Most implications of the Gospel Hypothesis are starkly different from those of the Myth Hypothesis, and miracles seem like they ought to be a prime example. After all, if God does not exist, then necessarily He is not going to be working any genuine miracles, and the closest we’ll be able to get will be superstitions, misunderstandings, and unverifiable rumors and legends.
Ironically, however, the Gospel Hypothesis also predicts that there won’t be any miracles—though for a very different reason.
The word miracle has a couple of meanings. In the theological sense, a miracle is when God intervenes in human affairs, producing an effect that is strikingly different from the normal, natural order of things. But the term “miracle” is also used to indicate rarity, to designate some event that virtually never happens in real life. If someone wins the lottery, they call it “a miracle” because they really did not believe it was possible for the winner to be themselves. Even though they know somebody is going to win it, the chances of it happening to them personally are so remote as to be indistinguishable from the impossible.
How did the term “miracle” acquire both of these meanings? Quite simply because God virtually never intervenes in human affairs, as far as any of us ever experience. We encounter God’s miracles in stories that happened in distant places or times that we have no access to, but we never see a genuine, supernatural intervention (as distinct from some ordinary, misunderstood, subjective experience that we attribute to miracles). And this is pretty much a universal experience: when we use the term “miracle” to designate something that virtually never happens, everyone knows what we mean, because God never personally and directly intervenes in their lives either, beyond the ordinary happenstances and trivial mysteries that people superstitiously attribute to Him.
The thing is, the Gospel Hypothesis implies a God who is perfectly loving, and perfectly capable of being actively, tangibly, and personally involved in our everyday lives. The actions of a God like that would never acquire the connotation of “something that virtually never happens,” because His interactions with us would virtually always happen. We don’t have a special word for parents showing up to be actively involved in the care and nurture of their own children, unless that would would happen to be “love.” And even then, we would never use such a term to mean something so rare as to be synonymous with “impossible.”
So in this case, the Myth Hypothesis and the Gospel Hypothesis both reach the same conclusion (no miracles), but for starkly different reasons. In the case of the Myth Hypothesis, there are no miracles because there is no God to perform miracles, but in the case of the Gospel Hypothesis there are no miracles because God is so routinely and intimately involved in our lives that “divine intervention” would come to mean an ordinary, normal and natural course of events—the very opposite of the definition of a miracle!
The Myth Hypothesis is a better explanation, because it correctly implies both the exact consequence (absence of miracles) and the exact mechanism by which we arrive at the consequence. We do not see God performing genuine miracles in the real world. We see only superstition, hearsay, unverifiable legends from remote places and eras, misunderstandings, naive estimates of unquantifiable probabilities, and so on. In short: things that come from people’s minds and imaginations. People believe that miracles should exist, and must exist somewhere out where no skeptic (or doubting believer) can reach them. But only the Myth Hypothesis correctly predicts the divine absence that’s required to make His alleged interventions seem like miracles.