According to Acts, was Jesus’s appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus physical ?

“Yes, after all…
  • Acts: “Paul says Jesus’s visit hit everyone”
  • Acts: “Jesus rose physically”

      The book of Acts teaches that Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead.

      • Acts says “his body was not left to decay.”
      • Acts says his body (that ate/drank) ascended.
      • Luke, in general, teaches Jesus rose physically (empty tomb, tangible Jesus, not a ghost, etc.)
      • The author of Acts followed the teaching of the apostles (who taught a physical resurrection).
      • The author of Acts agreed with Paul.
      • Early Christians in general did.
      • That’s what “resurrection” meant by default.

      This is relevant because Acts says Jesus appeared to Paul, and a mere mental vision of Jesus is not an appearance (meaning the author of Acts is inept).

      Michael Licona: “[t]he same Luke who reports the appearances to Stephen and Paul is likewise very clear that he interprets the appearances to the disciples as disclosing a literal resurrection of Jesus’ corpse. … Jesus is taken up from among his disciples and is lifted up into the clouds (Acts 1:9-11). He ate and drank with his disciples before his ascension (Acts 10:39-41), and his body is said not to have decayed as king David’s did but was instead raised up (Acts 2:30-32; 13:35-37). It is difficult to state more clearly than Luke has done that Jesus’ resurrection involved raising his corpse.” [The Resurrection of Jesus (IVP, 2011), 329.]

  • “No, after all…
  • Acts 26:19 “heavenly vision” isn’t physical

      The Greek “optasia” philologically denotes a non-physical experience. (See full article here.) This is relevant because Acts 26:19 reports Paul saying, “I did not prove obedient to the heavenly vision [optasia]” and the “heavenly vision” was Jesus himself (or the nature of his appearance).

      But no,
      “Optasia” is usually physical.

      So what? Plausibly…
      • The vision is not of Jesus, but of Paul’s mission. [Forthcoming]

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