by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2 July 12, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1901 ASV Translation:
23 having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.
24 For, All flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth:
25 But the word of the Lord abideth for ever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you.
I. The Basis of True "Love" For One Another.
A. Under the banner of "having purified your souls" (see prior study notes).
B. Under the banner of "having been born again".
1. This perfect participle is a reference to the perfect participle in the preceding verse, "having purified your souls".
2. This is a new "banner", but not a new "event".
a. Several things occur simultaneously when a person comes to "faith and hope in God" (1:21).
b. Thus the "event" is the same, though the "focus" changes with whatever "banner" is put on display. As a verbal banner, "purifying one's soul" opens the door at the point of the "soul" and the issue of its "purification". But being born again, being a new verbal banner, opens the door at a different point: regeneration (being subject to "begetting" again).
3. The issue of a new birth is a deliberate presentation of the reality of a new "state of being". Unless, and until, a person comes to grips with the reality of both the need for a new state of being (human corruption by participation in Adamic generation under Sin) and the fact of a new state of being (a regenerated child of God), there can be no enduring progress in the actual practice of godliness. This state of being, however, is only the tip of the iceberg in the practice of godliness. There are questions, many questions, about the methodology of the practice, but none of the answers to them are workable until "being born again" is an actual fact.
4. Peter deliberately assumes and presents this altered state of being as an accompished reality.
C. Under the reality of the root of the altered state.
1. The "begetting" is presented as a result of "incorruptible seed". The word translated "seed" is used only once in the New Testament and is related to the issue of the male's "seed" in the action of "begetting".
2. There are, in Peter's mind, two distinct "seeds" of "begetting". One is "corruptible" and the other is "incorruptible".
a. The issue of "corruptibility" is first introduced by Peter in 1:18 where redemption was not by the "corruptible things -- silver and gold". The most fundamental issue is the alteration of the original condition so that there is an inevitabledownward spiral toward death. For physical generation, this is at the level of the genetic makeup. This is most likely the basis for the warning of God to Adam that he not eat of the fruit of a certain tree; its "fruit" would alter his genetic coding so that he could not pass on his original genetic purity.
b. The declaration of "incorruptible seed" means that it cannot be altered into a deathinducing factor.
3. This raises an enormous question: is the "begetting" by the "incorruptible seed" only an analogy, or are there also genetic factors involved? All of the evidence from Scripture and physical experience argues that the genetic makeup of the "believer" remains unaltered and the decline to death is unmitigated.
4. This raises another question: of what value is a "new begetting" that does not address the major issue of the "former begetting"? If our bondage to Sin is fundamentally "genetic", how can we be set free?
a. This question assumes that our bondage is fundamentally "genetic" because that is all we can see of Adam's ability to pass on his sinfulness.
b. However, Ephesians 2:2 specifically declares that "the prince of the power of the air" is "the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience". Therefore, there was more to Adam's transgression than a damaged gene pool. Apparently Adam's transgression opened the door to the spiritual dominion of all of his offspring by the spirit that now works in his offspring. At this point I am unaware of any biblical declaration that links the physical to the spiritual in any kind of "physical" linkage -- i.e., any actual link between genetic coding and spiritual indwelling. Apparently the body can die without any noticeable "damage" to the indwelling spirit.
5. This has to mean, therefore, that the "new begetting" was fundamentally rooted in the release of the spirit of man that was under bondage to that foul spirit.