Mar 12, 2012

Arguments Against Modalism I

Many of the arguments that will be presented to prove that God is revealed in scripture to be three persons in unity will come from writers of the past, particularly from the work of Dr. John Gill.

The word "Trinity" simply denotes a Tri-Unity, and affirms that God is in some respect one, and in some respects three. The Apostle John, in speaking of the Father, the Word (Son), and the Holy Spirit, says "and these three are one." (I John 5: 7)

The first argument to prove that the oneness of God does not exclude his being three persons is evident from his words from John 17: 20-23:

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

It is argued by the deniers of the Trinity of persons in the Godhead (divine nature) that the oneness of God excludes his being in any sense more than one, or a plurality.  When Jesus says that he and his Father are "one" (John 10: 30), the Modalists affirm that Jesus is saying that he and the Father are the same one, the same person, that there are not two identities but one.  But, this is clearly not the teaching of Christ and the verses cited above prove it beyond dispute.  Jesus prays that his people all become "one" in the exact same way that he and his Father are "one."  But, surely all persons will not loose their individual persons and identities, and all become one person.  If the oneness of God necessitates oneness of person, then so does the oneness of saints necessitate oneness in person. 

Further, Jesus did not say "I am my Father am one," or "is one," but "are one." 

A further argument for a Trinity of persons in the divine nature is the fact that Jesus, in the above passage, uses plural personal pronouns when he speaks of the Father in relation to himsel. 

All the saved will enjoy a composite unity, the kind enjoyed by married people, when "the two shall become as one," and the kind enjoyed by the three persons of the Godhead.

The Scriptures teach the Unity of the Trinity and the Trinity of the Unity.

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