"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless ..." (John 3:5-8)

"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8)
This response comes after Nicodemus the rabbi asks:
"How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" (John 3:4)
This was after Jesus said that one must be "born again" (John 3:3).

Difference between the physical and spiritual body

Jesus now must try to explain the difference between the physical body (here "the flesh") and the spiritual body (here "the spirit") to Nicodemus. The physical body is a temporary vehicle for the spiritual self. Each of us is an eternal spiritual individual.

The physical body is simply a tool or vehicle for the spiritual individual. It is like a person driving a car. A person can get in a car and drive it, and then he can get out of the car at some point and walk away.

We are like the car driver and the car is like our physical body. The spiritual individual utilizes the physical body for a few decades. Then we must leave it behind, just as a car owner must one day get abandon an old car.

Why are we caged within a physical body?

Why is the spiritual individual encased in a temporary physical body? This has been symbolically explained in Genesis:
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 2:21-24)
Here we see that God ‘made garments of skin for Adam and his wife.’ What are garments of skin? Are we talking animal skins? Or little leaves as depicted in some art renderings of Adam and Eve? No, we are talking about human skin. We are talking about the physical body.

In other words, because Adam disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, God banished him from the Garden of Eden - heaven. God sent Adam and his wife out of heaven, gave them physical bodies of flesh ‘to work the ground from which he had been taken.’ What is the ‘ground?’ This is the physical world. The "garments of skin" are made from (or taken from) the physical world.

And what was the ‘tree of life’ that God is referring to? And what did God mean by “the man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil’?

The tree of life

Remember that God asked Adam not to eat the fruit from the tree of life. Why not? And why did God put the tree in a place where Adam could eat its fruit in the first place? The tree of life is the desire for enjoyment. It is rooted in the creative act.

Why? Because God created all of us for His enjoyment. He wanted to exchange relationships of love. But in order to exchange real love, God also had to give us the freedom to love Him or not. That freedom was expressed in our also having the choice to want enjoyment for ourselves (represented by the symbolic temptation by the serpent).

Desiring to be the enjoyer is basically desiring to be God, because God is the only true Enjoyer, and we are His subjects of enjoyment. But still, He gives us the freedom to love and serve Him (otherwise, it would not truly be love).

So eating of the forbidden fruit is symbolic of each of us spiritual individuals, at one time or another, becoming envious of God and wanting to be the enjoyer.

This self-centered perspective of wanting to be the enjoyer is the state God describes as: “the man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil’.

In the spiritual sense, "good" is being a loving servant of God (our natural identity) and "evil" is the self-centered desire of being the enjoyer and having others love and serve me. Once we develop this desire to be the enjoyer, God boots us out of the spiritual world.

What God does next is actually quite incredible.

God doesn't force us to remain around Him while we are jealous of Him. Instead, He creates a temporary virtual world, where the spiritual individuals who have become envious (us) can go off and pretend that they are enjoyers. He gives us temporary physical bodies with which we can role-play.

With these physical bodies, we are in the illusion that we are the center of attention, and nothing matters but us. We can focus on making ourselves happy, and screw everyone else. With these physical bodies, we can ignore God's existence and pretend that we are God!

The virtual physical world is not a perfect world, however. God would not do that. He would not let us go forever. He still wants us back. In order to draw us back to Him, He had to create, within this virtual physical world, a learning program so that we might - assuming we wanted to - learn and hopefully realize that we are not happy - no matter how many goodies we get, or how many screaming fans we have - away from God. We are not happy without our Best Friend, Protector and Companion.

Yet even though we rejected God and wanted to pretend to be God, He still loves us and still wants us back. So He set up this physical world in such a way that we should learn that the only way we can truly be happy is if we return to His Loving Arms.

A loving God

Some might say that is a little selfish of God - to set up a world that helps us learn to want to return to Him. But we have to remember that God created us for the purpose of exchanging a relationship with Him. Still, if we want to refuse to return to Him we still can. We can still avoid Him as we live here ignoring Him for millions of physical lifetimes if we wish.

This is because love requires freedom. God gave us the freedom to love Him or not.

So "being born again" is having a change of heart that says, I want to return to God. God will not let us come home unless we want to be with Him. We have to want to return to our original relationship of loving service to Him.

If we still want to be God or enjoy like God there is no place for us in the spiritual dimension. This is because the spiritual dimension is a place where everyone loves one another, and everything is focused upon God's enjoyment. Everyone is enjoying God's enjoyment. If we try to enter the spiritual dimension with our self-centered attitude, it simply will not work. We will not be able to function.

The spiritual kingdom is a beautiful place where everyone cares more about their Best Friend the Supreme Being and each other more than they care about themselves. This is what love is.

Imagine a dinner table where the family was all making sure that everyone else had enough to eat. What would happen? Everyone would get enough to eat, right? Now imagine another table where everyone's major concern was whether they would get enough to eat. What would happen here? They would fight over the food, and the strongest people would get the food and the weakest people would starve. Isn’t this what is happening throughout the physical world?

What does Jesus mean when he said: "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."?

The internal process

The realization of God and the change of heart that is being referred to as being "born again" is an internal process that cannot be seen or recognized physically (outside of ones activities).

We cannot see a person being born again with the physical eyes. This is because the spiritual world is invisible to our physical eyes. Our eyes were not designed to see the spiritual world. They were designed to allow us to ignore the spiritual world.

Therefore, the process of being born again takes place invisibly. It is not the proclaiming of being "born again" as many do among sectarian institutions. This is not being "born again." Being "born again" is a change of heart. It is a change of our spiritual attitude. It is deciding to turn towards God. It is making a determination that we want to love God and serve God. It is a decision to give up our enviousness of Him.

This is a very private and very personal decision, that comes from deep within. It has nothing to do with what religion, sect or other "team" we might belong to. It is a decision made between each of us and the Supreme Being.