Argument #3 for the Resurrection: The Turin Shroud


Active member
Continuing with my list of arguments for the Resurrection (, the third argument is The Turin Shroud.

The Shroud of Turin
apparently comes from Levant region, and is said to depict Jesus and have been created miraculously. Scientists apparently haven't shown how it could naturally or artificially have been made.

The argument's reasoning is that the Turin Shroud was made miraculously, thereby showing that there was a supernatural miracle event associated with Jesus' corpse. One allegation is that radiation, a scorch, or other such activity produced the image on the shroud, suggesting that Jesus' resurrection from the dead was also miraculous and supernatural. His body was emitting such intense heat or light that it produced this image, so His body had a supernatural energy, which is the kind of body that might undergo resurrection. Otherwise, if the shroud was just an accurate image of Jesus' body but not produced miraculously, it would be an important historical and religious object, but not in itself a strong proof of the resurrection. That is, the fact that an image of Jesus existed, like a painting, is not a proof of the Resurrection, but a miraculously produced image on a shroud would be evidence of it because it would show that His deceased body experienced an extreme, miraculous event. Even if the image was produced a day before the Resurrection, it would show that the body had miraculous qualities.

One of the main Counterarguments is that John's gospel said that Jesus was buried with a huge amount of aloes, yet nowhere near such a giant amount of aloes appears to be present in the shroud.

John 19 says:
39. Nicodemus, who had previously come to Jesus at night, also brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40. So they took the body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.
75 pounds is about the weight of a 9 year old child.

Pastor C. Johnson writes:
The amount of myrrh and aloes used in this ritual was a sign of the respect for that individual. It was common to use great quantities of spices for embalming the dead. When Rabbi Gamaliel died around the same time, 80 pounds of spices were used in preparing his body. The same general situation is known regarding the death of Aristobulus. So the hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes mentioned in John 19:39 is generally in line with other highly respected people of the time.
If a single sheet, such as the Shroud of Turin was used as the burial cloth, how could they have applied such a great amount of spices? ... It purports to show both the body and head and face of Jesus. It purports to be a single loose layer of cloth under and over the body... The Shroud of Turin is apparently not as physically rigid as the burial clothes of Jesus had to have been. It is not saturated with great amounts of myrrh and aloes, although it could be argued that such materials may have evaporated over the centuries (but precise chemical analysis should still show their presence...

The Creation Ministries website notes:
myrrh resin is a sticky, gummy substance that would have definitely left traces behind. Not only would it have bound the linen strips together, but it would not have been possible to keep the spice mixture only on the inside of the linen strips. Anyone who has worked with flour, water, and newspaper to make papier-mâché objects knows how messy this process is. Working with the aloe-myrrh concoction would have been much worse. The fact that the Shroud lacks any detectable traces of myrrh, the fact that it is in a nice, flat configuration (not ‘stuck together’ in any way), and the fact that it is a single sheet all point to it not being the burial cloth of Christ.

Antonacci acknowledges the lack of myrrh or aloe in the Shroud (p. 87), claiming that only the inside of the Shroud was examined. But this is specious. Seventy-five pounds were used. There should be abundant evidence for these spices.
I should add here that I have read that traces of the aloes and myrrh have been found, but one would expect much more than traces considering the volume of the aloes used.

To respond to the problem of the missing aloes an Apologetics standpoint, one hypothesis could be that the aloes could be missing due to being fried by the energy that made the image. But the mass of aloes according to John's Gospel is so large that it seems hard to remove the traces of the aloes through heat. It's hard to think that all the oil fried away but the blood stayed and marked the shroud.

A second hypothesis could be that first, the mourners put Jesus in the Turin Shroud, then the shroud miraculously got the image from the body, and then they took off the shroud and put the oils on the body and wrapped the oiled body in a different shroud. Then, the Resurrection occurred miraculously in the second shroud (not the Turin Shroud).

Besides the Aloes problem, a second potential problem is the mystery about the unknown early history of the shroud. In order to explain how the shroud was preserved, one would think that people who either took the shroud from Jesus' body before burial or who found it at the empty tomb kept the Turin Shroud secretly for a few centuries. They didn't mention the miracle in the Bible, maybe because they didn't want to attract attention to the shroud because it could get stolen. It's not until over three centuries later that there are records that we have today about a shroud with an image on it. WIkipedia's article on the "Image of Edessa" says:
The first record of the existence of a physical image in the ancient city of Edessa (now Urfa) was by Evagrius Scholasticus, writing about 593, who reports a portrait of Christ of divine origin (θεότευκτος), which effected the miraculous aid in the defence of Edessa against the Persians in 544.[5] The image was moved to Constantinople in the 10th century. The cloth disappeared when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and is believed by some to have reappeared as a relic in King Louis IX of France's Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
The later legend of the image recounts that because the successors of Abgar reverted to paganism, the bishop placed the miraculous image inside a wall, and setting a burning lamp before the image, he sealed them up behind a tile; that the image was later found again, after a vision, on the very night of the Persian invasion, and that not only had it miraculously reproduced itself on the tile, but the same lamp was still burning before it; further, that the bishop of Edessa used a fire into which oil flowing from the image was poured to destroy the Persians.
Maybe the story about the burning lamp and the tile with the image alludes to the shroud's image being made by burning or scorching as some people theorize today.

A third problem is that if 75 pounds of spices and oils were put on Jesus' body, including His arms, head, and side, it would smear the blood marks on those places on His body, although the marks appear rather clear and precise on the Turin Shroud.

From an Apologetics standpoint, this also seems like a technical issue that a shroud expert could address. eg.: Maybe the image was made, then the shroud was removed, then the aloes were put on the body and a different cloth was put on instead.

My guess:
I haven't made up my mind about the Turin Shroud, but it's common for Protestants to be skeptical about it. Based on the issue of the aloes and myrrh, my guess is that it's a forgery made over a hundred years after Christ's burial and that it was in medieval Edessa (in what is now modern eastern Turkey). It seems like there are alot of technical or detailed issues involving careful analysis, and it's still debated. It looks to me like there are enough historical records of it to say that it is older than the 13th-14th century dating that some modern scholars have given to it.

Gary Mac

Well-known member
Jesus didnt even know God or His heaven He came to him by His Spirit and opened up who He is in him. Matt 3:16. We are no different from the same at all. You cant know Him either until the same comes and happens in you.