When I was young – I think I was seven or eight – there was a children’s magic show on television called Mister Magic (not to be confused with the rap and hip-hop DJ with the same on-air name). Television in those days was only black and white. If you didn’t have a big rooftop antenna you needed something called rabbit ears which were better anyways because you could fiddle with them.

My brothers and sister and I would gather in front of the TV a few minutes early so as to not to miss the opening magic trick, which was always the same;  a milk bottle slowly morphing into Mister Magic while a disembodied voice counted down from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1.

Shazam! It was done. Mister Magic would then say to us, “Boys and girls, I have to brush off this radiation created when the milk bottle turned into me.” And with that, he would take a small whisk broom out of his hat and brush himself off as glitter filled the air. 

Oh, I loved that trick. But then came the trip to the television studio. Our cub scout pack had been chosen to watch the show in the studio. There we were, in little blue and yellow cub scout uniforms, sitting in the audience, watching the magic. “Don’t talk,”  the man in charge told us. “Clap when I clap and laugh when I laugh.”

And there it was, the milk bottle sitting on a table in front of a television camera. The camera had a big glowing red light bulb on top. And there, too, was the magician on the stage with another camera aimed at him. The cameramen operating the cameras turned some knobs and as they did so, the red light of the camera that was focused on the bottle grew dim while the red bulb on the other camera brightened. On a TV monitor, I could see the effect. It wasn’t magic. It was trickery. That day I stopped believing in magic and miracles and anything remotely not natural. But only for a while. 

This weekend, I was reading Potential Problems with a Cloth Collapse Hypothesis for Image Formation on the Shroud of Turin by Robert Rucker and I encountered these assertions: 

  1. “In all our historical records, the only person suggested that might emit such a burst of radiation from his dead crucified body is Jesus. To solve how such radiation could be emitted, it is usually assumed that this burst of radiation occurred during the body’s disappearance from within the Shroud . . .”
  2. “It is also usually recognized that the body’s disappearance was not an instantaneous event (ΔT = 0.0).” . . . 

And as I read that, I had a flashback to the milk bottle trick: 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1. Thank you for the memory.

It may be that the problem with assertion number one is just a matter of word choice or grammar. I most seriously doubt the historical records (only chapter 20, verses 1-10 of John’s Gospel is cited) can possibly suggest anyone in history who might emit a burst of anything. And why radiation? Assertion number two might be difficult to defend. Both assertions seem goal oriented 2.

Assertion number two is contradicted by the old  Baltimore Catechism #3 which tells us Jesus’ body had “Agility, by which it moves from place to place as rapidly as an angel,” even though St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica tells us that angels going from wherefrom to whereto do so in ΔT = 0.0, but explained in more flowery prose, of course. Absurd? Of course! But less absurd than the assertion unexplained.

Or maybe, I’m thinking; the Resurrection was simply a miracle, free of time and radiation and thus unexplainable by science or history.

In 2002, Ray Rogers had written:

The observations do not prove how the image was formed or the “authenticity” of the Shroud. There could be a nearly infinite number of alternate hypotheses, and the search for new hypotheses should continue.

There was in Rogers’ words, in 2002, a spirit of discovery; there was excitement with every new idea. We were challenged. Now, a mere twenty years later, we seem to be mired in trying to prove that the Resurrection or some part of it is scientifically explainable. Why?

In my next posting, I will try to explain why I think a miracle such as the Resurrection does not involve radiation. Stay tuned.