I've search in the internet :

RE- a prefix, occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, used with the meaning “again” or “again and again” to indicate repetition, or with the meaning “back” or “backward” to indicate withdrawal or backward motion: regenerate; refurbish; retype; retrace; revert.

I mean, if it's Adam or Eve - it's easier to understand as it's still logical to think that Adam / Eve was generated at the first time of their existence. So, after they sin, the word regenerated make sense ---> for example : God generate Eve again.... or God generate Eve back to her condition before.

But what about for other people, who were created under the power of original sin and spiritually dead? Why is it still "REgeneration" for them, according to Calvinism?

  • I really can't follow this question, is there something about Calvinism that includes the word "regenerate"?
    – Peter Turner
    May 19, 2020 at 22:04
  • 1
    @PeterTurner It is a common term, describing the state of someone who has been saved in the gospel.
    – curiousdannii
    May 19, 2020 at 22:49
  • This is a valid question (+1). One is 'generated' through repentance and faith and justification, receiving the Holy Spirit as an indwelling of Life. But is 'regenerate' a valid representation of the Greek scripture ? Is the indwelling conveyed in scripture as a 'generation' of eternal life or is it regarded as a 'regeneration' by the apostolic record ? Good question. I have an instinct but have not studied it, as such, myself. Scripture uses anagennao and paligennao but the question is : Does this convey 1) an 'above' generation and 2) a 'reversal' generation ?
    – Nigel J
    May 20, 2020 at 10:55
  • It's fine to ask this from a Calvinist point of view, but be aware that Arminians use the term in a similar way. The differences include the exact order of events.
    – Bit Chaser
    May 20, 2020 at 14:16
  • @NigelJ, yes if the sentence : One is 'generated' through repentance and faith and justification, then I have no question for that. But when the sentence : One is 'REgenerated' through repentance and faith and justification, this raise a question, because this sentence indirectly show that God has generate the person before he/she sin. After he/she sinned, he/she is "tainted"... so he/she need to be regenerated by God... or he/she need to be generated again by God.
    – karma
    May 21, 2020 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


As Calvinism became mature, the meaning of regeneration became more specific: what God does to produce spiritual life in a spiritually dead person. This is to be distinguished from the person's contribution to the whole process of conversion. Calvinism teaches Total Depravity, meaning that a person is spiritually dead at birth (because of original sin) and consequently do not have the ability to make a decision for faith in Jesus before God performs this regeneration act. The act is usually preceded by Calling (see Calvinist ordo salutis), which is best likened to Jesus calling Lazarus from the dead. In this restricted sense, we may wonder why the term is not simply "generation".

But when we survey the theological history of regeneration prior to Calvinism, regeneration was usually linked to baptism, and that is why the term baptismal regeneration is common in other denominations (see wikipedia). Baptism clearly implies being reborn: we die to our old self and God resurrects us to the new life. As we participated in Adam to die spiritually, we participated in Jesus to be resurrected. With this linkage, the term "regeneration" makes sense.

For scriptural support, theologians cite what Jesus taught Nicodemus of needing to be "born again" in John 3:3-8, as well as what Paul taught in Titus 3:5 which links being born again with baptism. In Titus 3:5 the word used is palingenesia which originally means re-creation (see wikipedia), which is then translated in theological literature to the Latin word regenerationem from which came the English word "regeneration".

  • 2
    I think the question is if someone is born totally depraved/spiritually dead, then why isn't it just generation rather than regeneration?
    – curiousdannii
    May 20, 2020 at 1:01
  • GratefulDisciple, thank you for the answer. But as curiousdannii explain - what I would like to know is why use the prefix re. If for example it is Eve, then I think it is still logical to think that before Eve sin, God already generated her once at her existence. So, assuming that after Eve sin God wants to generate her again or bring her back to her condition before she sin, then to use the word "regenerate" does make sense.
    – karma
    May 21, 2020 at 14:27
  • @karma You are trying to extract too much out of word construction. The word "policeman", for example. Now that there are women who are doing police work. Are you going to complain why people can legitimately ask a woman police (who happens to be out of uniform): "Are you a policeman?" My point is: a word takes on new meaning as society uses them. Same thing with "regeneration". Later Calvinist theologians still uses the word out of continuity, but the meaning becomes divorced from baptism, so the prefix "re" loses its meaning in Reformed theology. May 21, 2020 at 15:44
  • @karma To put it in another way, Word is just a pointer to a Concept. Being a pointer, the word does NOT exhaust the meaning of the concept. So usually we need more than just that word to explain the concept. Agape, for example, is a very complex concept pointed by the word "agape". Especially for concepts describing an action of God, the concept itself is an approximation. So a concept like Regeneration is itself a pointer to what God does. If you insist on extracting meaning out of the word "regeneration", you are twice removed from what God actually does. May 21, 2020 at 15:57
  • I suspect there's some secondary sense of re- that is applied to words like these where it no longer means the action is happening for a second time. Another example is reduplication.
    – curiousdannii
    May 22, 2020 at 13:41

A car is new once. But it can be restored, renewed, made as if "new" many times.

We are born from above once. [John 3:3 gennethe anothen born from above/again]. But many times we sin and then are renewed, made as if new, when we repent and are forgiven. A daily process.

Two Greeks words:

  1. Titus 3:5 "by the washing of regeneration [palingenesias occurs once in a person's life] and renewal [anakiainoseos daily process] of the Holy Spirit".

"gennethe" and "palingenesias" both have "gen". We are "gen"erated from above once.

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:16 "our inner self being renewed [anakaino] day by day".

Romans 12:2 "the renewal [anakaino] of your mind". An on going process.

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