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Wednesday, October 07, 2009


James M. Essig

We live in an age of extreme intellectualism marked by mathematical, logical, and ordered knowledge and necessarilly so as we are now a technologically advanced civilization.

As someone schooled in physics and as a sucessful inventor with about a dozen patents with my name on them, I see the rigors of pure math and logic and ordered speculation as a way, not to deny the existence of GOD, but rather to point to the fact that GOD is bigger than we can ever imagine in the existential and ontological sense commensurate with GOD being HE WHO IS, or Pure Absolute Being in an inexpressibly unlimited sense.

When I think of the Shroud of Turin, I am a little dismayed that many folks view methodological and ordered inquiry as a means to widow away at the Catholic Faith, and more so, to widow away the esteemed place in Western Culture that the notion of a mysteriously incomprehensibly great GOD once had.

Although I am speaking as a private theologian and make the disclaimer that what I express below is not necessarily of the opionion nor belief system of the Catholic Church including the body of teachings within the Ordinary and Supreme Magisterium, the Church's Tradition, and Sacred Scripture validly interpreted by the Church.

Just about every Catholic has heard of the concept of the Holy Trinity, the reality that GOD exists as a Trinity of Divine Persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

We can describe the set of three elements: 1) The Father; 2) The Son; 3) The Holy Spirit

We can see that there exist a set wise lexicographical relationship between: 1) the Person of the Father and Son; 2) The Father and the Holy Spirit; 3) The Son and the Holy Spirit; 4) The set including the Father and the Son and the set including the Holy Spirit; 5) The set including the Father and the Holy Spirit and the set including the Son; 6) The set including the Son and the Holy Spirit and the set including the Father.

Likewise, we can lexicographically denote the relationship between: 1) The set including the Father and the Son and the set including the Father and the Holy Spirit; 2) The set including the Father and the Son and the set including the Son and the Holy Spirit; 3) The set including the Father and the Holy Spirit and the set including the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Likewise we can describe the relationship between: 1) the Holy Triune Godhead and the Father; 2) the Holy Triune Godhead and the Son; 3) the Holy Triune Godhead and the Holy Spirit.

Still Further, we can describe the relationship between: 1) the Holy Triune Godhead and the set of the Father and the Son; 2) the Holy Triune Godhead and the set of the Father and the Holy Spirit; 3) the set of the Holy Triune Godhead and the set of the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Thus far we have a total of 18 defined sets which form a set we will refer to as S1. The number of subsets in this set of 18 sets is equal to 2 EXP 18 according to set theory, of course for strictly definitional purposes. However each such set is related to the other sets simply because they can be defined with respect to their distinctions. We will call this second set of subsets S2.

The number of subsets in S2 is equal to 2 EXP (2 EXP 18) which is an ensemble. We will call this set S3

The number of subsets in S3 is equal to 2 EXP [2 EXP (2 EXP 18)]. We will call this set S4.

The number of subsets in S4 is equal to 2 EXP {2 EXP [2 EXP (2 EXP 18)]}.

and so on. You get the picture.

Thus we can have S5, S6, S7,…,S(Aleph 0), … , S[Aleph(Aleph 0)] in a never ending series.

Note that set theory, Aleph 0 in the number of integers which is infinite. Aleph 1 is the number of real numbers which is greater than the number of integers by a factor of infinity. Heck, even between the integers 0 and 1 there exists an infinite number of real numbers, likewise between 1 and 2, 2 and 3 and so on.

There should accordingly exist values of so-called Cardinality of Aleph 3, Aleph 4, Aleph 5 and so on in a never ending series of ever larger Cardinalities.

I am in no way speaking for the Catholic Church, the Ordinary and Supreme Magisterial Teachings of the Church, the Church Tradition, the Revealed Truths of Sacred Scripture and Approved Apparitions of the Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Angels, and of Our Lord Jesus.

However, I have often wondered is such an eternal inexpressibly unlimited series of ever greater numbers of sets and the logical definitions that distinguish them might correspond to some deep and hidden aspects of GOD for which we have no knowledge of, i.e., which has yet to be revealed to us.

The relations between such sets must be considered real in the abstract sense of logical relations and set theory other wise the sets could not be lexicographically defined. Since everything about GOD is real to the extent that each thing about GOD is Truth, and in GOD there are no non-absolute characteristics, only absolute attributes that are at one with His Nature, Essence, and Existence, these three ontological characteristics being identical to each other for GOD, perhaps the enumeration of such sets points somehow to some yet to be described characteristics of GOD and which accordingly point to the utter immensity of GOD in the ontological, existential, and reality sense of the word.

Ever wonder if GOD might have in his existence or being the actuality of the possibility for math and logic to exist, more especially the possibility of set theory simply because He exists, and that perhaps the above inexpressibly unlimited series of ever greater sets has some kind of incomprehensible reality and being in GOD. Perhaps if GOD was not Triune, then math, logic, and any and all creatures could not exist nor be created by GOD as GOD exist as a Triune GOD.

The reader of this post will likely think I am acid or something, and perhaps I am just having a natural neurotransmitter level surge, but there is a least one renown spiritual writer who at around the turn of the 19 th/20 th centuries expressed his opinion that what we know about GOD as a result of revealed Dogma is just an infinitesimal tip of the ice burg regarding what we will learn about GOD in Heaven as we have all Eternity to commune with, love, and share our friendship with GOD as The TRINITY and GOD, and with and in each of HIS THREE DIVINE PERSONS on person to person level.

I like to quote the name of a popular movie about the theme of the afterlife that was released about 1 decade ago when I think about such things and that is “What Dreams May Come”. My sister Mary gave me the most inspirational advice many years ago as I was going through great personal difficulties with the simple statement “Jim, this life is just a stepping stone in eternity!” I will always remember that phrase regardless of any personal difficulties that I may experience at any point in the future.

Truly, there is room to use reason, informed speculation, and logic as a means of contemplating the mysteriously and ultimately incomprehensibly vast nature of GOD. If we can make statements such that the
Universe may be incomprehensibly vast, how much more so can we make statements about GOD who created it.




Thanks for following up on the suggestion and doing the story. I suspect it won't be reported in the mainstream press. I have been privileged to visit Torino and the church containing "La Sacra Sindone."

Not surprisingly, my Italian cousins who took me there had never visited it before. Oh well, at least I made them go into a church.


What a wise sister!


I believe that the Shroud is true. I think there are many fools who 'say there is no GOD'-- notice that I spell out the name completely. As to the stigmata, I think something odd is occuring when we see some really strange characters possesses it, or rather, the stigmata possesssing them.


To Jim:

Comprehensively stated! It's amazing to me that we can peer into the micro-cosmic world from the smallest of matter to the vastness of the universe and not come to the conclusion that there is indeed a God. The complexities of the relationships of all these entities need to be all aligned in this perfect order for own existence to be true. It is not mathematically probable in a great random assignment of all things for it to be the way that it is. This is the essence of intelligent design theory. I'm reminded of the old movie 'WarGames' at the end of the movie where the computer runs through millions of war simulations each resulting in the same conclusion and can only finally conclude that 'winning' the game is an impossibility. The same is true with 'scientists' each trying to disprove the existence of God. The more they try the more God's mystery is revealed.

One only needs to read Exodus and see the same situation that is occurring with the shroud. The pharaoh’s wise men were capable of reproducing similar miracles that Moses, through God’s Word, produced. But none to the degree to which God was capable of achieving. The “Shroud of Turin” and Garlaschelli’s ‘shroud’, although may appear slightly similar, are not at all the same. One only needs to look a little closer to see the vast details of the “Shroud of Turin” that are not replicated in Garlaschelli’s ‘shroud’. The fact that the blood on the “Shroud of Turin” existed prior to the image, while in Garlaschelli’s ‘shroud’ is added after the fact, because the process used by Garlaschelli would have damaged the blood dna.



You stole my point exactly. Pharoah's men were able to duplicate God's miracles through Moses, but to a lesser degree. Remember, Moses's snake ate the snakes of the wise men. Why should we be surprised that the "wise" men of science would refrain from doing the same...minus the miracles. I wonder if the good scientist's forgeries have the power to heal anyone (as the Shroud), raise anyone from the dead (as Elisha's bones), or convert entire continents to a new religion (as the garment St. Diego). I doubt it. Exact replicas indeed.

Michael Fichera

Check out an excellent rebuttal of Garlaschelli's findings:


I sincerely hope that Christians do not waste their time with this guy. His work is like so many other arguments regarding Christianity, even those among believers.

Faith is just that. Faith. Some of us have been blessed with the gift of faith while others have not. Some will come to believe, like C.S. Lewis. Other will not. Others will lose their faith.

What is most important is that we pay attention to what God is telling us about our personal relationships with him and grow spiritually. Minding the business of atheists can lead to neglect of God and others. In other words, even if the shroud were proven to be true, it would have ZERO impact on the lives of many Christians, or it would take away from what God really wants us to do: love and serve one-another.


Garlaschelli false shroud is laughable, look at his own images, they speak for themselves. The (in)famous "scientific" (scientific?? LOL!) radiocarbon dating is false too, read the Nature's article on and find the incredible (intentional??) computational error that makes the dating completely worthless. Clearly there was a plot.

The most reasonable explanation for the Shroud is that it really wrapped the body of Our Savior before his Resurrection.

mike l

to Jim, great point! it seems to me that God is both infinitely small and infinitely large at the same time. In the bible it states that God fills all space with Himself.


"The most reasonable explanation for the Shroud is that it really wrapped the body of Our Savior before his Resurrection."

yeah, and the moon is made of green cheese, and the most reasonable explanation for global warming is the decline in pirates! PUH-LEEEZE!

fred ablitt

I am a dedicated catholic, I feel impelled to give my testimony because one needs to witness to the truth where and when necessary. In 1981 I was very privileged to have had a vision of our lord Jesus Christ in a historic church that was dedicated to St.Peter and St.Paul, I saw our Lords face, so sad.And the crown of thorns on his head so clear was this vision i could see the string of thorns encircled many times and the thorns so clear as if one would be pricked by them, I was totally awestruck and as you can imagine this vision took me from being a christian with many question marks to a fervent believer, after the vision i went to my mothers home when i went in to her living room i told my mother of my wonderful vision and was overwhelmed to discover that my mother had a copy of the shroud of Turin on her wall.I immediately said to my mother, this is Jesus Christ, this is who i saw actually as he is. It is him. The holy shroud image is that of Jesus Christ, I can't prove it but i would lay my life on this because it is true. I have since 1981 had many other experiences which have also confirmed to me the authenticity of the holy shroud and that it is of our Lord Jesus Christ. One day it will be recognised as true and venerated as the wonderful relic that it is, and i look forward to that day. Yours in Christ ... Fred

Fred Ablitt

in my oppinion ,there is no doubt that the shroud of turin is the same shroud that Joseph of Arimathaea wrapped the body of Jesus as in the gospel of Mark chapter 15 verses 42...46. Pope Benedict xv1 recently in Turin stated himself that the holy shroud of turin is like a photograph,positive and negative, he also said it is a burial cloth which enshrouded the corpse of a crusified man, and corresponds to what the gospels tell us about Jesus. I personaly believe that there is a whole stack of evidence to back up the holy shroud of turins true authentisity , but the real problem is that one still needs to look at the whole situation with the eyes of faith ,through an open mind,which is where most non believers stumble because they then have to accept that the God they dont believe in might actualy exist, which totaly contradicts there views, and puts there non beliefe to the test. In my view the real problem is that when true authentisity is being debated with those who dont believe in the existance of God, they inevitably wont take into consideration anything that might oppose there views, so in reality there is a stalemate, they then base there whole analysis on desisions they have made according to there own human ability to judge which is prone to error, using no more than tests to detemine age, carbon dating which has been proven unreliable, in the tests that have been carried out on the holy shroud of turin, so i ask those scientists lets look at this with an open mind, with a full compleate and unbiased analysis of all the evidence without exeption, then a true and fare conclusion can start to take place, if only for the sake of common sence...YOURS IN CHRIST...FRED...

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