According to Acts, Jesus’s appearing to Paul on the road to Damascus physically impacted those who were traveling with Paul.
See this full article to analyze these 4 evidences:
• Acts 9 & 22 (“Paul says ‘blinded me; guided!’”)
• Acts 22 & 26 (“Paul says ‘we all saw the light’”)
• Acts 9 & 26 (“Paul says ‘light threw us to ground!’”)
• Acts 9 & 22 (“Paul says ‘all heard the voice.’”)
This is relevant because it entails that, in the Acts account, the appearance was physical.
• Acts invented these details. [Forthcoming]
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.]
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).
• “Optasia” is usually physical.
So what? Plausibly…
• The vision is not of Jesus, but of Paul’s mission. [Forthcoming]