SPIRITUAL REALITIES ARE DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND IF THEY CANNOT GRASP SIMPLE TRUTHS THAT EXIST ON EARTH. Jesus Is Revered For His Sermon On The Mount. Yet when Jesus spoke about true spirituality, the leader of the people of Israel did not understand the simple truth.
The text here can mean whatever you want it to mean. However, if you truly want to understand what this text means, you need to take it in context and then understand this in the broader scheme of God's purpose.
One could say that appearing like the wind is what the prophet Elijah did. There is no genealogy for Elijah. He just appears. Where did that man come from? Where did that man go? He came and prophesied and spoke words that were hated. He fled so quick, he could not be caught. One could even say that Elijah was caught up on angel's wings.
In respect to the question being addressed, we are talking about being born of the Spirit of God. Each one has a spirit, but the spirit is dead, in that it has not been given eternal life.
Many wonder about the spirit of a man. Is this just a metaphor for life? Could it be a real life force? Maybe it is a cell that has not yet been discovered? It has to be somewhere. How about residing in junk deoxyribonucleic acid? Could it be the autonomic nervous system? But then again, the spirit of man just might be more than DNA or even some philosophical élan vital.
If it were the autonomic nervous system, then we would understand that once a person is dead this is because there is no fight and flight mechanism, no urge to feed and breed, and no mood for rest while he is digesting. Being dead is not the same as having a rest while we digest the feed that gives us the stamina to breed. Indeed any alien to the planet would think this is an animal's world.
One question that bugs many people is how a seed can germinate merely by providing sufficient water for it to do so. Who is inside the seed telling it to germinate? Does the seed have a spirit? Does the seed have an autonomic nervous system?
Reading the Bible, at first, does not seem to provide enlightenment, for even Jesus of Nazareth said that if he did not fall into the ground like a seed, he would not germinate, or something to that effect, and bear fruit.
This is what Jesus said:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father. (John 10:17-18)
The spirit of man could very well be a component of a human's vital constitution, along with the soul and the body. Except in the spirit, life exists; that is, the power to overcome death. This is, of course, if the spirit is like seed and germinates like a grain of wheat. And providing that every person has the same Spirit as Jesus did.
Jesus died. Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus said that He was from Heaven. Nobody believed Him at the time. (John 6:42). But Jesus' disciples had to believe when they watched Him ascend to Heaven and an angel spoke to them and said:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
Elisha saw Elijah do something similar:
And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. (2 Kings 2:11-12)
The context of the gospel of John, chapter three, has no reference to the above. Yet if I wanted to make up my own little philosophy or doctrine, I could quite easily. Maybe to make it a little more plausible, I could add some formal qualifications and then insist I am telling the truth. However, wouldn't it be better that each person discovers the truth from personal experience. For in the end, death is the experience we all dread, unless we have the assurance of eternal life now.
My experience and understanding of the context of John 3:8 tells me that I once was like the person to whom Jesus was speaking. We read:
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above’ 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.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can this be?” ( John 3:5-9)
When I was born of the Spirit, I was able to enter the Kingdom of God. I became aware of spiritual beings that before I could not see. I did not know what happened to me. But within me something happened. I heard the Spirit of God. I understood what what was said: "My prodigal Son." I saw Lord Jesus Christ. I was in awe. I babbled like a baby. Born from above. My spirit within became alive. Just like the ovum in the a woman is impregnated with the seed of life, I was impregnated by the Spirit of God.
Now I knew what I experienced. But was it a dream? Was it an hallucination? If it were, nothing would have changed within. But change occurred. Preferences changed. Music. Speech. Reading. Desires. Thinking. Instead of being a scoffer who knew nothing, I became someone who experienced what is actually written in the Bible for all men and women to seek and experience as they are reconciled to our Heavenly Father. Yet I did not know that we needed to have a personal encounter with the Son of God is what is written in the Bible.
In the broader scheme of God's purpose, this text is saying that the day will come that only those who are citizens of the Kingdom of God will have any right to life. They possess that right because they are born of God. For that which is born of the flesh has the right that comes with being born into this world. Those who are born of the Spirit of God, receive the rights of those who are born into God's Kingdom.
In the first birth, we had no choice. We are born to die. We suffer from being under the dominion of the god of this world. Powerless against death's dominion, we begin with hope and grow old in despair. Our perfect right to be born only to die. Fortunately, we do have another right.
Regarding the second birth, we can reject it or seek it. We can look on and be a spectator, like those at a ball game scoffing and denigrating the players. We can scoff at those whom we think are playing for the other side and demonstrate our complete ignorance. Or we could be like Nicodemus wondering how it can be, posing questions and emerging as a possibility thinker. This too is our right.