Tim Carvell
October 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What Is This? God telling Noah to bring animals into the ark (Genesis, 7:1-2), one of many Bible verses Brendan Powell Smith has depicted in Lego for THE BRICK TESTAMENT. Um, Why Legos? Smith, 30, earned enough cash as a dotcom-era Web designer to stockpile thousands of the tiny plastic bricks in his Mountain View, Calif., apartment. ”I wanted a project that would justify having that much Lego,” he says. Is This Some Sort of a Joke? Yes and no. Smith, an atheist, says he originally wanted to show the sex and violence left out of most illustrated Bibles. (To see how explicit Smith gets, go to thebricktestament.com.) But his dioramas, which each take about a week to complete, have won over a diverse set of followers: ”Atheists will write in and say, ‘Wow, you’ve really pointed out how ridiculous these stories are,’ and on the same day I’ll get a note from a minister saying, ‘Can I use these to teach my Sunday-school class?’ I’m happy with both reactions.”

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