Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 94, 2020

The Good, the True, the Beautiful: Through and of the Ages

Christopher V. Mirus
Pages 193-203

Time, Eternity, Relativity, and History

What picture of reality emerges from the attempt to hold together the following three claims? (1) For temporal beings only the present, not the past or the future, exists. (2) For God, all times are present. (3) For temporal beings, what counts as present varies from individual to individual, as described in the theory of relativity. These claims jointly suggest that reality is always reality for—for God, or for this or that creature. This is neither relativism nor anti-metaphysical phenomenology; instead, it looks more like a modest but insistent development of the Thomistic doctrine of participation in being. Being is not a neutral and amorphous glop spread out before just any observer; rather, it belongs to and is measured by particular beings. Created being as a whole belongs to God (and, eventually, to the saints in God), whereas the share in being assigned to any creature is limited.