The “Shroud of Turin” has fascinated Christians for centuries. Some vehemently assert that it contains the image of Jesus Christ somehow “burned” into its fabric, and others say it is a fake. At regular intervals, I am asked about this matter, so I thought I’d post about it as the Bible has a very clear answer regarding whether the image on the Shroud of Turin is Jesus Christ’s image or not.
Two people recently sent to me the first link which reports that modern scientific tests were unable to duplicate the same kind of impression of a human on a piece of fabric as appears on the Shroud of Turin. The second link adds that a “burst of energy” created the image of a human on the fabric of the Shroud of Turin, which some believe was caused when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead.
Let’s assume the “image” on the Shroud of Turin is not a fake. That leaves a totally separate question: Is the image that of Jesus Christ…or someone else? Even if the Shroud’s image of a human was somehow genuinely imprinted on to the fabric, that does not at all prove that the image on the fabric is that of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the third link, from Wikipedia, makes it evident that it is both scientifically and biblically impossible that the image on the Shroud of Turin is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived almost 2000 years ago, but the Wikipedia link cites scientific evidence that Carbon14 dating of the cloth dates the fabric of the Shroud itself to 1260-1390 AD with a 95% degree of confidence. Another scientific testing method, an artistic/historical method, determined that it cannot be older than approximately 1100 AD. By either method, the image appearing on the Shroud of Turin was imprinted into its fabric from 11 to 14 centuries after Jesus died! Based on this evidence, it cannot possibly be the image of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin because the Shroud itself was not manufactured until over a millennium after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Biblically, the evidence that the image on the Shroud of Turn cannot be that of Jesus Christ is even stronger. The third link correctly cites Matthew 27:59-60, Mark 15:46, and Luke 23:53 which all state that Jesus’ body was “wrapped” in linen cloth. “Wrapped” indicates Jesus’ grave coverings were wrapped round and round his body; that his body was not simply covered with a one-piece, body-length, tunic-like cloth as is the Shroud of Turin. Young’s Concordance indicates the Greek word translated “wrapped” means being “to roll up in” or “roll or wrap up in.” In other words, Jesus’ grave clothes were like an extended piece of Ace Bandage-like material in which Jesus’ body was wrapped or wound into as it was covered, and the Bible does not tell us how many pieces of cloth were used to wrap his entire body. However…
John 20:7 is the smoking gun that the shroud of Turin cannot have Jesus’ image on it. That verse says the cloth which covered Jesus’ face was a totally different piece of cloth than the piece (or pieces) of fabric which wrapped Jesus’ body. John 20:7 says Jesus had at least two pieces of linen cloth that covered his dead body and that the “napkin” which covered his face was a totally separate piece of fabric from the wrappings which covered the rest of his body. It states the cloth which had covered his face was found by his disciples in a different place in Jesus’ tomb than the rest of the wrappings which had covered his body so a single piece of cloth (like the Shroud of Turin) cannot possibly be the grave clothing of Jesus Christ. Since the Shroud of Turin is a one-piece fabric covering an entire body, it cannot possibly be the two or more grave wrappings of Jesus Christ mentioned in John 20:7. The third link cites the above biblical points being made by John Calvin, the famous figure of the Protestant Reformation, who firmly believed the Shroud of Turin could not possibly have the image of Jesus on it. John Calvin applied the scriptures correctly. The Shroud of Turin cannot possibly have the image of Jesus Christ on it, based on both scriptural and scientific evidence.
How the image of a human being came to be on the Shroud of Turin is not known to me. What is clearly known is that the image cannot be that of Jesus Christ, and that is enough for me on this subject.