Ray Downing and John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who runs the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado (photo courtesy History Channel)

“People are not going to forget the face of Jesus this Easter,” says Ray Downing, creator of the 3D computer technology that produced the “real face of Jesus” from the image of the crucified man in the Shroud of Turin.

The image was seen in a highly watched History Channel special broadcast Tuesday. The program will be replayed Saturday night and Easter Sunday afternoon.

“Jesus was more than just a spiritual event,” Downing said. “Studying the Shroud to produce the 3D face of Jesus, we encountered scientific evidence that the resurrection was a real physical event that happened in a moment of time 2,000 years ago.”

In the two-hour documentary, Downing brought together science and religion by using cutting-edge computer technology to create a life-like image from the Shroud of Turin of the man millions have believed for centuries to be Jesus Christ.

Be one of the first to get No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Jerome Corsi’s stunning new novel of faith and reason centering on the Shroud of Turin – titled “THE SHROUD CODEX” – scheduled for release April 13.

The History Channel told WND the documentary was viewed by more than 2.2 million people, an 83 percent increase for the Tuesday 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time slot in which the documentary was first aired this week.

“The Shroud of Turin provides actual scientific proof that Jesus rose from the dead,” Downing contended.

He said the shroud is encoded with a message undecipherable until the most recent advances of modern particle physics.

Computer graphics artists use Shroud of Turin images to create 3-D figure of crucified man (photo courtesy History Channel)

“Properly understood, the code contained in the Shroud of Turin records the moment of the resurrection,” he said.

“Viewed through the lens of science, the Shroud of Turin contains a code that when deciphered provides actual, physical evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was an actual, historical event.”

WND asked the History Channel if the documentary met their expectations.

“History Channel is doing what we feel we do best,” explained spokeswoman Vicky Kahn. “We took an element of history that people may have thought was fully explored and then we delved even further.

“We found ‘The Real Face’ to be incredibly awe-inspiring, taking an ancient relic and pulling out information long buried inside.”

Profile of shroud image (photo courtesy History Channel)

The History Channel worked with Downing of Studio Macbeth to reveal the image embedded in the linen fibers of the shroud. They turned the faint, negative-like, brownish-red image into what may be the most accurate depiction ever made of the face of Jesus Christ.

In a previous collaboration with the History Channel, Downing brought Abraham Lincoln back to life in a special entitled “Stealing Lincoln’s Body.”

To “reconstruct the real Lincoln,” Downing worked from life masks made of the 16th president while he was alive, as well as more than 100 photographs.

In recreating the face of Christ, Downing was confronted with a greater challenge, as the Shroud of Turin contains a faint image of a crucified man.

Moreover, the complex herringbone weave of the shroud’s linen makes extracting the real image of the face and the body difficult. The process is compounded by the fact that the shroud’s linen contains actual human blood, centuries of dirt, burn holes and water stains from a fire in 1532, and numerous other distortions.

“The presence of 3D information encoded in a 2D image is quite unexpected as well as unique,” Downing said. “It is as if there is an instruction set inside a picture for building a sculpture.”

For Downing, the Shroud of Turin contains two intertwined stories.

“There is the story of the shroud which, artistically and scientifically, is the story of a transition from two dimensional to three dimensional,” he explained. “But there is as well the story of the man in the shroud and a record of his transformation from death back to life.”

The History Channel’s Kahn called “The Face of Jesus” “quintessential history.”

“It fully met and exceeded our goals,” she said.

Image from Shroud of Turin (photo courtesy History Channel)

Kahn said the History Channel has had an overwhelming response, not just from viewers, but from major media outlets around the world, including from Brazil, Hong Kong and Australia.

Khan affirmed the History Channel looks forward to working with Downing in the future.

“This has hit a chord,” Kahn said. “People are fascinated by this story.”

Downing made national television appearances on the Fox News Channel, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and MSNBC. International coverage included reports from the United Kingdom, Australia and India.

The History Channel will replay “The Real Face of Jesus?” documentary Saturday, April 3, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. It will be broadcast again Easter Sunday at 5 p.m. Eastern.

A DVD of “The Real Face of Jesus?” documentary is available for purchase on the History Channel website.

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