Here is one of the earliest Christian reflections on the new birth:
18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
1. God’s desire contrasts with human desire: human desire is driven toward death and vacillates between the good and the bad. God’s desire, springing as it does in a fountain of utter goodness and faithfulness, remains constant. God’s desire — his purpose — is the new birth.
2. New birth is the recreation of life; this implies that James understands humans — as does Paul — as captured in desires dance with death.
3. New birth happens through the “word of truth,” and here we need to connect the word “word” with “law” (cf. 1:22-25) and the teachings of Jesus on love (cf. 2:8-10). Somehow — and James doesn’t give us the details — the “word of truth” is the gospel for James, but that gospel is not detached from Law/Torah.