The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17; 3:22)
Misconceptions swirl around the nature of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in the midst of the Garden of Eden that bore the fruit associated with the fall of humanity. You may be surprised to learn that this tree has nothing to do with the development of conscience or knowing right from wrong. Adam and Eve already knew right from wrong, aware that it would be wrong to disobey God and eat from that tree.
Actually, eating of the tree made one "like God" (Genesis 3:5), gave one powers of intellectual and spiritual penetration and discrimination. This is known from the use of the same Hebrew idiom in texts such as 1 Kings 3:9 and 2 Samuel 14:17.
The gifts of the tree are two-edged. Powers of penetration can help you get to the bottom of a matter, but they can also allow you to subdue and vanquish other human beings for your own selfish purposes. Powers of discrimination can help you sort out every kind of thing, but they can also allow you to treat certain groups unfairly simply on the basis of arbitrary differences. They can also lead to an extreme self-consciousness (cf. Gen 2:25), where you constantly evaluate yourself over against others.