Chapter XXIV.—Why God Permits Evil.
“But you will meet me by saying, Even if it has come to this through freedom of will, was the Creator ignorant that those whom He created would fall away into evil? He ought therefore not to have created those who, He foresaw, would deviate from the path of righteousness. Now we tell those who ask such questions, that the purpose of assertions of the sort made by us is to show why the wickedness of those who as yet were not, did not prevail over the goodness of the Creator. 738 For if, wishing to fill up the number and measure of His creation, He had been afraid of the wickedness of those who were to be, and like one who could find no other way of remedy and cure, except only this, that He should refrain from His purpose of creating, lest the wickedness of those who were to be should be ascribed to Him; what else would this show but unworthy suffering and unseemly feebleness on the part of the Creator, who should so fear the actings of those who as yet were not, that He refrained from His purposed creation?
There is considerable variety of reading in this sentence, and the precise meaning is somewhat obscure. The general sense, however, is sufficiently evident, that if God had refrained from creating those who He foresaw, would fall into evil, this would have been to subject His goodness to their evil.