Christmas leads inevitably to Easter in Christian understanding and so it is not surprising that the origins of the Shroud of Turin are back in the news.
ABC News (US) reports, ‘Experts at Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development have concluded in a report that the famed purported burial cloth of Jesus Christ could not have been faked.’
The scientists are not claiming they know the origins of the Shroud’s markings, only that they could not have been medieval forgeries. Instead they report, ‘the marks could only have been made by “a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation.”’
The New Testament written in the first century refers to burial clothes in the empty tomb of Jesus:
‘Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. (John 20:6, 7 NIVUK)’
Further it discusses the presence of angels around the Easter tomb with the appearance of lightning:
‘While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:4, 5 NIVUK)’
If you believe in nothing more than the limited reach of science then you have no place for lightning-like angels, risen Lords or a baby who is God with us. You are also left with, currently, no explanation for the Shroud.
If you are undecided, then this Christmas may be your opportunity to entertain the thought of angels, virgin births and a God who loves you.