Docetism is a heresy that derives its name from the greek word (Î´Î¿ÎºÎµá¿–Î½/Î´ÏŒÎºÎ·ÏƒÎ¹Ï‚dokein(to seem) /dokÄ”sis(apparition,phantom)), the doceits taught that Jesus was not a human being but only appeared so, they believed that He was a spirit but appeared human but was not tangible and therefore had no body or flesh and blood. They abstained from the Eucharist and those who partake only did so with water as they believed that wine symbolizes blood and Jesus had no blood.Docetism was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
This belief was based on the idea that God could not be associated with creation as they believed that creation was evil (Dualism), therefore in the incarnation Christ did not become real flesh but only seem to. In the Epistle of 1 John, john is dealing with this kind of heresy and warning the believers to watch out for these false teachers who only present a half Christ and claim to have been sent by God.1Jn 1:1Â “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” They denied the full incarnation because they said that God cannot suffer.
To say that Christ did not come in real bodily form is to repudiate the whole story of redemption, if He only appeared human it means that even His death was not real but only appeared so and we are yet in our sins. People who deny the doctrine of Christ's two natures named The Hypostatic Union also hold the same position as the doceits.
1Jn 4:3Â And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Soli Deo Gloria
1.Â Arendzen, J. (2012) . “Docetae” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05070c.htm) . The Catholic Encyclopedia. 5. Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05070c.htm. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
2.Â Ashwin-Siejkowski, Piotr (2010). “The Docetic View of Christ” (http://books.google.com.au/books?id=45pfB4VaoAIC&pg=PA95) . Clement of Alexandria on Trial: The Evidence of “Heresy” from Photius' Bibliotheca. Vigiliae Christianae. 101. Brill. pp. 95-113. ISBN 978-0-19-518249-1. http://books.google.com.au /books?id=45pfB4VaoAIC&pg=PA95. Retrieved 25 April 2012.