The concept of time - causality and change

My question is mainly centered on the idea and theories of time (both philosophical and scientific) and how they relate to classical theist arguments for God’s existence.

Whether considering Feser’s book or traditional Aquinas, it would seem that the b-theory of time at least challenges the application of these arguments… in consideration of reconciling act and potency and causation in general, how does any theory of time fit that isn’t “presentism”?

It is my understanding that the vast majority of b-theorists do not at all deny that change exists, but I’m just struggling to understand exactly how change exists in a b-theory of time if everything is already actual and has “always been” actual.

When it is said that it is more about the “properties” of an object changing, how does that show that potentials are actualized if in a sense everything is already actual? From Pruss below:

“A first answer is that a potential is actualized at a time t provided that its actualization exists at t. Thus, the potential is unactualized at t1 but actualized at a later time t2, because its actualization exists at t2 but not at t1. But, the objector can continue, by eternalism at t1 isn’t it the case that the actualization exists? Yes: but the eternalist distinguishes:

It is true at t1 that B exists.

B exists at t1.

Claim (11), for spatiotemporal objects, means something like this: the three-dimensional spacetime hypersurface corresponding to t = t1 intersects B. Claim (10) means that B exists simpliciter, somewhere in spacetime (assuming it’s a spatiotemporal object). There is no contradiction in saying that the actualization doesn’t exist at t1, even though it is true at t1 that it exists simpliciter.”

How can something exist “ simpliciter” in space time if all time past present future is already actual?

The same sort of difficulty goes for contingency and other arguments, because everything has already “existed” under b theory and is already, ever-actual. I know the retort would be that the universe of which is a 4d block or other relativity theory defined existence is itself a potentiality which makes sense (somewhat but makes the argument pack way less of a punch) but then you get into a difficult problem where you’re essentially conceding the argument to science which is the main goal of classical theism not to do - to presuppose science.

Thanks, sorry if some of this is not all that complicated and it’s just going over my head

He’s making a distinction between the notion that B can be found in existence precisely at t1 and the notion that, at t1, it can be said that B has been known to be in existence. In other words, I can look at a photo of my great-great-great-grandfather and say “today, on January 4, 2020, I know that my great-great-great-grandfather had existence”. That’s a different statement than saying “my great-great-great-grandfather exists on January 4, 2020”.

So, to your question, I can say it because they assert different things.

That depends on your frame of reference.

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That makes sense to me so far, thank you. So then how is actualization of potential realized if at one point something is not “present” but at another point is present? Is that solely dependent on frame of observer reference?

It’s not just dependent upon the observer’s frame of reference, it is the observer’s frame of reference. The observer is the only thing that has potentiality. Everything else is immutable.

But then the question becomes…what is it that actualizes that potential?

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Interesting, so you’re saying that the actualization of potential is moreso what the observer sees and therefore is related to what is occurring in the observer’s mind by way of potentials going to actual? In that case, how would you contend with someone saying that what goes on in the mind doesn’t carry over to reality?

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