The Bible is full of amazing stories, miraculous events, tales of bravery, sacrifice, strength... and so are superhero legends. Jeff Dunn and Adam Palmer, co-authors of the soul of spider-man: unexpected spiritual insights from the legendary superhero, examine such similarities between Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and the characters and principles found in God's Word.

Dunn recently sat down with Crosswalk to talk about great power, great responsibility, and great role models. Jeff, in this book, you and Adam Palmer focus mostly on the most recent three Spider-Man films?

Jeff Dunn: Right, we look at the three where Tobey Maguire plays Spider-Man.

CW: The line from those films, "With great power comes great responsibility" is now burned into all of our brains. Is this a Christian principle, and how so?

JD: Yes, it is. And the verse that comes to mind with me is, "Luke 12:48." So, with great power comes great responsibility. Also, then we look in James where James tells us, Hey, James 3:1 or a leader because those who are leaders, there is more required of them. So when we are given much, much is required of us. 

Peter Parker was given this great power, and thus he had a responsibility. Of course, that line was given after he failed to exercise that responsibility. And look what happened after he failed to exercise that responsibility—his uncle was shot and killed.

CW: Is it just or fair that -- I mean, Peter is still a teenager -- he gets such power and, therefore, such responsibility at an age that he may or may not be able to handle it? What do we do when that happens to us?

JD: King David -- most scholars would say he was no more than sixteen, probably more like twelve or thirteen when Samuel came along and anointed him to be King of Israel. Look at Mary. She was, what, maybe thirteen or fourteen when the angel visited her and said, "Guess what? You are going to carry the Son of God." You know, in ways, I think that it is better for teens to get this power because they don't know what they don't know yet. They don't know what they cannot do. They don't know what they are not supposed to do. They don't know what they are not allowed to do. They just do it.

I have a son who just turned seventeen this week. He was at a Christian camp two weeks ago, and I went to pick him up. When I got him, we were talking, and he said, "You know David is one of my heroes." I said, "Really, why?" He said, "He wrestled with lions." Yeah, he did. And that was one of the things that stood out to him.

David was a teenager when he was wrestling with lions. I would not wrestle with a lion! I am smart enough now not to wrestle with lions. He was not smart enough to not wrestle with lions back then. So, yeah, I think that Peter did not go looking for this superpower. It came upon him. And now he has it [along with] all the awkwardness of teens [and] all the teen angst that is explored in these movies. 

CW: Was that your target audience with the book?

JD: Yes and no. We wrote it at a level that teen viewers of the movies could really enjoy and would be able to appreciate. But honestly, I have talked to more adults who have read it, who love the movies and say, "Oh yeah, boy, that reminded me. I went back and watched it and, yes, I see what you were talking about." So I think that really we go from teens to all the way up.