I often hear Jesus Mythicists arguing that Paul believed Jesus was a celestial being who put on a body of flesh to be crucified by demonic powers in the heavens. Hence I ask: did Paul ever situate Jesus on earth?


First of all, unless you make reference to an actual person who makes an actual claim, rather than a fairly vague description, it is difficult for me to respond to what the “mythicists” claim.  There are a variety of mythicists out there, with a variety of claims about Jesus.  Most of them definitely do not say that Paul believed Jesus to be a celestial being.  Most typically, mythicists claim that Paul believed Jesus was a mere human, and not divine. So I am not sure which mythicist you are referring to.  Can you provide a name or reference a book or website?  However, having said this, the charge that Paul believed Jesus was a purely celestial being is so ridiculous and so obviously untrue, that it barely deserves a response.  No serious person can believe this claim, and to answer the claim is to give honor to a thing which does not deserve such honor.
Now, there were believers in the second and third century, such as some gnostics and others who are labeled as docetists, who claimed that Jesus only appeared to be a physical person, or that he temporarily occupied a body which was not his own. A docetist is one who believes that Jesus only appeared to be human, but that he was wholly divine.  But, the part about being crucified by demonic powers in the heavens was not proposed, even by these docetists or gnostics, at least as far as I know.
In any case, let me say without the least amount of doubt that Paul believed that Jesus was a human being who literally walked the earth, and who was crucified in his physical body and raised on the third day.  1 Corinthians 15:1-4 establishes this, as Paul said this was part of the absolute essential of Christianity.  Paul was no Gnostic and Paul was no Docetist. The rest of 1 Corinthians 15 establishes that Paul believed Jesus occupied a physical body.   Those who claim differently have a problem.  There is no evidence to support their speculative, evidence-free theories.  I am absolutely convinced that Paul believed Jesus was God-in-the-flesh, but those mythicists who argue against this at least have some sort of a case they can argue, but as for the claim above, it does not even deserve a response.
John Oakes

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