Can God Become A Man?

Trinitarianism Vs. Unitarianism In The Old Testament

St. Athanasius - Defender Of The Incarnation

St. Athanasius – Defender Of The Incarnation

The concept of the Incarnation is difficult to grasp for most Jews. Orthodox rabbis like Rabbi Tovia Singer state that God cannot come down in the form of anything. I find this odd since the Rabbi is telling God what he can and cannot do. The truth is, God comes down to earth in the form of a man several times in the Old Testament.

Two clear and immediate examples come to mind. I will use the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation so there is no bias. I am aware that this is a liberal Jewish publication and therefore will not use the commentary provided, only the translation.

Genesis 3:8 reads:

They heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day; and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

First of all, how could they hear the sound of the Lord God moving? He was obviously in the form of a man and the sound of him moving would be the sound of feet walking on Earth. This is further supported by the fact that the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. This makes no sense if God is not on Earth in the form of a man. They see the God-man then they try to hid from Him. A Christian sees this verse and interprets it accordingly. This goes perfectly well with the doctrine of the Trinity. What they see is the pre-incarnate Son of God while the Father remains in heaven.

The second verse comes from the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 6:1-2 we read:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I beheld my Lord seated on a high and lofty throne; and the skirts of His robe filled the Temple. Seraphs stood in attendance on Him. Each of them had six wings: with two he convered his face, with two he covered his legs, and with two he would fly.

Only if God had assumed a human form, could he sit on a throne and wear a robe. This is perfectly consistent with what we read in Genesis. If you are a Trinitarian, you have no problem with this verse. If you are an Orthodox Jew who believes that God could never become a man, you’re stuck.

The Bible is a Trinitarian text. This is true whether we talk about the Old Testament or the New Testament. When you bring Unitarian glasses to a Trinitarian text, you cannot make sense of many verses. That includes the ones that I’ve provided and many more that I will talk about in future posts.

This belief contradicts traditional Islam as well as traditional Judaism. Islam fell into the same Unitarian trap that Talmudic Judaism did. Because of their traditions, they have not been able to fully understand the word of God in sacred scripture.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Can God Become A Man?

  1. God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Number 23:19

    In other words, G-d is not a want, so he does not lie. The purpose of that is not to show that G-d is not a man, but to show that because he is not a man, he does not lie.

    Let’s now look at Deuteronomy 4

    Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.

    So, this is specific for those at Mount Horeb (Sinai). G-d said to not forget what their eyes saw! And what did their eyes saw?

    Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” 11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

    So the people at Sinai saw No form, no body, only a form.

    You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt.

    Here He repeats it twice. The people who stood at the feet of the mountain saw no form. Thus G-d said be care not to worship

    And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

    Here we have the word “host”. This specific word includes people… https://www.blueletterbible.org

    So, Because G-d does not lie and the people of Israel were ask not to worship anything they have not see at mount Horeb, thus G-d would not decide to become a man. If not, he would have lied to His People, the children of Israel.

    • Thanks for your input but you didn’t address the two passages. At times, God does not show himself like on Horeb as you rightly pointed out but sometimes he does such as in the Garden of Eden, Isaiah’s vision in the Temple and the Incarnate Christ. There are many examples in the OT where God takes on the form of a man. With your narrow interpretation of Deuteronomy 4, you cannot account for these passages but with a more sober reading of Deuteronomy 4 and a Trinitarian worldview, you can. In other words, the OT is a not a Unitarian text. It is monotheistic but not unitarian.

      • First it does not matter the passages that looks like G-d has a human body. Because he talked to the Jews and the Jews were required not to worship any form.

        Second, there is no trinity in the Hebrew Bible. You have to look at Deuteronomy, as you say, with the eyes of the greek testament. But that’s circular reasoning. We know that the New testament is inspired only if it does not contradict the Hebrew Bible. If it contradict the Hebrew Bible, as in Deuteronomy 4, then we have to discard it, with Jesus (which would then be a fasle messiah).

        You are telling me that G-d can become a man because the new testament say so. But what if the Hebrew Bible say He won’t. Then it only means that half your beloved sacred text is false.

        As per the Law (Torah), sacrifices must be made in a certain manner to be acceptable to G-d. For example, Leviticus 17:4 says “instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD–that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people.”

        As per the New Testament, Jesus suffered outside the camp (Hebrews 13:2). As per Lev 17:4 anybody that offers a sacrifice outside the camp shall be put to death, thus it was not a valid sacrifice.

        Secondly and more importantly, the Children of Israel were mandate not to worship other gods. As per Philippians 2:10, we should worship Jesus. But the Torah warns against worshipping other gods than YVHV (The LORD)

        Deuteronomy 32:17 says:

        They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God– gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.

        Deuteronomy 13:16 says:

        If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known,

        In the time of Jesus nobody worshipped him as god. For example, Peter could have asked his father if they worshipped Jesus and they would have said no. The penalty for worshipping Jesus then should have been death.

        Finally, as per what I previously say, the Jews were mandate not to worshipworship anything they have not seen at Mount Horeb (Sinai). It does not matter if G-d appeared to Adam or Abraham (Genesis 18), or if he showed himself in visions. G-d spoke specifically to those people and set this as an example of what is acceptable and what is not. And even if a trinity would have been present, they still have not seen any form, and worshipping Jesus would have been unacceptable.

        God is not a man and God is not a liar.

        • Thank you for taking an interest in my blog. Feel free to subscribe to get all of my posts.

          You said: “First it does not matter the passages that looks like G-d has a human body. Because he talked to the Jews and the Jews were required not to worship any form.”

          Adam and Eve were not Jews and lived long before the Abrahamic or Mosaic covenant.

          Also, I don’t see what Hebrews 13:2 has to do with anything. Maybe you got the verse wrong?

          I think you’re isolating a few verses in Deuteronomy, taking a narrow interpretation and this view doesn’t allow you to interpret the rest of the Bible properly. If you want to prove that God can’t become a man, you can try to disprove Genesis 3 and Isaiah 6. You haven’t even tried thus far.

          • “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is ONE! Deuteronomy 6:1

            19. Zechariah 14:9 ” And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.

            This is the foundation of Judaism and one of the main reason why the Jewish people refuse to bow to Jesus. G-d is one, and having three distinct person is polytheism.

            But let us first look at the verse showing G-d is one and alone.

            THERE IS NONE OTHER LIKE THE LORD
            Exodus 8:10
            Then he said, “Tomorrow.” So he said, “May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.

            THERE IS NONE BESIDE HIM.
            Deuteronomy 4:35
            “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.
            Deuteronomy 32:12
            “The LORD alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him.
            Deuteronomy 32:39
            ‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
            Isaiah 44:6
            “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.
            Isaiah 45:5
            “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
            Isaiah 44:8
            Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'”
            Isaiah 45:6
            That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other,
            18. Joel 2:27 ” And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

            THERE IS NO OTHER gods
            Deuteronomy 4:39
            “Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.
            Isaiah 43:10
            “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.
            Isaiah 45:14
            Thus says the LORD, “The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, Will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: ‘Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.'”

            No other are like HIM.
            Exodus 9:14
            “For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth.
            1 Samuel 2:2
            “There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
            Isaiah 46:9
            “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,

            See, I don’t take things out of context, but you replace the L-rd with a group of three gods. People use Genesis 18 to prove G-d has a body, but Hebrews 13:2 makes it clear that it was only an angel. For the garden of Eden, G-d uses words that we can understand. It does not mean that G-d has a body, it is only a figure of speech.

          • To all of the verses that state that there is only one God and none besides him I have only one word: Amen. That is exactly what trinitarians believe. I don’t know why you continually bring up Genesis 18 as it is not covered in the post. Regarding your response to Isaiah 6, it nowhere says that it was a vision. The Lord took on bodily form. That’s the only explanation. I know this is hard to believe but the God of the Hebrew Bible is not how modern Judaism portrays Him. You said: “For the garden of Eden, G-d uses words that we can understand. It does not mean that G-d has a body, it is only a figure of speech.” Yes it does, they hear Him approaching and they hide behind trees. It couldn’t be more clear. If you want to go with modern Rabbinic Judaism which says God cannot take on the form of a man you are welcome, but that is not what the scriptures teach.

          • Isaiah 6 is a vision. Here again G-d uses ways we can understand.

            And Assyria shall fall by the sword of one not a man, and the sword of one who is not a man shall consume him, and he shall flee from before a sword, and his chosen ones shall melt. ISAIAH 31:8

  2. Let’s say you are right, and G-d would have a body. Why on earth would it be Jesus? What would make you decide it was Jesus that is the true god?

    • The purpose of my post was to prove that God can become a man according to the OT. I believe I’ve demonstrated that with Genesis 3 and Isaiah 6. Other verses could have been given in addition. The question you now ask is the one that the Rabbi’s should start with but they don’t. They say God can’t become a man which is wrong. This blog is a general apologetics blog. I don’t deal with one specific group, at least not yet but eventually I will specialize. Probably on Islam. If you subscribe you’ll be able to get my updates and when I finally do touch on this topic, you can respond. I hope that you enjoyed our dialogue.

  3. The Torah and the prophets speak in a language that we can understand. You quoted Genesis 3:8. Why do you stress that only a man can make sound when moving? Yes, God can do whatever he wants but he can do whatever he wants even without being or taking the shape of man. Solomon says that the heavens cannot CONTAIN/HOLD God. God is something we can no imagine or fathom.

  4. The Torah and the prophets speak in a language that we can understand. You quoted Genesis 3:8. Why do you stress that only a man can make sound when moving? Yes, God can do whatever he wants but he can do whatever he wants even without being or taking the shape of man. Solomon says that the heavens cannot CONTAIN/HOLD God. God is something we can no imagine or fathom. Many Rabbis have addressed this issue and I say you check them out.

    • Hello Allwyn,

      Thank you for taking an interest in my blog. What I said regarding Genesis 3 makes the most sense if one concludes that he came down in the form of a man. If something else happens it just seems weird. There are many examples of God becoming man in the OT. I think the Isaiah verse that I provided is an even better example. There are quite a few others that I could give as well. This is a topic that I’ve researched in depth. I know the OT better than most Christians and I’ve studied many Christian commentaries. I’ve studied Jewish commentaries as well – Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.

      Regarding the quote from Solomon, that seems to support my position, that God doesn’t have to just stay up in heaven. It’s the Rabbis who are limiting God, not the Scripture or the Christians.

      “God is something we can no imagine or fathom.”

      I agree that we can cannot fully comprehend Him but we can know as much about Him as is revealed in Scripture.

      “Many Rabbis have addressed this issue and I say you check them out.”

      I have looked deep into the apologetics of Rabbi Skobac, Rabbi Singer, and other Rabbis. In my opinion they don’t deal with this subject well. The way Rabbi Skobac handled Genesis 18 in my opinion was utterly inadequate. I don’t think Rabbi Singer dealt with Genesis 3 well either.

      God bless Allwyn and may you have a wonderful 2018,