A response to

Is God a man?

Al-Kadhi writes:

In the Bible we read "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?", Numbers 23:19

Al-Kadhi presumes that this passage somehow denies the possibility of God becoming a man. In reality, this verse simply illustrates that God is not a man by nature and thus doesn't lie or change his mind like men normally do. The passage nowhere denies the possibility of God becoming man. In fact, the same author of the Pentateuch who wrote this statement, namely Moses, has God appearing in human form:

"The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw THREE MEN standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash YOUR FEET and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way-now that you have come to your servant.’ ‘Very well,’ they answered, ‘do as you say’ ... He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. WHILE THEY ATE, he stood near them under a tree. ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. ‘There, in the tent,’ he said. THEN THE LORD SAID, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son’ ... THEN THE LORD SAID TO ABRAHAM, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Will I really have a child, now that I am old?" Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ BUT HE SAID, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’ WHEN THE MEN GOT UP TO LEAVE, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. THEN THE LORD SAID, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’ ... THEN THE LORD SAID, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.’ The men turned away and went toward Sodom, BUT ABRAHAM REMAINED STANDING BEFORE THE LORD. Then Abraham APPROACHED HIM and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing - to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ THE LORD SAID, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake’ ... WHEN THE LORD HAD FINISHED SPEAKING WITH ABRAHAM, HE LEFT, and Abraham returned home." Genesis 18:1-5, 8-10a, 13-17, 20-26, 33

"So Jacob was left alone, and A MAN wrestled with him till daybreak. When THE MAN saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with THE MAN. Then THE MAN said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ THE MAN asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered. Then THE MAN said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.’ Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I SAW GOD FACE TO FACE, and yet my life was spared.’" Genesis 32:24-30

These passages illustrate that Numbers 23:19 does not rule out the possibility of God appearing as a man and/or becoming man. It simply states that God's essence is distinct from man, without denying the fact that God could/would eventually take on a human nature.

Moses also calls God "a man of war" (ish milhamah):

"The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name." Exodus 15:3 KJV

Other places where God is called a man of war include:

"The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war (ish milhamah): he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies." Isaiah 42:13 KJV

This demonstrates that in some ways God and man are alike, i.e. both God and man have a warrior spirit. Yet in other aspects God is completely unlike man, namely God is perfectly holy and consistent whereas man is not. Thus far, nothing that Al-Kadhi has said even comes remotely close in refuting essential Christian teaching.

To conclude, Christians believe that God wasn't always man, but later became man at the Incarnation. The eternal Word of God took on a real human nature, while still remaining fully God in essence.

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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