The Rational Basis for Easter – Part 2

The Image of the Man in the Shroud.  As for the image of the Man in the Shroud, research likewise indicates it is no hoax.  The blood stains are real (type AB) and contain human male DNA.  The man was about 5’ 11” and weighed about 170 pounds.  The Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), a group of scientists who began researching the Shroud in 1978, stated in its report:  “…the actual image was created by a phenomenon (as yet unknown) or a momentous event that caused…a sepia or straw-yellow colored image similar to that of a scorch.”  

Author Frank Tribbe notes in his recent book Portrait of Jesus? that the closest science can come to explaining how the image got there is by comparing the situation to a controlled burst of high-intensity radiation similar to the Hiroshima A-bomb explosion which “printed” images of incinerated people on building walls.  Shroud researcher Prof. Alan Adler of Western Connecticut State College concluded that the Shroud image could have been created only by a form of energy which science cannot name.  Another Shroud researcher, Dr. Ray Rogers, a physical chemist at Los Alamos Laboratory, said during the early stage of his research, “I am forced to conclude that the image was formed by a burst of radiant energy—light if you like.”  In other words, in Rogers’ view at that time, the image is recorded on the cloth as if by a photoflash of brilliant light radiating from the body of the Man in the Shroud.   

In a 2003 report, Rogers changed his position on the image-formation process to a more naturalistic explanation called the Maillard Effect.  The effect derives from the decomposition of a corpse in contact with treated cloth, which can produce color on cloth.  An experiment he conducted yielded results “in good agreement with the Shroud features.”  But such a natural image-formation process, he noted, “would support the hypothesis that the Shroud of Turin had been a real shroud.” He also acknowledged that his experimental observations on the Maillard Effect “do not prove how the image was formed or the ‘authenticity’ of the Shroud.”

Two other pieces of evidence rule out the possibility of medieval hoax.  First, the image on the shroud is a negative.  Only when it was first photographed in the late 19th century was this discovered.  A positive of the Man in the Shroud can be seen only when the negative is printed.  Could a medieval forger have foreseen photography and somehow scorched the cloth so as to affect only the surface fibrils to create a negative image?  It is highly improbable.

Second, just a few years ago scientists, using sophisticated technology, found that the two-dimensional image of the Man in the Shroud could be depicted in three-dimensionality through holography.  The fibers of the linen cloth, they say, are encoded with information about the Man which no one knew about before.  The information can be extracted to produce an image of the Man in lifelike 3-D fullness.  The information which produces the image is distributed holographically in every fibril of the Shroud involved in creating the Man’s image.  It is astounding to see a three-dimensional Man emerge from the two-dimensional image on the Shroud, as shown in the DVD entitled Fabric of Time.

But that is not what is most astounding.  Rather, it is the fact that the Man is seen, in relation to the Shroud, as floating between the top and bottom sections.  He is not resting on the stone slab of the tomb, and thus there is no distortion of the body’s image.  The buttocks and back are free of distortion by gravity pulling the Man’s flesh into a somewhat flattened condition.  The body appears to have been levitating at the moment the image was formed on the Shroud. 

It defies all reason to assume a medieval forger had the knowledge and skill to produce these effects five to six centuries before technology made their discovery possible.

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