Do Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, and Hosea 11:9 prove that Jesus is not God?
There are several verses in the Bible which state very clearly that "God is not man". Some, such as the Iglesia Ni Cristo, have used these verses to assert that Jesus cannot be God. They reason that if God is not man, then Jesus, a man, cannot be God.
This argument seems fairly persuasive, but when we examine the actual verses, we see that they do not prevent Jesus from being both God and man.
First, we will point out several flaws in the argument as a whole. Then, we will look at each of the verses that are cited (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hosea 11:9).
The Father is not man.
The first hole in this argument is that verses that speak about "God", do not have to refer to the entire Trinity. Sometimes they only speak of one member, most often, the Father.
Of course, the Father is not a man. Therefore, if we accept it is possible that each of these verses is speaking specifically of the Father, it has no bearing on whether on not the Son (a distinct person in the Trinity) can be a man.
The nature of God is distinct from the nature of man.
Additionally, Trinitarians hold that Jesus is both fully man and fully God, but that these two natures are distinct. In other words, Jesus' deity is not his humanity. His "God-ness" is not his "man-ness". In this way, God is most certainly not man, even in the case of Jesus.
Jesus is without sin, and is not sinful man.
This is the most important point. As we look at each of these verses, we see that the point being made is God is not sinful. He is not unloving, impatient, or lacking any of the fruits of the Spirit as is universally the case for sinful man.
Jesus was without sin, so he is also not sinful man that he should repent. He does not fit in the category of men being spoken of at all. Therefore, this is not saying that God cannot be sinless man (like Jesus). It is saying that God cannot be sinful man.
Let's look at each of these verses and see how that is the case.
Numbers 23:19 only speaks of sinful man.
Numbers 23:19 (ESV) - God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
To say one thing and do another is sinful. It is something every man is capable of doing and does. This is not the case with Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is also not sinful man that he should change his mind.
1 Samuel 15:29 only speaks of sinful man.
1 Samuel 15:29 (ESV) - And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.
To lie and, in turn, regret is a universal feature of sinful man. Jesus does not lie. Therefore, Jesus is also not sinful man that he should lie and regret.
Hosea 11:9 only speaks of sinful man.
Hosea 11:9 (ESV) - I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.
None of these verses demonstrate that Jesus, a man, cannot also be God. In addition to some very basic errors, the main problem with the INC's argument is that it ignores the meaning of the verse, as speaking of sinful man. When the INC tries to make this apply to Jesus, saying that he cannot be God, they are unwittingly calling him a sinful man. While God is not free to sin, he is perfectly free to enter into his own creation, as the Son did at his birth.
In that last verse, Hosea 11:9, we saw that God is the Holy One in our midst. This is a familiar phrase, that we should all recognize. As John said to Jesus:
John 6:69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.
The Holy One in our midst is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Verses such as Hosea 11:9, which call God "the Holy One in our midst" should not make us doubt the deity of Christ, but make us all the more certain of it.