In John's Gospel we read:

John 3:4-5: "Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'"

Nicodemus' question is interesting because we spend ~40 weeks in amniotic fluid prior to physical birth. Might this parallel what many believe to be the spiritual rebirth in pure water of baptism ("impure" vs. "pure")?


I certainly don't claim any of these thoughts are original to me, but I see a comparable connection.

Jesus often used metaphors that were familiar to people to illustrate a point.

Physical birth involves:

  • Water (as noted in the OP)
  • Spirit (see Genesis 2:7)
  • Blood (I didn't really appreciate this until my the birth of my children)

Spiritual rebirth involves:

  • Water (baptism, as noted in John 3:5)
  • Spirit (baptism by fire/gift of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:1-4)
  • Blood (of Christ, see 1 John 1:7)

Baptism of the earth

I've heard the flood compared to the earth's baptism by water, and Malachi 4:1 a description of the earth's future baptism by fire. Not sure what to make of it, but at the very least, water & fire are very common Biblical symbols in the discussion of life and death.

  • Do you know why this question has been downvoted? I am not sure what is wrong with it. +1 – Xeno May 7 at 4:51
  • @Xeno the vote-to-close menu said some users were concerned the question was asking for too much of an opinion based answer. I edited the question a little to try to accommodate that concern. But I can roll the edit back if you don't like it. – Hold To The Rod May 7 at 5:02
  • OK, I see that now. Just one thing: I wasn't trying to suggest that physical birth is symbolic of baptism. Rather I was attempting to contrast the two, the first being carnal, and the second spiritual. I should have been more careful. Can I ask how you got the edited text? Maybe that way I can avoid such mistakes in the future? I have tried very hard to think of questions that might be edifying to others, but I'm having a difficult time with that. – Xeno May 7 at 5:09
  • OH, I think I get it now. I'm 1 point from being able to "Edit questions and answers." So that's what that means? -- Hadn't realized it. I will say, for what it's worth, that it has been a struggle to learn some of these things. I have no desire to break any rules or step on toes whatsoever. The written instructions often just aren't that clear to me. – Xeno May 7 at 5:16
  • 1
    Yes, I see the "edit" option. No reason to rewrite what you have -- good job. You actually saved me from something that would have left me confused for days. It is now clear how I made my mistake. Last night, I passed along some of what I've learned to another. It would be great if we can help each other out occasionally, as you have for me tonight. THX! – Xeno May 7 at 5:27

One must be careful about taking analogies beyond their intended scope. A few facts relative to the question to help set the background here include:

  • Amniotic fluid, though it starts pure, later can include the fetal excrement (called meconium).
  • Noah's family spent far more than 40 days in the ark. The rains fell for 40 days, but they were in the ark from seven days prior until the floodwaters abated and the land was dried enough for Noah to come out about a year afterward.
  • Noah and his family were already counted righteous before the Flood.

It was the entire earth whose sins (sinners) were washed clean during the Flood. Baptism is a symbol of cleansing from sin. So, rather than Noah having been baptized, one might actually consider the earth as having been baptized.

There is a connection, however, to the water of birth. There is a legitimate parallel to be made between physical birth and spiritual birth. The connection is that of a beginning. Each birth begins a new life: one, a physical life, and one, a spiritual life. And each life begins in assumed innocence.

From my perspective, I would see it almost the other way around from the perspective of the question. I would see physical birth as a symbol of the spiritual new birth that is of utmost importance to God. No one remembers being born physically, but we are able to look back on that day vicariously and draw lessons from it for our spiritual life.

  • Indeed, God washed away the sins of the world for 40 days/nights. I mentioned amniotic fluid in the OP as "impure" just as our physical life is impure. While Noah was righteous he was not perfect; he still had to build the ark and endure the Flood. We see similar typology as the Jews had to leave Egypt and were then baptized in the Red Sea: a demonstration of faith and obedience. God also looked on 2nd gen. Israelites with favor as they crossed the Jordan. But, they had to be circumcised because all who died in the desert had been while these had not (Josh. 5:2-7). Faith and obedience. – Xeno May 7 at 6:42

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