“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
We read in 2:9 that “the tree of life was in the midst,” likely center of the Garden. Was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil close to the tree of life, which was in the midst? I believe so, because of how easily Eve observed it when she was being tempted. Very likely Adam and Eve would see the forbidden tree on a regular basis. The fruit was, “… good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise…” (Genesis 3:6). It was very tempting indeed.
Did God put it there to tempt them for evil? Not according to James 1:13. Then why was the tree there? What benefit was it? Could it be it was for man to exercise his free will on a regular basis and choose good? The more “he” exercised his will in right choices, the stronger and more reliable in self-control “he” would have been and the better prepared for a life of self-discipline for following his God. That’s a lot to think about.