Next the sun is said to be, “like a strong man [who] runs its course with joy.” Attribution of emotions to the sun reminds us that we are still firmly in the realm of metaphor. The image of a vigorous and swiftly running strong man indicates again that the poet is speaking of the daylight hours, of a swift passage that has a beginning and an end – sunrise and sunset. It hopefully goes without saying that the sun does not literally have a tent in the sky, does not literally run, does not literally rejoice. And the metaphorical language continues.
Let me highlight:
It hopefully goes without saying that the sun ... does not literally rejoice.
So, shall we suppose, if the sun was as dead as a doornail, David Palm would be more pleased? He said hopefully, after all!
I do not know if the real text is God making a tent FOR the Sun or God making His tent ON the Sun, but I have no problem at all taking both the running and the rejoicing literally. And presumable, somewhere somewhen we might find out the tent was literal too in some way we didn't know.
Saint Francis would certainly have taken it literally or very nearly:
Laudato sie, mi' Signore, cum tucte le tue creature,
spetialmente messor lo frate sole,
lo qual'è iorno, et allumini noi per lui.
Et ellu è bellu e radiante cum grande splendore:
de te, Altissimo, porta significatione.
And if his "spiritual nephew" St Thomas Aquinas had been asked about its literal truth, he would have said sth like the following:
I distinguish: for the word "sun" is used both about the visible material celestial body as such and about the angel who carries it about, (or whatever else is cause of its movement, daily and yearly, but probably God gives most of teh daily movement and an angel modifies it by the yearly, as we have explained elsewhere). Now, as to the material body we can reasonably be sure it can neither run of itself, nor rejoice, nor be compared to a strong man. On the other hand, it is fittingly said by Blessed Francesco to be "bellu e radiante cum grande splendore" in the literal meaning of these words. However, considering its mass, whatever angel carries it, must be so strong that the strongest men are weak, and it certainly runs if we consider how high it is and hence what distances it lays behind Eastward, in relation to the Prime Mobile, which in its turn is going even faster Westward, but that is done by God. Also, the angel is above the moon and hence cannot be a demon, it is therefore a blessed angel and therefore very certainly rejoices, for the glory of God and for contributing to it to our gross eyes, for himself as being saved with Michael and not lost with Satan, for us who, partly thanks to his action, can live the lives we need to live in order to serve God and in order to get to the eternal glory with God. Which is why Blessed Francesco called him "messor lo frate sole", "messor" for reverence of angelic dignity and "frate" because he is fraternally minded to all who are making their salvation or who maybe will be making it by a future conversion. But as to "the tent", diverse authors have explained this diversely ...
David Palm however seems to prefer a petrified sun. Athenians killed Socrates, ergo Socrates is great. If Athenians then accused Anaxagoras of crime, Anaxagoras must have been great too.
But what author of any sect is so approved in this demon-worshipping city, that the rest who have differed from or opposed him in opinion have been disapproved? The Epicureans asserted that human affairs were not under the providence of the gods; and the Stoics, holding the opposite opinion, agreed that they were ruled and defended by favorable and tutelary gods. Yet were not both sects famous among the Athenians? I wonder, then, why Anaxagoras was accused of a crime for saying that the sun was a burning stone, and denying that it was a god at all; while in the same city Epicurus flourished gloriously and lived securely, although he not only did not believe that the sun or any star was a god, but contended that neither Jupiter nor any of the gods dwelt in the world at all, so that the prayers and supplications of men might reach them! Were not both Aristippus and Antisthenes there, two noble philosophers and both Socratic? Yet they placed the chief end of life within bounds so diverse and contradictory, that the first made the delight of the body the chief good, while the other asserted that man was made happy mainly by the virtue of the mind.
And if the "great" Anaxagoras was accused for crime precisely for teaching "that the sun was a burning stone, and denying that it was a god at all", it is of course the duty of any Christian to teach "that the sun is a burning gas ball, and deny that it is an angel at all"? Since when?
I have elsewhere also concluded that Pius VII giving respectability to Heliocentrism (but without dogmatising it!) was caught, not in an intrigue by such and such a courtier like Olivieri or like the future Pope Gregorio XVI, but simply in an atmosphere, where the explanation which was commonplace to Riccioli had become awkward to repeat - because of the materialism which had meanwhile pervaded physics. Instead of superior angels ruling inferior bodies, superior and inferior are all in the bodily ...
Prima Pars : Question 110. How angels act on bodies
Article 1. Whether the corporeal creature is governed by the angels?
Objection 2. Further, the lowest things are ruled by the superior. But some corporeal things are inferior, and others are superior. Therefore they need not be governed by the angels.
[In other words, physical effects are caused by physical causes only, as far as thinkable. Not as far as applicable of a set application, but in the theory itself, as far as thinkable.]
Reply to Objection 2. The reason alleged is according to the opinion of Aristotle who laid down (Metaph. xi, 8) that the heavenly bodies are moved by spiritual substances; the number of which he endeavored to assign according to the number of motions apparent in the heavenly bodies. But he did not say that there were any spiritual substances with immediate rule over the inferior bodies, except perhaps human souls; and this was because he did not consider that any operations were exercised in the inferior bodies except the natural ones for which the movement of the heavenly bodies sufficed. But because we assert that many things are done in the inferior bodies besides the natural corporeal actions, for which the movements of the heavenly bodies are not sufficient; therefore in our opinion we must assert that the angels possess an immediate presidency not only over the heavenly bodies, but also over the inferior bodies.
[This materialist physics is therefore a relapse, if not in detail at least in spirit, to the astrological determinism of Aristotle, which astrological determinism St Thomas, reputed "Aristotelian", did not share.]
In order for Pius VII to have had courage to oppose Heliocentrism, he would have had to have courage to insist that concretely, the details of the physical world are on some level taken care of by spirits. And that courage he did not have. And neither David Palm (obviously) nor Robert Sungenis (more surprisingly) have that courage either. As far as I have seen so far.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Sts Perpetua and Felicitas
Links if not fully spelled out in text above:
test d'italien n°59699: Cantique des créatures (Le)
hanslundahl - Neglected Angelology in the Angelic Doctor
[A little anthology of Thomasic quotes, by me, some of which quotes related to this question, some of which to nephelim question.]
City of God : Book 18
[For quote, scroll down to chapter 41]