First the good news. This is not about science, not directly anway. About all I know of the Higgs Boson is that it's a tiny tiny tiny particle--smaller than the dust mote in Horton Hears a Who I'm told--that physicists believe has something to do with how we and all things around us have mass. If that's not right, Leigton will let me know. Some shortsighted nitwit decided to call it the God Particle a few years back, and now that scientists finally have evidence of it, facebook and twitter have lit up with Christians who simply don't understand how language works--nor have they ever heard of the god of the gaps, it seems.
Stephanie Drury, whom you should totally follow on twitter @stuffcclikes, has done a great job of tracking some of these. Really, you can do it yourself if you need a chuckle or an embolism. Just search #godparticle and prepare to be embarrassed by your fellow Christians or amused by your former tribe. I think the best word for me is exasperated. Why? Because I knew what someone would eventually say. Knew it. Predicted it in conversation. Could see it in the future like that old black lady in The Stand. It's Colossians 1:17. The verse occurs in a hymn of sorts by the Pauline author of the letter to church at Colossae. Here's the verse: "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
The reference is to Jesus, and the author is talking about his supremacy over all things. Christians are horrified (or disdainful) by the discovery of the Higgs Boson, although physicists have known for many years that it had to be there. The unfortunate "God Particle" name has led to consternation on the part of Christians, and even non-Christians like me. As much fun as it is to say "God Particle" and watch the forehead veins begin to throb, I'm intentionally not using the term in conversation with anyone. It's not helpful. However, Christian friends, quoting verses from the Bible to show the Higgs Boson's job is already taken by Jesus is not a great idea either. Here's a favorite from Hebrews 1:3, another hymn to Jesus: "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power."
The god of the gaps is the god who does whatever jobs are left once we discover the natural causes and structures in the universe. These days, god's primary tasks, apart from sporting events, seem to be creation, Second Coming, loving unborn babies, improperly communicating his plan for my life, and wanting me to be happy and live forever with him in heaven. It's a thankless fuckin' job for the most part and certainly without flash.( No one really believes that Tebow plays well because the Holy Spirit moves his legs the right way, do they?) The best analogy I can come up with on the fly is how emasculated Zeus must have felt when we figured out that lightning bolts weren't in his quiver.
The Higgs Boson will help us understand another layer of what used to be a mystery. That's good for science, and certainly good for humanity. Had no one ever called this the God Particle, Christians would not be so upset right now. Imagine if we'd called atoms Jesus Particles. Yeah, you get it, right? So, do your favorite physicist a favor and stop calling it the God Particle. Science loves you. Amen.