A man on a dock gets ready for a swim in the ocean in Todd Gieg's diorama of 1895 Lynn, Massachusetts. (AP)

A man on a dock gets ready for a swim in the ocean in Todd Gieg's diorama of 1895 Lynn, Massachusetts. (AP)

Model craftsman Todd Gieg makes this gritty dock scene look almost real. (T. Gieg)

Model craftsman Todd Gieg makes this gritty dock scene look almost real. (T. Gieg)

The Narrow Gauge Railroad, which started in Lynn, fascinated Mr. Gieg. He couldn’t resist recreating it in miniature. (T. Gieg)

The Narrow Gauge Railroad, which started in Lynn, fascinated Mr. Gieg. He couldn’t resist recreating it in miniature. (T. Gieg)

In 1895, the corner of Market and Broad Street was at the edge of the city’s busy waterfront. (T. Gieg)

In 1895, the corner of Market and Broad Street was at the edge of the city’s busy waterfront. (T. Gieg)

Todd Gieg is surrounded by the glues, paints, brushes, knives, and myriad other tools and materials of the model-making craft. (T. Gieg)

Todd Gieg is surrounded by the glues, paints, brushes, knives, and myriad other tools and materials of the model-making craft. (T. Gieg)

Mr. Gieg pays attention to every detail, color, and texture. (T. Gieg)

Mr. Gieg pays attention to every detail, color, and texture. (T. Gieg)

Creating after the Creator

Posted: December 31, 2018

Think about how God created the world. He spoke. The Sun and Moon and animals and seas just appeared. Todd Gieg is creating a small “world” of his own. But he can’t speak it into existence. He must work hard for a very long time. He thinks his project will take several more years to finish!

“I have been successful at this because it is pleasurable,” Mr. Gieg says. God took pleasure in His creation too. He called it “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) It is right and good to use God-given creativity and intelligence to build, teach, and delight. But it’s important that we remember every good thing we use to create—our own brains included!—is a gift from God.

Mr. Gieg studies old maps, books, and photographs. He interviews folks who rode the railroad as children. Many of the model’s structures, ships, and trains are assembled from kits. But Mr. Gieg “scratch built” almost a third of the buildings. For those, he used only research and makeshift materials. Mr. Gieg mixes paints. He carves fence posts. He strings wires. He constructs warehouses. Mr. Gieg experiments with coloring and texture until he makes real-looking “water.” Jars hold grainy mixtures for “fine turf green” and “coarse turf.” He uses these to create grass.

Over several years, Mr. Gieg has made more than 50 models for his project. He builds small boats, coal barges, and rows of buildings lining Market Street. Imagine making each board, tree, fence post, brick, and rail of a 40-foot model by hand! Then think of what a tiny part of the world Mr. Gieg is copying! He is also creating from just one time period—just a sliver in the long stretch of history since God created the world. And he is not creating from nothing like God did. God the Creator planned the details of every cell in the universe and spoke them into being—not a single book, website, map, or photo required!