God’s Design

  • David Reisman
Part of the Great Thinkers in Economics book series (GTE)


Malthus was an ordained clergyman. Explicitly, in the much criticised and rapidly deleted Chapters 18 and 19 of the 1798 Essay, less explicitly throughout the whole of his life, he sought to reconcile the will of the Creator with the vice and misery which result from the population mechanism and the marginal soils that God had created. Malthus preferred to induce the divine purpose from the natural world than to rely on revelation which lacks confirmation. He concludes that the Deity created evil because he wished to shake indolent creatures out of their torpor. Happiness is the result. Malthus owed some of his most promising insights to Hutcheson and Paley, both of them utilitarians but also ministers of religion. Malthus deviates so significantly from Biblical Christianity that the reader wonders if he might secretly have been an Enlightenment deist and not a Christian at all.


Enlightenment Economics and religion Utility Paley 


By T. R. Malthus

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Reisman
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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