RE: Botanist: Shroud of Turin came from Jerusalem

Joel Duff (
Fri, 6 Aug 1999 18:04:47 -0500

>As a lurker, I would like to gently ask a question about the Shroud and
>relics in general. The Protestant tradition, or at least the Presbyterian
>Church, to which I belong, does not seem have the same ideas on the
>importance of relics as does the Catholic Church. If anything, I see, what
>might be an "anti-relic" sort of bias from the time of the Reformation.
>That being the case, for those of us who are not from the Catholic
>tradition, does the authenticity of something like the Shroud of Turn have
>any relevance to us? Not that the science isn't interesting, but unless we
>accept the importance of relics as objects of veneration, then does it
>matter one way or another.
>Janet Rice


Your right, we have a mixed audience on this list and an issue like this
may very well bring out some very different perspectives. I've been
thinking the same thing and will admit to having a bit of "anti-relic" bias
as might have been obvious from my last post. I tend to be skeptical of
all claims of finding the ark, the buriel shroud, the ark of the covenant
etc.. because I don't see them as items that God would have intentially had
preserved (as he has his Word) in some way or even wanted them to be
preserved. If I had a pair of shoes that Jesus wore I really woundn't see
much more significance in them than the ones that my daughter wears. They
might be a nice curiosity but my faith in who Christ is, is neither
diminished nor enhanced by these objects. Some will argue that if we had
something that we could verify was really from the time of Christ and that
that object "proved" that he walked on this earth that it would present a
tremendous apologetic tool but I am skeptical that this would truly occur.
The same people who believe every vision someone else has had would believe
but would this truly turn the hardened heart to Christ. I think only his
Word has that power. Look at the miracles that Christ did and yet people
did not believe even when they saw them with their own eyes. Essentially
the miracles God performed are a sign of the beginning of the new covenant
(a pattern seen throughout the Bible) and are given to us today as a
testament of his authority as the Son of God and had a theological message.
They were used less so as a "wow" tool to convert the masses of his day.
Would a miracle today achieve any more? What would constitute undeniable
proof that these objects were real (and if they were real what would that
mean really) when evidence really doesnt' persuade! I say that because in
the whole age of the earth debate both sides claim undeniable proof and yet
how many people are persuaded. How many converts have the YECs made that
weren't already presuppositionally in the same camp (ie. accepted a young
earth before they heard the evidence).

Ok, those are some of my thoughts, hope I haven't offended anyone. I
really don't have a big problem with the shroud being authentic, I just
don't care. I won't say that it can't be but I will continue to believe
that it is unlikely that it is what it is claimed to be.

Joel Duff

Asst. Professor, Dept. of Biology
The University of Akron
Akron, OH 44333

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