Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

A Trinity of abused texts by a Tawheedist

When a Muslim goes out of his league

By Nakdimon

This is a response to Ibn Anwar’s argument “God is not a man = Jesus is not God”.1 Ibn Anwar regularly attempts to portray himself as somebody knowledgeable in different languages by trying to comment on various linguistic issues but actually reveals his own lack of understanding of the languages he is commenting on.2 This present article is no exception. Under the (second) title, “A trinity of verses deny God being a man”, Ibn Anwar tries to show from the Hebrew text that certain verses negate the possibility that God can reveal Himself to us in human form. However, before he discusses the texts from the Hebrew Bible, he first selectively quotes from the book of Acts, trying to make his point also from the New Testament that the disciples of Yeshua, particularly Peter, thought that Yeshua was only a man.

The New Tesmanet [sic] describes Jesus as both man and the son of man in many places.  Acts 2:22 makes it quite plain that Jesus was a man,

“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”

Notice that Peter is the one speaking here and he does not use the evangelist script that Jesus is god-man or man-god. Peter merely affirmed our position that Jesus was a man that God chose.

Yes, notice that Peter is the one who is speaking here. So if Peter is good enough to support Ibn Anwar’s theological position on the identity of Yeshua, then the same Peter is just as qualified to undercut his theological position. Ibn Anwar is either ignorant of Peter’s position or is blatantly distorting the view that Peter had of his Savior and Lord. Given the number of quotations in Ibn Anwar’s articles from the Scriptures and his numerous citation of passages from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible / Old Testament) as well as the New Testament, Ibn Anwar clearly shows familiarity with the text of Scripture and so I have to conclude that Ibn Anwar is deliberately distorting what the disciples of Yeshua really thought of Him. Let’s see what Peter really says about Yeshua in his very next sentences (which Ibn Anwar conveniently left out of his article) and if this really is on par with Islamic theology as Ibn Anwar tries to portray:

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Notice that Ibn Anwar, as a Muslim, cannot believe that Yeshua died and rose from the dead, since the Quran doesn’t allow him to hold that position. (That is, according to the mainstream Islamic position. I think a good case can be made for a death, resurrection and ascension on the basis of Surah 4:157, since the text of the Quran is that vague.) Yet Peter says here that Yeshua died according to God’s purpose and was raised from the dead. This poses a problem for Ibn Anwar’s position already. Either Ibn Anwar doesn’t recognize Peter as a reliable witness, and therefore his own “proof” goes out of the window, or Ibn Anwar does recognize Peter as a reliable witness and thus his position is untenable. But Peter was not done yet:

Acts 2:36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."

Again, Peter is declaring Yeshua to be Lord over all. We have to ask, how does this mesh with Islamic theology? Why is it “shirk” to say that “Jesus is Lord” in Islam, when Peter declares Him to be Lord, which is a claim from a valid witness, according to Ibn Anwar, since he used Peter to prove his own position. But to end all dispute let’s see what Peter says in the very next sermon that he holds:

Acts 3:14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

We have to ask Ibn Anwar: Why does Peter call his Savior “the Author of life”? Who, other than the God of Heaven, is eligible to carry this title? Surely, Peter does not support the position of Ibn Anwar as far as the identity of Yeshua goes. I could quote much more of Peter’s words but I think that Ibn Anwar’s misuse of the testimony of Peter is clearly demonstrated already. For further references to the view of Peter on Yeshua the Messiah, I would like to direct the reader to an excellent article on Petrine Christology.

After his selective quotation of Peter’s words, Ibn Anwar tries to play the Hebrew scholar:

The verse reads,
“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)

The key part in the verse is, “לא איש אל ויכזב ובן־אדם ויתנחם” or “lo ish el bikhazab uben adam beyit nekham“. The negation occurs at the beginning of the sentence with the word “לא” or lo which is similar with the Arabic negation la. What this literally means is “It is not true that God is a man and will lie and the son of man and He will change His mind”. The negation is distributed to each phrase which then yields, “God is not a man and He does not lie, He is not the son of man and He does not repent.”

The way Ibn Anwar mistreats and tortures the Hebrew text in his exegesis is horrendous and if there were a law against it, he would have to go straight to prison. Before we even begin to examine his interpretation, we need to point out his utterly wrong transliteration that exposes his ignorance of the original language. The Hebrew text of Numbers 23:19 with a correct transliteration is:

לֹא  אִישׁ  אֵל  וִיכַזֵּב,  וּבֶן-אָדָם  וְיִתְנֶחָם

Lo ish El wikhazev uven-adam weyitnekham

In this very short Hebrew sentence Ibn Anwar managed to make a whopping five errors! Ibn Anwar can’t even properly read the Hebrew.

First: Every freshman student of Hebrew at least knows how to properly read, transcribe and transliterate the “waw”. This is literally lesson one of any Hebrew class, Lesson 1 being the Hebrew alphabet. The “waw” (ו) is never read or pronounced as a “b”, but as a “w” as pronounced in German “Welt”. Yet Ibn Anwar transliterates it as “b”, and that not just once but twice, showing that this is not merely a typo but genuine ignorance.

Second: Every beginning student of Hebrew knows that the “beth” (ב) is only read and pronounced as a “b” at the beginning of a word or a syllable. In all other instances it is read almost similar to the “waw”. This is also lesson one of any Hebrew class, and by lesson two the pronunciation of the Hebrew letters should be mastered. Somehow, Ibn Anwar apparently missed that class since he also makes this error twice.

Third: Ibn Anwar doesn’t even recognise the future tense of the verbs in the sentences, but chops the last verb up into two separate words in his transliteration. The phrase “weyitnekham” consists of the prefix “we” (pronounce: weh) and the word “yitnekham”, which is in future tense of the root “nakham”. Ibn Anwar chops the word up entirely wrong, making it into “beyit” and “nekham”. What on earth is the word “beyit”? Truth of the matter is that the verb is in the future tense of the binyan (= root form) Hitpa’el. Signifying the future tense shows that God does not lie and will not ever lie.

Now let’s examine the actual meaning of the verse. When read carefully, this verse says something that Ibn Anwar somehow doesn’t fully comprehend. Let’s look at the verse in its proper context.

When reading the text starting from verse 1, we see that its meaning is actually very clear. Balak brought Balaam for the purpose of putting a curse on the children of Israel. He made seven altars to invoke God’s favour. Balak thought that he could win God’s favour to curse Israel, since he was intimidated by Israel. But God blessed them through Balaam instead, so Balak tried again at another place, again building altars to try to win God’s favour through sacrifices. Therefore God makes it clear through Balaam, declaring that God did not lie the first time, so Balak should not try again and that Balak cannot bribe God with any amount of sacrifices to make God change His mind and retract the blessings upon Israel and curse them instead. That is what Numbers 23:19 is all about:

17. When he came to him, he was standing next to his burnt offering, and the Moabite dignitaries were with him, and Balak said to him, "What did the Lord speak?" 18. He took up his parable and said, "Arise, Balak, and hear; listen closely to me, son of Zippor. 19. God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill? 20. I have received [an instruction] to bless, and He has blessed, and I cannot retract it. (The Judaica Press Complete Tanach / JPCT)

See what verse 20 says? God has spoken before through Balaam in verses 9-10, blessing Israel. Verse 19 makes it very clear: unlike man, God doesn’t lie and unlike the son of man, God doesn’t change His mind. When he decrees something He does it and when he has spoken it will happen! This is the true meaning of the text and any other explanation completely misses the entire purpose of it.

It does not say God is not (like) a man in any respect whatsoever. After all, man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1) and we expect God and man to be similar in many aspects. This verse does not deny that God and man are similar in many ways, it only states that God is not like men in the sense that he does not lie or change his mind.

In fact, Ibn Anwar will admit that this is the proper reading of the text as we will see below, but he will nonetheless try to twist this passage and uphold his initial claim by appealing to an analogy provided to him by his friend Gomerozdubar. But as we will see, the analogy is flawed.

Ibn Anwar then lists three potential responses to his argument and his counter rebuttals to those points:

1. First Christian Rebuttal:

The verse says that God is not a man and is not the Son of God, however, it does not say that God can never be a man or the Son of Man.

This rebuttal appeals to the tense used in the verse which is in the present. They basically postulate that God is saying that at that time(specifically) He is not a man. That does not mean that He can never be a man in the future.


What this argument fails to recognise is that the Old Testament is filled with verses that say that God is this or that and those verses remain true for eternity as Christians themselves will concede in their theology. What exactly do I mean? Let us take Deuteronomy 6:4 as an example.

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”

To be consistent the proponents of the first rebuttal must now say that it is possible for God to be 1000 instead of echad(one) in the future if He so wishes. I do not think any reasonable Christian will agree to that.

Let’s have a look at another verse.

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4-5)

Does the verse say that “I, the Lord your God, will forever be a jealous God? No, it says “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. Does this mean that He can become less jealous or not jealous at all when it comes to idolatry and false worship in the future if He so wishes? No! The Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow(Psalms 102:27)

Although I agree with the initial Christian rebuttal, I don’t think this has anything to do with the tense of the verse. Fact is that God was not saying that he could never come in the flesh in human form. That is a given, as we have just demonstrated from the exegesis above.

Quoting the Sh’ma will not help either. The word Echad says absolutely nothing about God’s nature, neither was the Sh’ma made to say anything in that regard. All it says is that God is one. It doesn’t go into specifics, saying God is one in essence, in person, in purpose, or anything like that. All it says is God is one. That can mean anything. Let me give an example of how God can be one and still pose a problem for Unitarians and no problem for Trinitarians. In Judges 13, Manoach and his wife are visited by a person that is initially identified as a Mal’ach YHWH (the Angel of YHWH) in verse 3, but then as a man in verse 6. However, when we read on, the text says the following:

21. And the angel of the Lord did not continue to appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord. 22. And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God." (JPCT)

Notice that Manoach knew who it was that he and his wife saw. Yet, knowing full well who he saw, he exclaims that they will die because they have seen God. The question that any Unitarian should ask himself is: Who causes men in the Bible to fear death, just by seeing Him? The only accurate answer to this question is the God of Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchaq (Isaac) and Ya’aqov (Jacob). How on earth do Unitarians reconcile this with their own position? They can’t! In order to reconcile this, they have to butcher the text to make it say something that it actually doesn’t.

To clarify: the Hebrew here says that they saw “Elohim” and according to Unitarians that word doesn't have to refer to the God of Israel, since it is also used for Moses and angels or mighty men. It should be pointed out that this Elohim is not like Moses or the angels. This Elohim is like YHWH, the God of Israel, Whom man fear to see, lest they die. Since that is also the case with this Elohim, the only conclusion is that this Elohim is put in the same league as the God of Israel. What other Elohim did the people in the Scripture fear but the Elohim of Israel? None! This, therefore, poses a problem for Unitarians, since this cannot be reconciled from their theological standpoint using the testimony of the Hebrew Bible. They often try to reconcile this problem by appealing to law of agency. But that law doesn’t work here. If I speak on behalf of the king, I bare his authority. However, I don’t bare the king’s image. Seeing Moses, who was called "elohim" did not cause men to fear death. Nor did seeing any angel cause men to react with fear of death.

I have been asking orthodox Jews to address this text as it stands and they cannot do so. The only other options you have are that Manoach was actually mistaken or that he lied. But the text doesn’t leave that possibility to the reader and that is going, again, outside of the meaning of the text to force your theological position on Manoach.

And this brings me to another point. Why on earth does Manoach by seeing a man, come to the realisation that this is the Mal’ach YHWH and then concludes that this is YHWH? What man would draw that conclusion after having seen any form, especially the form of… a man! There is no orthodox Jew, with the theological stance that the orthodox Jewish community takes now on the Person of God, who will come to the conclusion that Manoach came to after seeing any form. Yet Manoach did come to that conclusion. This means only one thing: Manoach had different theological view of God than the Unitarians in general and both the orthodox Jewish and the Muslim community have now. This also can be said for Jacob, Moses, Gideon and… Abraham!

2. Second Christian Rebuttal

God did not actually become man. What happened was that God manifested Himself in the flesh. So the verse does not contradict the fact that Jesus was both man and God at the same time.

This argument is favoured by apologists like VenomFangX. It basically postulates that God dwelt in the human cocoon made of flesh and that the flesh itself was not divine and God certainly did not transform into the flesh.

Counter rebuttal:

This idea was also appealed to by Dr. James White in a debate he had with Sami Zaatari on the divinity of Jesus on the 13th of November, 2008 at the Twynholm Baptist Church, London, UK. Sami Zaatari agued that God would have had to change His nature if He became man. Dr. James White argued against Sami’s point saying that God Himself did not become man, but rather dwelt inside the human Jesus so He did not actually change His own nature. You can actually poke a lot of holes in this standard Trinitarian theological gymnastics, but I’m not going to bore you with the details. It is suffice to mention here that Dr. James White on another occassion somewhat admitted that the son of God(who is God) died, but the Father was there to look after the universe. He said this as a response to the Muslim argument that if Jesus(who is God according to Christians) died then God died and who was looking after the universe? Dr. James White mentioned this in a debate he had on a Christian radio based in London with the Muslim da’i(missionary) Abdullah Al-Andalus. What this implies is that James White has actually conceded that Jesus as the second person of the Trinity who is fully God himself actually died. This is also what Christian apologist Jay Smith said in a debate with Shabir Ally which you can watch here. Jay Smith simplysaid that, “I have no problem with God dying”. Ergo, the death on the cross was not simply experienced by the flesh, but also by the divine part of Jesus. This position has to be accepted by Christians who take him as God so as to remain consistent with their theology as we shall see.

John 1 is perhaps the premier passage for Jesus worshippers to prove the divinityof Jesus. They say that the logos is actually Jesus and the logos is God. In that case Jesus is literally God in flesh because verse 14 says that the logos BECAME(egeneto) flesh. It does not say that the logos manifested in the flesh and the flesh then acted as a body that clothed some divine Spirit. To sum up, according to to Trinitarian belief God himself INCARNATED. As the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary says under incarnation, “(in Christianity) the act of God coming to earth in human form as Jesus.” God became human according to Trinitarian interpretation of John 1:14 i.e. logos is God and logos became flesh(man) = God became man. *

So, the excuse produced by apologists like VenomFangX does not really hold water and Numbers 23:19 still stands a contradition to the idea that God became man.

First of all, I want to direct the readers to my rebuttal3 to all the feeble points that Sami Zaatari raised in his debate with Dr James R. White, the nonsensical argument about God’s supposed “nature change” has been addressed and refuted by myself on YouTube, in a series where I completely undercut each and every objection that Sami Zaatari raised in his debate with Dr. James R. White and some insane arguments he used in his debate with Nabeel Qureshi as well. The argument actually doesn’t exist and therefore isn’t even an argument against our position.

Second, notice how Ibn Anwar keeps holding on to his flawed premise that Numbers 23:19 says that God cannot become a man. We have already shown how this reading of that passage is flawed and itself holds no water in contrast to the “excuse produced by apologists like VenomFangX”.

Lastly, when John says Yeshua became flesh, he goes on to say how he became flesh: He pitched his tent among us. He dwelt among us in bodily form. For some reason Muslims keep thinking that Yeshua existed as man and was subsequently made God. This is not what we believe. God came down and reached out to us. So when the Son of God died, meaning his body died, He Himself didn’t cease to exist. If Muhammadans would just make that distinction consistently, since they themselves don’t believe that when one dies, one ceases to exist, but that only the body dies. If God, Who has always existed without flesh, comes down and takes on flesh and then the flesh dies, why do they ask “who controlled the world”? That is a non-argument even from your own position! Because you are not merely flesh, you are a living soul that dwells in a body of flesh. When a person named “Jack” dies no one will say “Jack’s body died” (although that is the reality), they will say “Jack died”. Likewise, why should it be any different with the Son of God who took upon Himself human flesh and lived among us? Isn’t it accurate to likewise say that “the Son of God died”? I do not see how the objection of the Muhammadans is either a refutation of our theology or a support for their “Tawheedic” position.

Then in his counter rebuttal to Christian Rebuttal 3, Ibn Anwar actually agrees with my explanation of the verse in his counter rebuttal 1, as seen above, but still puts up a fight in an attempt to find support for his position.

3. Third Christian Rebuttal

The context shows that the verse is talking about man’s limited and fickle human condition in that they lie and change their minds or require repentance for their actions.

Counter rebuttal:

The following is the context.

18. And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:

19. 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?

20. Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

Yes, I will agree with the rebuttal that the context shows that it is talking about the human limitation and how God does not have those limitations i.e. lying and repenting. However, I fail to see how this negates the fact that the verse says “God is not a man …nor the son of man”. In fact, I think the context further supports my position because lying and repenting are innate human conditions. It is because the nature of man contains the facility to lie and to repent that God is not a man! That is what the verse means. As the saying goes ‘to err is human’. It is because God does not err that he is not human/man and it is because he is not man/human that he does not err!

There is a difference between “erring” and “changing one’s mind”. The omniscience of God implies that he does not err since error presupposes ignorance. But the point in the story of Balaam is that God will not change his mind and cannot be persuaded to change his mind by bringing even more sacrifices and efforts.

However, let’s follow Ibn Anwar’s “definition” about one not being able to be God because one lies and repents. Let’s see what happens if we follow the argument of Ibn Anwar to its logical conclusion. If we find Allah lying and changing his mind, i.e. not executing what he has said for no reason whatsoever, then we must conclude, based on Ibn Anwar’s own criterion, that Allah cannot be God. And indeed, we find Allah lying and changing his mind in the Quran by abrogation and not following through on his promises. As to Allah lying, we see Allah claiming the following in the Quran:

Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind… (Surah 5:32)

This is simply not true. Allah never revealed this so the children of Israel. This teaching came from the mind of a rabbi in the Talmud, Midrash Sanhedrin 4.5. Allah doesn’t even know what he revealed to others, but instead Allah borrows from uninspired sources. Another lie is the fact that Jews believe in Ezra as the Son of God:

And the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allâh, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allâh. That is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allâh's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth.

Here Allah talks about truth, but Allah himself lies. Never, in the history of the Jewish people, have we believed that Ezra is the Son of God or anything similar. Ezra has never had this lofty position in the Jewish minds. Yet Allah claims that we believe this. There is no proof whatsoever that we believed this, because this was never our position.

As for Allah changing his mind for no reason and abrogating verses:

O Prophet (Muhammad SAW)! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.

Now Allâh has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast persons, they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand with the Leave of Allâh. And Allâh is with As-Sâbirin (the patient ones, etc.). (Surah 8:65-66, The Noble Quran)

So Allah made the scales for Muslim fighters at a 1 to 10 ratio at first, then he lowered the bar by a significant amount to a 1 to 2 ratio. Why did Allah do that? Well, the Muslim expositors tell us exactly why. Ibn Kathir informs us in his explanation on Surah 8:65-66:

(If there are twenty steadfast persons among you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve.)

The Ayah says, one Muslim should endure ten disbelievers. Allah abrogated this part later on, but the good news remained. `Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak said that Jarir bin Hazim narrated to them that, Az-Zubayr bin Al-Khirrit narrated to him, from `Ikrimah, from Ibn `Abbas, "When this verse was revealed,

(If there are twenty steadfast persons among you, they will overcome two hundred...) it became difficult for the Muslims, when Allah commanded that one Muslim is required to endure ten idolators. Soon after, this matter was made easy,

(Now Allah has lightened your (task)), until,
(they shall overcome two hundred. ..)

Allah lowered the number [of adversaries that Muslims are required to endure], and thus, made the required patience less, compatible to the decrease in numbers.'' Al-Bukhari recorded a similar narration from Ibn Al-Mubarak. Muhammad bin Ishaq recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "When this Ayah was revealed, it was difficult for the Muslims, for they thought it was burdensome since twenty should fight two hundred, and a hundred against a thousand. ALLAH MADE THIS RULING EASY FOR THEM and abrogated this Ayah with another Ayah,

(Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you...)

So Muslims start getting cold feet and Allah simply caters to their wishes instead of standing behind his own promises. The Tafsir Al Jalalayn puts it even clearer. In this commentary, one can’t help to observe the total helplessness of Allah, as he changed his mind as soon as the numbers of the infidels increased:

O Prophet, urge on, exhort, the believers to fight, the disbelievers. If there be twenty of you, steadfast, they will overcome two hundred, of them. If there be (read as yakun or takun) a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, for they are a people who do not understand (this [sentence] is predicative, but functions as an imperative, in other words, let the twenty of you fight the two hundred [of them], and the hundred [of you], the thousand [of them], and let them stand firm against them; but when they became numerous this was abrogated by God’s saying):

Now God has lightened [the burden] for you, for He knows that there is weakness (read du‘fan or da‘fan) in you, [making you unable] to fight ten times your number. So if there be (read as yakun or takun) a hundred of you, steadfast, they will overcome two hundred, of them; and if there be a thousand of you, they will overcome two thousand by the leave of God, by His will (this is predicative, functioning as an imperative, in other words: fight twice your number and stand firm against them). And God is with the steadfast, by His support [of them]. (Tafsir Al-Jalalayn on Surah 8:65-66)

Isn’t Allah just a nice compromising god? He promises to aid people and puts the odds at one Muslim against ten infidels and when Muslims get cold feet, Allah fails to aid and strengthen them but, instead, drops the bar like you wouldn’t believe to one Muslim against two infidels and “makes it easy” for the Muslims. This means nothing other than that Allah was incapable to aid the Muslims since, according to the Quran, it is lighter for Muslims to fight one against two than it would be for them to fight one against ten WITH Allah’s aid! Compare this cowardice and capricious attitude of Allah to the truthfulness of YHWH and to His promise in Judges 7 and 8. After God had promised Gideon that He would deliver Israel out of the hands of the Midianites we read in Judges 7:

1. And Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, arose early, and all the people that were with him, and they encamped beside En- harod, and the camp of Midian was on the north side of him by Gibeath-moreh, in the valley. 2. And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people that are with you are too numerous for Me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.' 3. So now proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, 'Whosoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart early from Mount Gilead.' " And there returned of the people twenty-two thousand; and ten thousand remained. 4. And the Lord said to Gideon, "The people are still too many; bring them down to the water, and I will purify them for you there. And it shall be, that of whom I say to you, 'This (one) shall go with you,' he shall go with you, and of whomsoever I shall say to you, 'This (one) shall not go with you,' he shall not go." … 7. And the Lord said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and I will give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the (other) people go each to his place." (JPCT)

Reading on, God smashes the Midianites and liberates His people. We find the similar examples in Deuteronomy 20, Isaiah 10 and 37. Instead of the true God, YHWH of hosts, catering to the wishes and demands of His people, He chooses to glorify Himself in the weakness of His vessels. The initial 32.000 men were decreased to a mere 300 and Midian was crushed. This way, we know for a fact that He is the one that gave His servants victory over their enemies as He promised. YHWH remains true to His words! What a contrast with the Allah of the Quran! Therefore we have to conclude that Allah is NOT the true God of the Bible, per Ibn Anwar’s own criterion.

Moreover, the Allah of the Qur’an even boast to be the best deceiver (i.e. liar) and therefore does not satisfy Ibn Anwar’s criterion that whoever lies cannot be God, see the various articles listed under the entry Deception in our Index to Islam.

Ibn Anwar continues:

Some have tried to suggest that God can be human provided he becomes a perfect human who does not lie nor repent. It is to that effect that he became Jesus who was perfect and sinless. As a matter of fact, Jesus did repent according to the so called Lord’s prayer(Matthew 6 & Luke 11) which he read and taught. Apologists would reply saying that Jesus himelf did not repent, but was actually teaching the disciples how to pray. To refute this excuse I will provide a simple analogy.

“James and Peter are swimming. James is teaching Peter how to swim in the pool.”(courtesy of Gomerozdubar)

Does the above mentioning of teaching negate the fact that James is swimming? No, it does not.

The fact of the matter is that the verse clearly says that God is not a man and Jesus is a man and that means Jesus is not God. It also says God is not the son of man and Jesus was the son of man is repeated 82 times in the gospels which means that Jesus is no God. It’s a very simple excercise and I truly believe any reasonable person will concede. The three rebuttals have been refuted and Numbers 23:19 stands as good proof for our case. Let us now proceed to the next verse.

My experience with Muslims and analogies is that when Muslims try to use analogies, they use flawed logic in order to dupe the gullible into thinking that their arguments are intellectually sound. This case is no exception. In this instance, Ibn Anwar had help from Gomerozdubar, a Muslim that I am familiar with via the Paltalk chat rooms, where he is hailed as one of the most intellectual Muslims present on Paltalk. Let’s see where the analogy fails.

  1. James and Peter are swimming
  2. James is teaching Peter how to swim in the pool
  3. James is swimming with Peter trying to teach Peter how to swim

These kinds of analogies work like this: you start with a series of premises and end with a conclusion based on those premises (premise a; premise b; conclusion c). Since the above analogy “a” already establishes that James is swimming, and there is nothing in “b” that denies what has already been said in “a” the logical conclusion is “c”, namely James is also swimming. In the analogy James is already said to be swimming with Peter, therefore to even question if James is swimming is to not pay attention to what is being said about James. What Ibn Anwar is trying to have us believe about Numbers 23:19 is something like this:

  1. God is not someone who lies
  2. God is not someone who repents
  3. Therefore God cannot be someone or a “someone”

There is no serious person that will vouch for this conclusion. It simply doesn’t follow! Yet this is exactly what Ibn Anwar is trying to squeeze into the text of Scripture. So the analogy that Ibn Anwar, with courtesy of Gomerozdubar, offers to support his argument is nothing like Numbers 23:19:

  1. God is not a man, that he should lie;
  2. God is not the son of man, that he should repent
  3. God does not lie and repent

We are not told here that God cannot become man or that God cannot appear in human form because He doesn’t lie. As we have already seen from the Tanakh  in Judges 13, the very opposite is true. The verse clearly says that God is not like man because He doesn’t lie. Therefore this verse is not designed to proclaim that God cannot become a man and walk among us, but rather to give us the distinction between God and man in character and trustworthiness: God is faithful, man is not. Which brings us to the following part of Ibn Anwar:

First of all, let us recall what I said in the counter rebuttal just now.

“It is because the nature of man contains the facility to lie and to repent that God is not a man! That is what the verse means. As the saying goes ‘to err is human’. It is because God does not err that he is not human/man and it is because he is not man/human that he does not err!”

Numbers 23:19 has it that, “God is not a man, for he does not lie nor the son of man for he does not repent…”.

Correction: it is the tendency of fallen man to lie and to repent! Yeshua was not a fallen man. He was sinless, born without the stain and continued effect of the sin of Adam that has it’s outworking on every descendant of Adam. God created man in Genesis 1 and saw that it was good. God didn’t make man sinful or with an inclination to sin. Therefore, Yeshua was not sinful as us, who seek to satisfy the lusts of the flesh (as is exactly the case with Muslims as apparent from their views on the Islamic Paradise), nor had He the inclination to sin. Therefore, to say that God cannot be a man because man is prone to sin and God is not completely misses the mark. In fact, even in Islam Yeshua is blameless before Allah. Therefore, being without sin, He is completely trustworthy and shows none of the characteristics of man mentioned in Numbers 23:19 and which Ibn Anwar tries to ascribe to Yeshua.

Our second verse has it the other way around as if trying to reiterate what was previously said in Numbers. That verse is found in 1 Samuel 15:29 which reads,

“And also the Glory of Israel will not lie nor repent; for He is not a man(lo adam), that He should repent.’”

The above seems to agree with the third rebuttal that what is being focused on is the human condition of lying and repenting. As I also stated and let us reiterate one more time that God is not a man because He does not lie nor repent and he does not lie nor repent because He is not man. In both instances the negation made is between the referent God and the referent man i.e. they are not the same. God is not a man(lo ish and lo adam).

Ibn Anwar’s point has been shown to be moot. There is no other reason to read it any different as we have analysed the verse. 1 Samuel 15:29 makes the same argument as Numbers 23:19 so there is no need of going over it again. Ibn Anwar’s repetition of the same flawed argument like a broken record doesn’t establish his case.

The third verse is even more clear and the excuse given by rebuttal three can’t even be used because it says,

“I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in fury.” (Hosea 11:9)

Yes, the context is about Ephraim, but just because it’s about Ephraim does not mean that the highlighted section is rendered moot. Genesis 17:1 says that God revealed Himself to Abram and made the statement, “I am the God Almighty”. The context of Genesis 17 is the covenant and the sign of the covenant. That context does not negate the fact that God explicitly stated that He is God Almighty. Likewise, in all three verses whatver the context may be the important thing is that they all agree on one thing and that is GOD IS NOT A MAN.

Wow! Talking about prooftexting. What on earth does Genesis 17 have to do with Hoshea 11:9? Again, I point you to what God is trying to say here: God has promised to save Israel in spite of their evil acts with which they denied Him. God will not destroy Israel for their evil acts, but He will have mercy on them and save them instead. God has spoken and it will be done. He is God, Who keeps His word, not man, that says one thing now and then turns around and denies what he has said before:

7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them. 8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man— the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.

Even if God is angry with them, His compassion will prevail over His anger. This passage is again contrasting the goodness of God to the wickedness of man. So, again, Ibn Anwar’s argument is based on the same flaw that we have seen him make in the two other instances. In addition, it amazes me to see how Muslims will claim that the Bible cannot be trusted but then quote from it as if it can be trusted in order to support this case. In this instance, this Muslim will quote a verse to prove his position on God’s essence, while that very verse, and the immediate context of that verse, condemns Islam as a false and illegitimate religion. God says He will preserve His people and tells them He would not wipe them away. Allah, on the other hand, doesn’t  promise Jews preservation but destruction. Plus Muhammad said that the last day would not come unless Muslims fight Jews and kill them all. This is yet another illustration how Allah is the polar opposite of YHWH, the God of Avraham, Yitzchaq and Ya’aqov.


Since Ibn Anwar’s arguments are all based on a flawed (method of) analysis, which have been clearly pointed out, there is no reason to accept the conclusion of his paper. There is no way that Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29 and Hosea 11:9 say that God cannot, will not and is not able to come down in human form. They all speak of the trustworthiness of God and His loyalty to His word contrasted to the untrustworthiness of man and his disloyalty to his words. Let’s hope that Muslims like Ibn Anwar are provoked to look into the Message of the Messiah in an unbiased way and see the beauty of the Salvation in the Son of the God of Israel.

In Messiah’s grace,



1 A couple of days after its publication on "Unveiling Christianity", this article was also placed on Sami Zaatari's website "Muslim Responses" (here).

2 Cf. this rebuttal to false linguistic claims in another one of his articles.

3 The particular rebuttal to the “nature change” argument can be found here. Sami’s street arguments are all thoroughly addressed here. I took the task to address these points, because Sami is supposedly the hero of the Muslims on Paltalk and because he promised that he would do serious damage to Dr James White in the debate, saying “it is truly on” since he was mad at Dr White for posting a letter from an American soldier in Iraq on his own blog! I believe to have successfully shown his argument to be superficial and unappealing.