Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

4.7 The Heresies – Modalism: God as a Monad with Three Names

By Dr. James Papandrea ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 28, 2024 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

Listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | RSS feed | YouTube Channel

This is a listener-supported podcast! Thanks for your help!

Modalism denies the distinctions between the three Persons of the Trinity, so that God is presented as, not a Trinity at all, but rather a monad with three names. Modalism can be expressed chronologically (the Father became incarnate as the Son) or functionally (the names describe activities like Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer), but either way, in modalism the Son IS the Father in disguise, which ultimately denies the real humanity of Jesus Christ and the reality of his passion.


For more information on Irenaeus of Lyons, listen to Mike Aquilina’s Episode 10:

To read Irenaeus of Lyons’ Demonstration of the Apostolic Teaching:

For more information on Tertullian, listen to Mike Aquilina’s Episode 13:

and Episode 14:

To read Tertullian’s Against Praxeas:

For more information on Hippolytus, listen to Mike Aquilina’s Episode 17:

To read Hippolytus’ Refutation of All Heresies:


For more detail on the heresy of modalism, and an introduction to Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Novatian, see the books:
Reading the Church Fathers: A History of the Early Church and the Development of Doctrine:

and Trinity 101: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

To connect with Dr. James Papandrea, On YouTube—The Original Church:
Join the Original Church Community on Locals:

Dr. Papandrea’s Homepage:

Theme Music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed:

Dr. James Papandrea is a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and a Catholic member of the faculty at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. A theological consultant for EWTN’s series The Heresies, he is also the writer and presenter for The Original Church series on YouTube. See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.