The Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ is the “miracle of miracles”. The Faith for the vast majority of Christians is based on the overwhelming testimony of the Apostles, and therefore the Shroud of Turin is no more than an object of special veneration that proves scientificially that which they already know to be true. However, does the Shroud of Turin, once studied deeply and objectively, provide the material evidence for the sceptics of this fundamental truth on which Christianity is based? Is it God’s gift for the incredulous of the world? “Blessed are those who have not seen, but believe”, Jesus says to St Thomas. The Shroud of Turin has become the proof for many doubters who wish to “see” in order to “believe”. “Atheists often ask for evidence for the existence of God. I think the Shroud of Turin is the most convincing evidence available if they want scientific, archeological, historical, physical proof” – (Fr Dwight Longenecker).
In 2015 when the Holy Shroud of Turin was last on public display I happened to be on that side of the Atlantic and made the effort to travel to Italy to venerate the shroud. I have written about it here, and here I have explained how the shroud is the scientific evidence that atheists are always asking for. Here I offer ten questions that non-believers should ask about the shroud.
Of all the mysteries about the Shroud of Turin, the most mysterious is the image itself. In 1978 a team of American researchers were finally given access to the shroud. They ran a whole series of tests covering the range of scientific disciplines. Their analyses found no sign of artificial pigments and they concluded, “The Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist.” What formed the image? The scientists were stumped and admitted that “no combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances” could adequately account for the image.
More recently, Dr Paolo Di Lazzaro and his colleagues at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) experimented for five years, using modern excimer lasers to train short bursts of ultraviolet light on raw linen, in an effort to simulate the image’s coloration.So what formed the image? The best description is that it is an extremely delicate singe marking. Di Lazzaro concedes in an article for National Geographic that every scientific attempt to replicate it in a lab has failed. “Its precise hue is highly unusual, and the color’s penetration into the fabric is extremely thin, less than 0.7 micrometers (0.000028 inches), one-thirtieth the diameter of an individual fiber in a single 200-fiber linen thread.”
They came tantalizingly close to replicating the image’s distinctive color on a few square centimeters of fabric. However, they were unable to match all the physical and chemical characteristics of the shroud image, and reproducing a whole human figure was far beyond them. De Lazzaro explained that the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image of the crucified man “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”
In another article at my main blog today I posit that this was the second Big Bang–that started the world into a new creation cycle.
Barrie Schwortz, member of the 1978 team of scientists who examined the Shroud tells his story,
“The Shroud and the Jew”:
Thanks, Maureen. I’ve seen this fascinating video before. It’s one of best testimonies of someone of standing and integrity who was sceptical at first about the authenticity of the Holy Shroud, but who eventually completely changed his attitude towards the relic after close examination of all the evidence.
Amen! It is a miracle of all miracle!!!
Their analyses found no sign of artificial pigments
Some micro-particles of paint dust do actually exist on the fabric, but whilst it was later determined that these are extremely likely (99% or higher probability) to be from the ambient dust from paintings and frescoes existing where the Shroud was once kept on permanent display, one of the most extreme acts of dishonesty of the group that originally described the Shroud as a “mediaeval fake”, and of the lead scientist in particular (who BTW deliberately falsified at least one other unrelated carbon dating result, later proven to be wrong), was to massively exaggerate the importance of that paint dust to claim that the image on the Shroud was a “painting”, which was deliberate scientific dishonesty.
The most interesting proof that the carbon dating of the Shroud is wrong is from the Sudarium of Oviedo — it has been very strongly established that the Sudarium and the Shroud covered the same individual, and the dating of the Sudarium places it far earlier than the carbon dating results obtained from the Shroud fragments in 1978. The Shroud therefore must at the very least have existed in 570 AD, which is the earliest verifiable date of the Sudarium, and so the 1978 carbon dating result for the Shroud cannot be accurate.
“Scientists believe both cloths touched the same face within hours of each other. A technique known as Polaroid Image Overlay, applied to the frontal stains on the Sudarium produced no less than 70 points of coincidence with the corresponding area on the Shroud. Bloodstain patterns indicate that the Sudarium was placed over the head of the man on the cross before he was taken down from it. It was then removed before the body was placed in the shroud.
The Sudarium was subjected to Carbon 14 dating by a Professor Baima Bollone and the resulting date was the 7th century, but the Professor himself was unable to vouch for the test’s validity. His actual words in his contribution to the First International Congress on the Sudarium of Oviedo were : ‘The result is not easy to interpret due to the well known difficulties of dating textiles and to the conditions under which the sample was kept when it was taken in 1979 until it came to us in 1983.’ A supporting statement from the Conference reads : ‘Textiles left alone in normal atmospheric conditions are prone to becoming highly contaminated…. The Carbon dating should be nothing more than a stimulus to more precise investigation under better conditions.’“