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Excellent analogy, Josh!
This reminds me of a story, also about a child by the shore, and how – in our apologetic work – no individual life brought to salvation and God’s love is a life too insignificant.
A man once saw a young boy reaching down to the shore, picking up starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.
As the man got closer, he called out, “Good morning young man, what are you doing? The young boy looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.”
“Why are you throwing starfish back into the ocean?”
“The sun is coming up and the tide is going out. If I do not throw them back into the water, they will die.”
“But young man, do you not realise that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference!”
The young boy listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves.
Then he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
I find the older I get, the more I’m confronted with a vast ocean of things I don’t know. I think the compartmentalization of scientific and medical knowledge is evidence that the same is true of mankind in general. And while science does answer questions, it also makes a lot of new ones. And in the end, we’re left staring at what we don’t know, like: What is space? What is gravity? What is light?
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