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Is John 3:23 contradicted by 1 John 4:5-6? From this comes following: does the born again experience happen by the Holy Spirit or by both the word of God/Gospel and Holy Spirit?

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 3:23, KJV, emphasis mine)

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:5-6, KJV latter)

This site claims that John 3:23 refutes LDS claim of pre-existence.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Flimzy, fredsbend, curiousdannii, Matt Gutting, Dan Dec 3 '14 at 1:22

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  • I ask that both questions would be answered. I think I have a opinion for both of these questions, but thought to ask anyway. And for the question of whether born again experience is either by the Holy Spirit or both the Holy Spirit and the gospel I have no bible verses to reference. – alvoutila Aug 14 '14 at 19:31
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    The two questions you present are pretty unrelated. I've answered just the first one. – LCIII Aug 14 '14 at 19:53
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    Why is this tagged lds? – Matt Aug 14 '14 at 20:30
  • It might be related to lds. – alvoutila Aug 14 '14 at 22:42
  • @laovultai What makes you think it might be related to LDS? Are you only wanting LDS answers? – curiousdannii Nov 30 '14 at 3:05
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John 8:23 states:

But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

Oh wait, what's right before that:

This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?"

So let's grammatically simplify that:

"The Jews are from below..."

Even Earlier (verse 13) we get:

The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

So then

"The Pharisees are from below..."

So what this is saying is that the Pharisees are from below.

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1 John 4:5-6 states:

They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Earlier we have:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

So this simplifies to:

You, dear children, and I are from God...

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So the two statements are taken to be:

You, dear children, and I are from God...

"The Pharisees are from below..."

So that would be a contradiction iff either the author was a Pharisee (known false) or the audience of 1 John are both Pharisees and "dear children."

So I would say that's probably not a contradiction.

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From this follows following. Does the born again experience happens by the Holy Spirit or by both the word of God/Gospel and Holy Spirit?

That actually is a contradiction, that doesn't follow at all.

And to it I would answer (since I'm fairly confident that's beyond the scope of the response you were looking for) (1 Peter 1:12):

...when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

  • Now I get confused, because in here it says(hismin.com/content/mormon-doctrine-jesus): Did mankind preexist? Did we all come from heaven? Are we brothers and sisters of Jesus? NO! Jesus said, “Ye are from beneath: I AM from above: ye are of this world; I AM not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM He (God), ye shall die in your sins.”(John 8:23-24; 3:13, 31.). So this would mean that this referenced website has taken scripture out of context? – alvoutila Aug 14 '14 at 20:45
  • In the minimally confrontational way possible, that site is both heretical and logically unsound. The lack of contradiction between the two verses is immediately obvious even just from the single preceding verse in both cases, and as Christians we believe in a certain degree of Biblical inerrancy. I'm not really sure what else your questions may be asking, feel free to let me know if I misunderstood anything. – Calvin Aug 14 '14 at 22:06
  • well whole site or this reference is both heretical etc.? I mean this site seems to dig deep into lds faith in my opinion. I'm not absolutely sure what you meant. In terms of your question I can say that this is now evident. I mean I got it. – alvoutila Aug 14 '14 at 22:39
  • @Calvin- Also jacob.1:18(KJV): Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,... And 1 peter.1:23(KJV): Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God... and also 1 cor.4:15(KJV):...for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. So these say that you are born again by the word of God/gospel, but I think Holy Spirit is involved in this experience also. – alvoutila Aug 15 '14 at 10:53
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The most important thing when interpreting a passage is the context:

John 8:21-23 ESV So he [Jesus] said to them [Pharisees] again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come." So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

1 John 4:2-6 ESV By this you [John's disciples] know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

[bracket stuff added by me]

Do these passages contradict? Not at all--in fact their ideas are almost identical.

Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they were from below--from the fallen world. They refused to believe in him and he was identifying that as a belief from below. Contrast this with 1 John, which is saying the same thing to a different crowd. John is saying a belief in Jesus as the savior is a belief (spirit) from above. John is reinforcing Jesus' words.

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Metaphors are Rooted in Context

In comparing these two passages, consider the context.

In John 8:23, Jesus is comparing people to himself. By this comparison, we are all “from beneath.” Jesus was human, but he wasn’t only human. We are only human.

In 1 John 4:5-6, John is comparing believers to false prophets and antichrists. The believers are from God (because they have his spirit), but the false prophets are from the world. “World” here means

the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

There is no contradiction here because two different speakers are comparing different things. They use similar metaphors, but otherwise little can be made of comparing the (words of the) comparisons.

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