15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it. 16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.” -Genesis 2:15-17 NASB
Why would God plant a tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that has the potential to destroy Adam’s relationship with Him?
If you look at it, God gave Adam two choices. The tree of life which represents Jesus Christ who gives eternal life to the one who believes in Him and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, representing the wisdom of the world which brings death.
Even though Adam was created in perfection, he did not have the Holy Spirit living inside of him. He was still vulnerable in losing his sinlessness. Just because Adam was sinless, it didn’t mean that he had eternal life, as Genesis 3:22-24 clearly states that God threw Adam and Eve, his wife, out of the garden lest they reach out to the tree of life and live forever.
Adam’s sinlessness was different from a believer today who has eternal life. Eternal life cannot be lost because the Holy Spirit is the one who keeps us from falling away. In Adam’s case, he didn’t have such protection putting him in a slippery slope of having the possibility of falling from his position of sinlessness to a sinful one and being condemned to hell.
Adam could have lived forever if he ate from the tree of life. Nowhere from Chapters 1-3 of Genesis did God ever prohibit them from eating from the tree of life.
God wanted us to know that without the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we cannot please God by living a life of righteousness. Even in perfection, Adam couldn’t stay in that condition. It was a matter of time before he would fall.
Just think about this for a moment. Two people, who were perfect and sinless had two choices. God only gave them one command. Not to eat from the forbidden tree. Despite having all of the trees and their fruits available, they still chose to rebel against God. No matter if you are created without sin, without God in your heart, you will end up choosing the world.
What is impossible for men to obtain which is eternal life, is possible with God. First of all, no one seeks after God. In John 6:44, it says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” The Father is the one who brings you to Jesus by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Conviction simply means to convince you who Jesus is and what He did for you on the cross and that in your sinful state, you cannot make it to heaven unless all of your sins gets forgiven.
Getting back to the question at the top. Why did God make the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? It was to show us that no matter what, mankind was going to choose evil instead of good. By Adam falling into sin, it actually opened up the door to make a way for atoning for the sins of mankind through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who receive the gift that Jesus offers shall never fall away from Him. God worked out a bad situation at the beginning of time for the best scenario possible—indefinitely securing one’s place in heaven. All you have to do is believe that Jesus died for your sins on the cross and rose from the grave on the third day. Ask Jesus to forgive you for all the bad things you have ever done and commit your life to Him.