Gendo Ikari is one of anime’s great villains. Some 15 years after Evangelion originally aired, he remains hated, the very picture of a vile father willing to sacrifice his son (and the entire world, even) for his obsession.
But even Gendo has a tender side. Even Gendo was once in love.
In the following portion of the Evangelion manga, Gendo makes some interesting statements about love and about God. He claims that God gave him Yui, and then after she is absorbed, questions why God gives and takes away.
The question Gendo poses is one that countless others have asked, and that Christians frequently posit as well, even if we might “know” the answers to it in our heads.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
– Job 1:21
Gendo doesn’t explain what he believes the answer was to his question, “If he was going to take her away, why did he give Yui to me?” But he does make a decision – like so many villains before and after him, Gendo determines to become God.
The answer to Gendo’s question, though, is quite contrary to what he resolves to do. Near the ending of Job, throughout which the title character has struggled with the loss of all he held dear, God lets him and his “friends” know that, well, He is God. We can’t always know the answers, for we are not.
And in that seeming insecurity we peculiarly can find hope. For in all the pain and loss in this world, God holds true. His love is true. His promises are true. And when those people and things dear to us disappear, we can cling onto God, for He’s proven that He when all is gone, He will remain. And there’s nothing more assured than that.