Docetism asserts that Jesus did not have a physical body. Similar to the Gnostic heresy that the material world is evil and God could not come in contact with an evil body because He is perfect, Holy, and infinite.
It is difficult to understand how the proponents of this heresy missed John’s Gospel regarding God becoming human flesh and dwelling among us in Jesus Christ.
It is apparent that John was familiar with Docetism when he wrote:
…every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. ~1 John 4:2-3
John repeats this discourse on the bodily existence of Jesus again:
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. ~2 John 7
The early Christian church named Docetism as heresy by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., as well as the writings of Irenaeus (115-190), Hippolytus (170-235), and Ignatius of Antioch (98/117).