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Does it appear to a distant observer that the distance between the earth and the apple is decreasing as they move along their geodesics but only in the time direction , and in reality neither the earth or the apple move through space?
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I bet you can't answer it correctly..
Your statement reveals elementary problems in understanding the notions involved. Motion ''in time only'' depends on the coordinate system used, and would imply in this coordinate system that the spatial distance does not change, which is obviously wrong.
In GR "moving through space" is implied; otherwise the notion of space would be useless. You mistake a "free motion" in space (=along geodesics) for "no motion at all".
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