Religion Magazine

Karl Barth on the Trinity

By Sjbedard @sjbedard

Please note that when Barth speaks of modes, he does not mean the heresy of modalism. He prefers modes to persons, but his doctrine of the trinity is very orthodox.

“It does not follow from His triunity that His being is three-fold in the sense that His perfection consists of three parts and is to be seen and understood by us as it were in three divisions. His being is whole and undivided, and therefore all His perfections are equally the being of all three modes of the divine being. But it certainly follows from God’s triunity that the one whole divine being, as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit whose being it is, must be at the same time identical with itself and non-identical, simple and multiple, a life both in movement and at peace. In this relationship and therefore in its form, what is repeated and revealed in the whole divine being as such, and in each divine perfection in particular, is the relationship and form of being of the Father and the Son and the unity of the Spirit, to the extent that these three are distinct in God but no less one in God, without pre-eminence or subordination but not without succession and order, yet without any jeopardizing or annulment of the real life of the Godhead.” – Karl Barth


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