Of being born again and a husband’s one track mind

John 1:13, Young’s Literal translation, reads: “who not of blood nor of a will of flesh, nor of a will of man (Greek aner) but — of God were begotten.”

Here is the New American Standard Bible (NASB): “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the NIV translation: “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Aner has the following meanings in the New Testament:

A. with reference to sex
1. of a male
of a husband
of a betrothed or future husband

B. with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy
C. any male

and last but not – by any stretch of the imagination – least

D. used generically of a group of both men and women

I asked a pastor the meanings in the NASB translation of:

Me – What does “not of blood” mean?
Pastor – It means not of human descent.

Me – What does “not of the will of the flesh” mean?
Pastor – It means “not of a man’s decision.”

Me – What does “not of the will of man” mean?
Pastor – Not of a husband’s decision; the same as the previous “not of the will of a man’s decision.”

In sum, for this pastor, and Arminians in general, “human decision” and the “will of man” cannot refer to the mind/spirit of believers but to their fleshly fleshy fathers. In other words, “human decision” and the “will of man” must, for Arminians, refer to the sexual desire of the believer’s Poppa. Which leaves the sacrosanct will of the believer intact and free to choose to be born again. If this is true, then when we read the last part of the verse “but born of God,” what this must mean for the Arminian is “but born of God; and of the believer (understood). 

But what about Romans 9:16? “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (NIV).

That’s easy” “desire,” “effort”; the husband’s willy, naturally. And if you don’t believe me, here’s the context of Romans 9:16 to prove my point:

Romans 9
10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
 and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (NIV).

4 thoughts on “Of being born again and a husband’s one track mind

  1. Perhaps looking at Roman culture may shed light on the phrase “will of man.”

    John was writing, it should be noted, in a Roman culture that had dominated the Mediterranean for 250-300 years at his composition. From my readings of Roman historians and philosophers, the practice of accepting a newborn infant into the household involved the custom of laying the newborn at the entrance of the house or estate for the examination of the male/father upon arriving home whether or not to accept the infant for nurturing.

    The “desire” in Rom. 9 refers to “desire of salvation” not “sexual desire.” In my mind what is spoken about is a sort of relationship on human terms (like Cain) and not what is revealed in scripture. In other words, a mere formula that results not in a disciple who is dead to self and alive to God but one who is unregenerate but tries to look and act the part.

  2. Wow interesting, never noticed the different translation of phrasing John 1:12. Good use of Romans 9 to illuminate John 1:12, though it seems to me pretty hard to run away from the Calvinistic implication of the verse.

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