April 15, 2004
The shroud of Turin could be genuine ....
A new controversy has broken out over the famous shroud of Turin. New research has cast doubt on the Carbon Dating results due to the presence of soot from a 14th Century fire and the repairs done at that time. Apparently there is quite a bit of 14th Century dust, dirt, and "fluff" embedded in the shroud from that period. A textile expert has come out in favour of its authenticity because of the pattern of its weave, which was a unique one used for high quality cloth at that time. This is also supported by a number of new scientific studies done into some of the other aspects of the shroud.
The story on the BBC news webpage is worth reading in full.
As the comments below that story indicate, opinion is divided between those who wish to see the shroud discredited and those who want it to be genuine. Those who are uncomforatble about the fact that it may be genuine are, in my opinion, afraid of having to reassess their denial of the existence of God. A genuine shroud would prove the fact that the resurrection was not some "sleight of hand" trick perpetrated by the disciples and raises some very difficult questions about the nature of God, the nature of our "spiritual" being, and precisely how Jesus rose from the grave - or more correctly - what manner of being rose on that day.
The facts as we have them are these:
1. The tomb was found to be empty on the First Day of the Week (Sunday in our calendar),
2. The stone, a very heavy one, had been rolled aside, and the guards posted had run away or been rendered unconscious, although apparently not by any human agency,
3. The grave clothes were left in situ, only a single clothe which had been wrapped around the head of the body was displaced,
4. Matthew's account tells us that the terrified guards reported to their Masters what had actually scared them and had been paid to say it was the work of the disciples,
5. The living Christ was seen by a fairly large number of people across both Jerusalem, Emmaus, Galilee, and other places - but not recognised until he approached them with some familiar gesture,
6. Several witnesses report seeing "angels" at the tomb, all described as "beings of light" with faces like lightning - hardly a description of a human.
The shroud displays a negative image, and the recent discovery of a second "negative" image raises even more questions about its origins. More importantly, it raises a whole new set of questions about why it would have been created in this manner in the first place if it were a forgery. The problem with the forgery theory is that no one is able to explain the way it was produced, and even more difficult is the question of who did it and why? If this had been created by a truly incredible artist, what was his (or her!) model and what was the motivation? Why have we not seen or found any other evidence of this sort of work? Why just this one incredible piece?
To those who would argue that the Bible speaks of "bandages" used to wrap the body, I would offer this advice, re-read those passages in the original Greek. Bandage is an English translation of the Greek words and does not reflect the practice of burial preparation in the first Century at all. Now to the image. This is the most intriguing part, as it shows the wounds in the wrists - not the hands, which a 14th Century artist would have been much more likely to depict. The only other "negative" images of a comparable sort were those observed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the A-bomb blasts that burned negative images of the victims into concrete and brick. Yet, if that is how the body was removed and these images created, how did the fabric survive the incredible temperatures needed to achieve this effect.
The obvious explanation creates a great difficulty for us all - believers and non-believers alike. It suggests that Christ's body was converted, in the tomb, into pure energy, passing through the clothe on its way to a new existence in a different form. Does this mean that the resurrection didn't happen? Of course it doesn't; it simply means we may have to re-examine very carefully our understanding of the meaning of life, and particularly what life really is, what our "true" being really is.
What do I believe? I will stick my neck out - and admit that I believe the Shroud could be the genuine article. And now I had better start to think carefully about who I am, what I am, and what lies ahead. The resurrection happened. Of that I am in no doubt. How it happened, and what manner of being walked forth from the tomb, I may be a little less sure of now, but I do believe that it holds out the most incredible promise of an existence far beyond anything I can currently imagine - and not bound or confined by the physical (and aging!) reality that is our current existence.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed - and with Him our hopes of the life everlasting.
Posted by The Gray Monk at April 15, 2004 08:41 AM
Thanks for posting that. I am going straight over to check out the BBC article. Will be a lot more interesting than reading about the "peace" offer from the terrorist lunatics.
Posted by: Ozguru at April 15, 2004 12:49 PM
Ahhh. You have some lunatics in the UK too I see....
Speaking of strange politicians, I am thinking of starting a citizen's referendum (which we don't have yet) about implementing the Pterry solution for Australian politicians? Whaddya reckon?
Posted by: Ozguru at April 16, 2004 12:11 PM