RE: Botanist: Shroud of Turin came from Jerusalem

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Fri, 6 Aug 1999 22:40:20 -0400

As someone from the Calvinist "camp," my feelings towards such things as the
Turin Shroud are similar to those expressed by Janet Rice. However, I'm not
sure I would go as far as Joel's comment about the significance of a pair of
shoes (sandals, Joel?) that Jesus might have worn. I might attach a bit more
significance than to those of my daughter, most of which by now have been
discarded. After all, a lot of Christians, many of them Protestants, spend
their hard earned dollars to "walk where Jesus walked." No, I haven't done
so and have no intention of doing so either.

There is, however, a bit of difference in how we relate to these relics.
We may see them as a curiosity, maybe rate them as Michelin rates
interesting views or restaurants ("well worth a detour," "worth a special
trip," etc.). They may also be seen as having magic powers, note the
various alleged body pieces of the apostles and disciples and bits and
pieces of the cross that reportedly have made their way into Christendom.
To others, yet, they may provide proof of the authenticity of the Bible
(Noah's ark).

I am very uncomfortable with the attention devoted to these relics, the
Shroud of Turin in particular, but I'm not sure what this discomfort is
based on. The attention is more than just to find out how old this piece of
cloth is, but I suspect that there is more to it than that. As I mentioned
in my earlier post, there is one group that really would want it to be "THE"
burial cloth (presumably because it will "prove" that Jesus was buried -
although it does nothing to support the Resurrection, one of the more
fundamental tenets of Christianity), while there are others who hope it is
not because it might force them to reassess their beliefs. Then there is
the "vested interest," the owners of the Shroud, who may be able to profit
financially from an authenticated relic.

There is more to my discomfort. Suppose it is determined, beyond reasonable
doubt, that this piece of cloth is indeed the burial cloth in which our
Saviour was buried. Then what? What about those "blood stains?" They are
reportedly AB-type blood. Does this mean Jesus had AB-type blood? Suppose
we now determine (don't ask me how) that this was indeed the blood of Jesus.
Now what? Can we determine the DNA in the blood? The chromosomes? What
will this tell us about the virgin birth? Will it strengthen our faith?

I don't doubt for a minute that there are scientists who have nothing more
in mind than a scientific investigation. However, with our inherent bias,
it is not so certain that these investigations will lead us towards Christ
or away from Him. This is not to say that I prefer to be ignorant; not at
all! I do admit, though, that my faith is not as strong as I'd like it to
be and that all of us are prone to temptation.

Chuck Vandergraaf
Pinawa, MB