Barth has been charged with modalism, partly because he chose to use the phrase “mode of existence” rather than the term “person” to describe the three in God. The charge doesn’t stick, mainly because Barth clearly understands what modalism is, and claims that it amounts to atheism and a denial of revelation.
Even the phrase itself isn’t modalist. Barth does not call the Father a “mode of operation” or “mode of revelation” of God. The Father is rather a “mode of existence,” that is, one of the ways in which God is, a mode of God’s being. Since God is always what He is, then three “modes of existence” are eternal features of God’s being. Not modalist at all.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 11:17 am
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