John 3:1-8 (YLT)
And there was a man of the Pharisees, Nicodemus his name, a ruler of the Jews, 2 this one came unto him by night, and said to him, `Rabbi, we have known that from God thou hast come -- a teacher, for no one these signs is able to do that thou dost, if God may not be with him.' 3 Jesus answered and said to him, `Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God;' 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, `How is a man able to be born, being old? is he able into the womb of his mother a second time to enter, and to be born?' 5 Jesus answered, `Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born of water, and the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the reign of God; 6 that which hath been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which hath been born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 `Thou mayest not wonder that I said to thee, It behoveth you to be born from above; 8 the Spirit where he willeth doth blow, and his voice thou dost hear, but thou hast not known whence he cometh, and whither he goeth; thus is every one who hath been born of the Spirit.'
1 Corinthians 15:39-54 (YLT)
39 All flesh [is] not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another of fishes, and another of birds; 40 and [there are] heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but one [is] the glory of the heavenly, and another that of the earthly; 41 one glory of sun, and another glory of moon, and another glory of stars, for star from star doth differ in glory. 42 So also [is] the rising again of the dead: it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body; 45 so also it hath been written, `The first man Adam became a living creature,' the last Adam [is] for a life-giving spirit, 46 but that which is spiritual [is] not first, but that which [was] natural, afterwards that which [is] spiritual. 47 The first man [is] out of the earth, earthy; the second man [is] the Lord out of heaven; 48 as [is] the earthy, such [are] also the earthy; and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] also the heavenly; 49 and, according as we did bear the image of the earthy, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly. 50 And this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood the reign of God is not able to inherit, nor doth the corruption inherit the incorruption; 51 lo, I tell you a secret; we indeed shall not all sleep, and we all shall be changed; 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet, for it shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we -- we shall be changed: 53 for it behoveth this corruptible to put on incorruption, and this mortal to put on immortality; 54 and when this corruptible may have put on incorruption, and this mortal may have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the word that hath been written, `The Death was swallowed up -- to victory;
Notice the striking similarity between John 3:3 and 1 Corinthians 15:50:
- Verily, verily, I say to thee, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God (John 3:3)
- And this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood the reign of God is not able to inherit, nor doth the corruption inherit the incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:50)
Question: Are Jesus (John 3:1-8) and Paul (1 Corinthians 15:39-54) describing the same event?
Or worded alternatively: Are we "born from above" in this life or at the resurrection?
Note: this (probably quite controversial) question has been inspired by:
- What is the biblical support for being 'born again' (or' born from above') in this life?
- According to Christian mortalists (aka 'Soul sleep' advocates), does eternal life begin now (before death), and if so, does it continue after death? (see the accepted answer's section "Are we born again in this life?")