Why are academics always saying “I have only scratched the surface of this topic…”? Or “I have only sketched the countours of ____?” Other renderings are in titles like: “towards an integrated theology of ____” or “gestures towards _____.” What is the deal with this always moving towards and never arriving in scholarship? It seems like false humility to me. It seems that the author is saying “I can’t possibly know everything there is to know about this subject and so I am just offering a teeny-weeny introductory proposal.” I’d like to see people actually have thoughts and assert them.
How about a title like “The Final Pneumatology” or “The Last Word on Eschatology”? I know it would be brash and wouldn’t hold up, but I think we need a change from scratching the surface and gesturing towards, to results.
“And when the word comes to pass against them, We shall bring forth for them a creature from the earth that will speak to them, because people did not believe in Our messages” (Quran, Sura 27.82).William Chittick writes:
“According to ‘Ali, when the beast appears, “he will carry Solomon’s seal and Moses’ staff. He will place the seal on the face of every believer, leaving the words, ‘This is a believer in truth’; and on the face of every infidel, leaving the words, ‘This is an infidel in truth.’…Then the Beast will raise its head, and everyone from east to west will see it, after the sun has risen from the west. When it lifts its head, repentance will no longer be accepted.” Before the world’s end al-Dajjal will rule for a period, and then be killed by Jesus. The Mahdi, a descendant of the Prophet who “resembles me more than anyone else” and is identified in Shit’ite sources with the twelfth Imam, will also appear at the end of time, and Jesus will pray behind him. According to some hadiths, Jesus will establish a reign of justice; according to others, the Mahdi “will fill the earth with justice and equity as it had been filled with injustice and oppression.” As the final end approaches, “God will send a cold wind from the direction of Syria, and no one who has in his heart as much as a single grain of good shall remain in the earth without being taken.” Then the trumpet will be blown and everyone will perish.
The internet is an amazing thing. Check this out: the official web site of the Ayatollah Khamenei.
What does Jesus mean when he says “go your way and sin no more”? I think I have heard it explained as “don’t commit the same sins” or “don’t persist in a life of sin” but does that do justice to what he says?