Re: Botanist: Shroud of Turin came from Jerusalem

Tom Pearson (
Sat, 07 Aug 1999 12:13:26 -0500

Like the Shroud of Turin itself, I find this discussion to be far more
fascinating than any Lutheran (which I am) properly should. Nonetheless,
what is fundamentally so engaging about this topic is the
faith/reason/scientific inquiry nexus. Why should the claims made for the
Shroud of Turin as the authentic burial shroud of Jesus be seen as
inimical, or irrelevant, to Christian faith? It seems to me that the same
response could be tendered to those who are concerned to demonstrate the
validity of claims about God-as-Creator, whether they be YEC, OEC, TE, ID
theorists, or otherwise. Why should we not view those Christians who are
drawn to questions about God-as-Creator as simply misguided and
superstitious? To put it another way: Why should skepticism regarding the
Shroud be treated any differently from skepticism about Genesis? Are they
not both objects of faith? Or are they both objects suitable for rational
and scientific analysis? If God could bestow on us the gift of his
authoritative presence by means of a written text, could he not also bestow
on us the gift of his authoritative presence via an artifact such as the
Shroud? What's the basis for the tacit acceptance of the former, and the
tacit suspicion of the latter? I don't understand why Genesis, with its
portrayal of God-as-Creator, is to be seen as a legitimate object of
devotion, while the Shroud as a possible historic testimony to
God-as-Redeemer, is to be seen as less legitimate. What's going on here?
I have one other question, this for George Murphy.

At 09:37 AM 08/07/1999 -0400, George Murphy wrote:

> All interesting questions but in order for people to take any of the actions
>you speculate about they would have to ignore a basic aspect of
Christianity. While
>Jesus had a very specific biological identity - male Homo sapiens, Jewish,
&c - what
>the Word assumed in the Incarnation was not an individual human person
(for the person
>of Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity) but human nature in general.
Because of
>this, there is a proper sense in which all humanity is included in him &
his saving
>work, & thus that all human beings can be saved through him. The idea
that only type
>AB people could be saved would precisely parallel the idea that only Jews
or males
>could be saved.

I'm puzzled, George, by the distinction you draw between the "very
specific biological identity" of Jesus, and his assumption of "human nature
in general." This sounds like it may lead to some sort of bifurcation of
Jesus' humanity (as in: Jesus' humanity was one thing specifically, but
another thing generally). My first reaction on reading this was a sense
that this would wreak havoc with orthodox Christology. But my second
reaction was that I might be misunderstanding your intent here. Can you
say more about this? Thanks.

Tom Pearson

Thomas D. Pearson
Department of History & Philosophy
The University of Texas-Pan American
Edinburg, Texas