Gerry Soliman of Solutions Finder Apologetics, also a moderator or the Bereans Apologetics Research Ministry, published an article in his blog pointing to a contradiction between Rev. Fr. Abraham P. Arganiosa, CRS and myself regarding the identity of the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary is literal or not.
Mr. Soliman capitalized on Fr. Abe’s statement that the woman in Revelation 12:1 is Mary literally and juxtaposed it to my statement that we don’t take Revelation 12:2 literally. He then concluded that there was a contradiction.
In an article, I pointed to Gerry Soliman that there was no contradiction at all because Fr. Arganiosa and I were discussing different issues. Fr. Arganiosa’s statement which Mr. Soliman cited addressed the question of who is the woman of Revelation 12 (verse 1, to be exact). My statement on the other hand is focused on the interpretation of “birth pains” in Revelation 12 verse 2. Everyone can read my articles below and check the links on Gerry Soliman’s blog.
Immediately after my article was posted, Mr. Gerry Soliman took issue with the part on the canon of scripture and promised to prepare a “counter-argument” on my article over the weekend. I was of course looking forward to Gerry Soliman’s article.
I was sorely disappointed by Gerry Soliman’s answer. As a Christian, I expected him to own up to his mistake and apologize for something wrong. Instead, Mr. Soliman conveniently skirted the main issue and proceeded to delve on other points.
I understand a person’s need to save one’s face and dignity. But admitting that one committed a mistake and apologizing for it would not make anyone a lesser person. Christianity does not think that way.
Despite the animosity between us, I believe that Gerry Soliman is capable of recognizing his mistake and apologizing for it. Rodimus did that. And we were deeply humbled by that truly magnanimous gesture.
I will respond to the points raised by Mr. Gerry Soliman, but I wish to focus first on this issue to that we will not be sidetracked from the real score.
The issue is: Did Fr. Abraham Arganiosa and I contradict each other based on our statements that Mr. Soliman quoted in his blog?
That issue was squarely raised in my previous articles. Although this issue stared at Mr. Soliman in the face, he cavalierly ignored it. Indeed, Mr. Soliman skirted it and went at great lengths to evade it.
This may be unsolicited, but let’s help Gerry Soliman appreciate the issue. I hope he will be open-minded and Christian enough to see his mistake. And we are Christian enough to accept an apology.
Mr. Soliman quoted precisely these words from Fr. Arganiosa:
“I DIDN’T SAY THAT ‘THE WOMAN CLOTHE WITH THE SUN’ SOMETIMES REFERS TO MARY. IT REFERS TO MARY LITERALLY ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOTHER OF THE KING OF ALL NATIONS.” (emphasis added)
And then he quoted me:
“To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally. I hold Mr. Soliman’s word that he does not interpret Revelation 12:2 literally. And so do we.” (emphasis added)
What was Mr. Soliman’s conclusion? A contradiction! What was his basis? Tunog system! Because Father Arganiosa’s statement said that the woman clothed with the sun refers to Mary literally and my statement mentioned that we don’t interpret it (Rev. 12:2) literally, there must be a contradiction, right? WRONG!
I already explained how Fr. Arganiosa and I were taken out of context. The specific statements Gerry Soliman quoted from us were discussing two (2) different issues. Fr. Abe’s statement was concerned about the identity of the woman in Revelation 12:1. My statement was concerned about the interpretation of “birth pains” in Revelation 12:2. I accused Mr. Soliman of “intellectual dishonesty” because he knew fully well that my statement was discussing “birth pains” because I was responding to the very question that he asked me.
More than that, I would like to believe that as a “Bible Christian,” Mr. Soliman knows his Bible very well.
He knows that the expression “woman clothed with the sun” (which Fr. Arganiosa was identifying in the statement quoted from him by Gerry Soliman) is found in verse 1 of chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation:
“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Rev. 12:1, NIV).
On the other hand, the verse I was specifically commenting on is verse 2, chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation:
“She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth” (Rev. 12:2, NIV).
And what did I say regarding that? Mr. Soliman quoted it, thus:
“To answer Mr. Soliman, verse 2 of Revelation 12 does not in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Because, just like Mr. Soliman, we don’t interpret it literally. I hold Mr. Soliman’s word that he does not interpret Revelation 12:2 literally. And so do we.”
Notice my dear readers that in the quoted statement of Mr. Soliman, I categorically stated NOT JUST ONCE BUT TWICE that what I don’t take literally is verse 2 of Revelation chapter 12. And what was that about? The “birth pains” of the woman. I was not concerned in that statement, as Fr. Arganiosa was in his, about the identity of the “woman clothed with the sun.”
Gerry Soliman did not deny that I was responding to his query on the “birth pains” in Rev. 12:2. In fact, in his answer, he categorically admitted:
“I asked him if the birth pains in verse two would in any way affect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception since God punished Eve with increased birth pains due to sin. For those who don’t know the issue yet, Revelations 12 is quoted by Roman Catholic apologists to support, among others, the Marian doctrines of her Assumption and Coronation. The problem with the chapter is on verse two where the woman is found to be in labor pains while giving birth to a child.” (http://solutions-finder.blogspot.com/2011/01/woman-of-revelations-12-responding-to.html)
Gerry, Gerry, you knew all along that I was referring to birth pains in Revelation 12:2. Yet, why did you say that I contradicted Fr. Arganiosa’s statement (the one that you quoted) which was responding to a different question on the identity of the “woman clothed with the sun”? (cf. Rev. 12:1). Despite that knowledge that I was referring to birth pains in Rev. 12:2, why did you, Gerry, made an article on how, as you yourself said I “contradicted with a fellow apologist, Fr. Abe Arganiosa whether the woman is literal or symbolical.” I would like to hear from you about this.
I appreciate Mr. Soliman’s other arguments and will gladly respond to them only after my good friend Gerry will face this issue squarely.