Father Ray Brown, writing about the nighttime visit of Nicodemus, cleared up some of our misunderstanding about the passage.
Nicodemus said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.” That might sound fine to us, but actually it is a case of damning with faint praise. Jesus had demonstrated himself to be the Promised Messiah. To acknowledge him merely as “a teacher come from God” falls insultingly short of the evidence.
(John’ Gospel is such a subtle document. It says Nicodemus came by night, while the Samaritan Woman came at noon. That was St. John’s way of saying It was night in his soul, bright noon in hers.)
Our English translation of this story excusably misses out on what John conveyed with a pivotal Greek word. Our Catholic translation of 3:3 says, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Some Fundamentalists have Jesus there saying, “No lone can enter the kingdom of God without being born again.”
The confusion comes from John using the Greek word anothen, which surprisingly can mean either from above or again.
The Fundamentalist are not the only ones getting anothen wrong. Nicodemus too mistook Our Lord to be using anothen in the sense of again. He asked, “How can a person once grown be born again?
Jesus corrected Nicodemus by saying he had to be born of the Spirit. Like you need the heavenly WiFi to be tuned in. My own take on anothen is that we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless by praying we allow our lives to be managed by impulses that come to us from God.