How do Modalists interpret John 14:28?

You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I will come to you. If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28, ESV)


2 Answers 2


They would first point out that in John 14:28 Christ says he is both "going away" and "will come to you" as evidence that Christ and the Holy Spirit referred to in John 14:16-17 are really the same person based on John 14:18 [and v28]

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:16-18(KJV)

Next they would point out that while the Father in John 14:28 is treated as independent and "greater,"

In passages of scripture such as Matthew 3:16-17 where the Son, Father, and Holy Spirit are separated in the text, they view this phenomenon as confirming God's omnipresence, and His ability to manifest himself as he pleases." Wikipedia

Finally, they would posit that the view of the "Father" as presented in v28 must be taken contextually as explained to their understanding just a few verses before in John 14:8-9, in which they would affirm that Christ essentially states that He and the Father are the same person.

(John 14:8-9, WEB) Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’

  • 1
    You've got the beginnings of an answer here, but you haven't show how modalists explain the details of John 14:28. The Wikipedia quote also doesn't immediately seem relevant. Please edit this to add a full and thorough explanation.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 13, 2017 at 12:53
  • 2
    And( I) will pray the (Father), and he shall give you (another Comforter), that he may abide with you for ever;. i feel like the verse you quoted first ( jn 14:16) is like a modalist refutation, 3 distinct persons acting. Not saying you didn't answer well, just that i think its a hard position to justify
    – L1R
    Jul 13, 2017 at 21:49
  • @L1R, as you've just demonstrated, the modalist view of the Godhead falls apart pretty easily. Oct 24, 2017 at 23:20

Easy. I’d say He was in the form of God and took on the form of man. He was going back to the form of God in His current body. That form is greater, as His glory is no longer hidden and His body no longer corruptible.

That is why scripture tells us we shall be like Him and see Him as He is at the resurrection of the dead.

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