above." The Greek expression always means "from above" elsewhere in John (3:31; 19:11, 23).
Interesting. But apparently the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus always has the meaning 'from above' and cannot have the dual Greek meaning of being born 'again' from the mother's womb

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Which means the misunderstanding causing the exchange could not actually have happened?
 
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RJM

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However if Jesus was referencing the ancient wisdom of inner alchemy by water and spirit linked in the opening post of the thread, the exchange would take on a different meaning?
 

Geoffrey

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The site linked below has a list of Hebrew and Aramaic words that appear in the New Testament. There is also an interesting preface regarding "code switching" by bilingual writers (the author of the article cites Paul). I didn't find "again" or "from above" in the list of Aramaic words in the New Testament. (Also, if the word in question was in Aramaic, I assume the authors of my Study Bible would have pointed it out, as the do on other occasions). Of course, there is nothing in the Bible that was written by Jesus, so we have only the recollection of the authors, who wrote primarily in Greek. It seems to me that if it were important to make the distinction, it could have been easily made.

Here's the link:
https://bibtheo.com/2020/02/04/aramaicgnt/
 

RJM

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The site linked below has a list of Hebrew and Aramaic words that appear in the New Testament. There is also an interesting preface regarding "code switching" by bilingual writers (the author of the article cites Paul). I didn't find "again" or "from above" in the list of Aramaic words in the New Testament. (Also, if the word in question was in Aramaic, I assume the authors of my Study Bible would have pointed it out, as the do on other occasions). Of course, there is nothing in the Bible that was written by Jesus, so we have only the recollection of the authors, who wrote primarily in Greek. It seems to me that if it were important to make the distinction, it could have been easily made.

Here's the link:
https://bibtheo.com/2020/02/04/aramaicgnt/
Bart Ehrman says the Aramaic word cannot have the same dual meaning as the Greek. It's in one of his verbal talks, difficult to find, but I will look for it.
 

Geoffrey

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However if Jesus was referencing the ancient wisdom of inner alchemy by water and spirit linked in the opening post of the thread, the exchange would take on a different meaning?

I guess it would take on a new meaning, but I don't remember ever hearing that Jesus referenced anything outside his faith.
 
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