What is Modalism?
Modalism is the belief that God is one person that manifests Himself in three modes; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit are all the same person appearing in different (in a sense) disguises. When Jesus prays to the Father, it is the human part of Jesus praying to God. Modalism seems to make sense on the surface, but when you look at it closely many problems emerge.
The Doctrine of the Trinity
Christians since the second century have understood the Trinity as one God composed of three persons. We know this because the Bible refers to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as God yet the Bible clearly portrays the three persons of the Trinity as distinct persons.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share in attributes of God
All three persons of the Trinity:
- Are Called God Phl 1:2, Jn 1:1,14, Col 2:9, Act 5:3-4
- Are omnipresent (everywhere) 1 Kings 8:27, Matt 28:20, Psalm 139:7-10
- Are omnipotent (All Knowing) 1 John 3:20, John 16:30, 21:17, 1 Cor 2:10-11
- Give life Gen 2:7, John 5:21, John 1:3, 5:21, 2 Cor 3:6,8
- Are the creator Isaiah 64:8, John 1:3, Col 1:15-17, Job 33:4, 26:13
- Resurrected Jesus 1 Thess. 1:10, John 2:19, 10:17, Rom 8:11
- Indwell believers 2 Cor 6:16, Col 1:27, John 14:17
- Are eternal Psalm 90:2, Micah 5:1-2, Rom 8:11, Heb 9:14
- Sanctify believers 1 Thes 5:23, Heb 2:11, 1 Pet 1:2
See Also: http://carm.org/trinity
How do we know that the Godhead is Three Distinct Persons?
The following are a few reasons we can know that the three persons of the Trinity are not the same person manifesting in different modes.
- The three persons of the Trinity communicate between each other.
- They differentiate between themselves and the other persons of the Trinity. They use the words” I”, “me”, “mine” of themselves while referring to the other persons of the Trinity with “you”, “your” and “yours”.
- They express their own will. For example Jesus said “not my will but thine be done”.
Jesus is Distinct From the Father
Isa 44:6 “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Philippians 2:5-6 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”
If Jesus was the same as the Father, why even say this? Who being in the form of himself, he thought it not robbery to be equal with himself. That doesn’t make sense.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Psa 110:1 “A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Luk 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
Who Did What?
Gen 19:24 “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven”
Amos 4:10-11 “I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. (11) I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”
Who is us?
Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Gen 11:7 “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
Scriptures depicting the Trinity
The following scriptures are just a small sampling of scriptures in the Bible that depict the Trinity.
1Jn 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
2Co 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen”
Acts 2:32-33 “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (33) Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
Matthew 3:16-17 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (17) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”
Joh 15:26 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me”
Isaiah 48:12-16 “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. (13) Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. (14) All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The LORD hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans. (15) I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called him: I have brought him, and he shall make his way prosperous. (16) Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.”
It’s clear that Modalsim is false. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all called God yet there is only one God. All three persons of the Trinity have traits of personhood. The Bible has many verses that depict all three persons of the Trinity together at the same time. The Trinity cannot be one person that talks to Himself.