Apr 11, 2012

The Modalist God

Is the Father, Word (Son), and Holy Spirit to be thought of as mere "expressions" of the one person God?  Is the Trinity a Trinity of "manifestations," "modes," and "roles" of the one person God?  Modalists are fond of using various words to denote what is meant by Father, Son, and Spirit, but they are opposed to the use of the word "person."  God is "three expressions."  God is "three modes" and "three roles."  However, it is not scripturally apropos for me to think of Father, Son, and Spirit as impersonal entities.  Under Modalistic paradigms, the "Father" is not God but simply one of the several "ways" in which God "appears."  Likewise, the "Son" and the "Spirit" are not God, but simply "reflections" of God. 

Many Modalists think that Father, Son, and Spirit are titles that do not denote persons, but simply "masks" that the one God wears at various times, like a primitive actor in theatre who plays various roles by wearing different clothes and masks.  But, these masks cannot be identified as being de facto the person (actor) himself.  In Modalism, the real actor's personality is hidden behind the various masks and roles.  In Modalism, not even the Father is a person, but is simply one of several ways that God reveals himself. 

It seems to me that Modalism makes God into a "transformer," one who "morphs" himself into various forms.  In Science Fiction, such as Star Wars and Star Trek, certain alien creatures had the ability to "morphe" or "transform" into various shapes and appearances.  Is this the way we are to conceive of the Father, Son, and Spirit?  Is God simply a "holographic image" as in Star Trek?  A "hologram"?  It seems to me that this is exactly the way God is pictured under the Modalist model of God. 

It is foolishness to read of the Father talking to the Son and think that it simply is the same actor talking to himself with different masks on his face.  It is foolishness to think that one holographic image of God can have fellowship with another holographic image of God. 

It is interesting how Paul says that Satan "transforms himself into an angel of light."  (II Cor. 11: 14)  Satan can take many forms, whether a serpent or angel.  He is a "shape shifter."  But, Modalists must say that God also, like Satan, "transforms himself" into Father, Son, and Spirit. 

It is a simple task to refute Modalism.  All one has to do is to show from scripture that the Father is a person and likewise are the Son and Spirit, and that they are clearly not the same person.

Jesus said:

"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."  (John 14: 23)

Clearly the Father is not Jesus.  This is proven by "my words" and "my Father," which shows that the one designated by "my" (Jesus) is not the same person as the Father.  It is also proven by the use of the plural personal pronouns "we" and "our." 

If Jesus and the Father are the same person, such language would make no sense.  If Jesus and the Father are but "expressions" of God, then Jesus and the Father, as persons, do not dwell in me, but only their "expressions."  How can one have fellowship with an holographic image of God?

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