Frank Luke is on the right track when he suggests that there are different kinds of knowledge, and that Adam, prior to his fall, had already been endowed with knowledge and had used it in various ways, which included his fellowship with God. Knowledge is part of what it means to be created in the image of God. Call it intellect, call it rational and abstract thinking, or call it knowledge. What kinds of knowledge are there?
There is head knowledge.
There is experiential knowledge.
There is knowledge that is an admixture of the two.
What I have to say next may seem like a digression, but it's not, so bear with me. Years ago as a counselor at a Christian rescue mission in New York City, I got to know a resident at the mission by the name of Craig. He was a longtime drug addict, but he had been clean and sober for awhile and he manifested certain encouraging signs that he was on the road to recovery.
One day as I was chatting with him, he suggested that I would be a better counselor to him, a drug addict, if I myself had had struggles with drug addiction, too. Somehow, to him at least, my not being a recovering drug addict made me less competent to counsel him than someone else who had walked in his moccasins, so to speak.
Was Craig right? Before you answer my question, go back immediately to God's prohibition to Adam in Genesis 2. Keep in mind that the "knowledge of good and evil" is a Hebraism that means "the whole gamut of knowledge, from one extreme to the other, and everything in between." Would Adam somehow be a better counselor to his progeny if he were to disobey God, thereby acquiring experiential knowledge of death (separation from God)? I hope you respond by saying "God forbid!" or "May it never be thus!"
Was God withholding anything good from His creatures by telling them there was a kind of knowledge that was off limits to them? Again, I would hope you'd say "No!" All the things you mention in your question--"creativity, intelligence, innovations, explorations and discoveries" were already aspects of God's endowment to Adam and his soon-to-be wife. One thing "missing" from that endowment was a kind of experiential knowledge in one direction, and one direction only, and that was in the direction of evil.
If God did not withhold anything good from Adam, ergo Adam was not lacking anything good. [I insert an edit here:] Via the vehicle of God's gift of eternal life to Adam--God's Plan A, as it were, Adam had the privilege of discovering in time and space more and more of: 1) God's goodness, and 2) all the good things God had created both for Adam's benefit and God's glory, and which God had pronounced "very good" (Ge 1:31). [edit ends here]
Now, go back to Craig. Was he correct in his thinking? In one sense, yes he was! It is obviously easier to empathize with people when you have been in their shoes. Perhaps recovering drug addicts do make better counselors to other recovering drug addicts, in part because both groups have experiential knowledge of an obvious evil. However, is the message of recovery any different whether it is coming from a non-drug addict or a recovering one? No.
Adam's heeding God's message would have led him to grow in the right kind of knowledge (both "head" knowledge and "experiential" knowledge) as he continued to live in the path God had laid out for him.
Would Adam's progeny have been better off had their first parents not acquired the knowledge of evil? Most definitely. Not only would they have lived forever, physically and spiritually, but their "creativity, intelligence, innovations, explorations and discoveries" would have been enhanced and would not have been, as we know they became, alloyed with the stigma of sin.
A question arises, "If Adam already knew the good, what's the point of there being a tree of good AND evil--why not just EVIL?" (I.e., "Why would the tree offer him what he already had?")
Adam's having been created in the image of God meant that he possessed not only intellect (knowledge) but also volition (will). Since evil had already entered the universe through Satan, whom God also gave volition, there must be from God's perspective something special about volition--and there is! Had God wanted to create man without volition, He could have. That He created man with volition implies He wanted man to have what volition itself implies: the ability to choose obedience. Obedience was, as it were, Adam's "default setting."
While Adam could have chosen to live his life on this default setting, he chose evil instead. Remember, God in His wisdom had already allowed evil to infect the universe by allowing Lucifer to rebel against Him, and Lucifer took with him perhaps a third of the angelic hosts.
At this point in my addendum we cannot avoid the subject of theodicy, which is in essence a way to reconcile two seemingly irreconcilable axioms: 1) God is holy, omniscient, and omnipotent; and 2) God imparted His attribute of volition to His creatures, both celestial and terrestrial, fully knowing they would exercise their wills in opposition to His.
A good theodicy suggests that while God could have prevented evil from raising its ugly head, His eternal decrees prevented Him from doing so. From a human and necessarily finite perspective, we might ask: Would it not have been better for God simply to take a mulligan, as it were, annihilate Satan and his cohorts, and simply start over again? No.
Despite His hating evil, God knew from eternity past that He would eradicate evil from His universe once and for all, but only after He implemented in time and space His plan for the ages and within the grand arc of history. Through this plan He would 1) vindicate His holy character; 2) gather a people unto Himself who would willingly and obediently choose to follow Him; and 3) usher in a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells forever and ever.
Satan and his world system and all who align themselves with that system, will one day be separated eternally from God's new creation, and sin thereafter will be eternally powerless to infect that new creation. From our finite perspective, we are tempted to rail against God and ask "WHY? Why did you allow sin to enter the universe in the first place? Weren't you powerful enough to prevent evil?"
If there were ever a best time to invoke the words of Isaiah, perhaps it would have to be now:
"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,' declares YHWH. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.'"
Recall what I said above about God's other attributes which co-exist with His omnipotence; namely, His holiness and His omniscience (or infinite wisdom). At this point I would add a fourth attribute: His love, the kind of love which can be expressed only in a relationship.
Here is where Judaism and Christianity have to part ways. If love cannot exist apart from relationship, then either a relationship already existed from all eternity within the Godhead, among Father, Son, and Spirit), or God, whom Jews and Muslims alike insist must not be associated with any other infinite being, could express His love only by creating sentient beings with whom He could have a relationship.
Christians cannot accept the latter assumption in that it suggests God is somehow incomplete without us. Even the Tanak makes it clear that God needs neither anything or anyone in order to be complete. He is already, always was, and always will be perfectly complete.
Because God is love He chose to create us in His image so that we could share in the love fest with Him. This is our inestimable privilege if we choose to enter into a relationship with Him. We can do so, however, only on His terms, not ours. Sad to say, many people, even religious people, think we are all children of God by virtue of having been born. Not so, which John 1:11-13 makes clear:
"[Jesus] came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
Perhaps I am oversimplifying, but for me, I choose to believe that God is a triune God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. Love within the Godhead triggered the creative work of God, and while from our finite point of view God seems to have made a mistake by creating sentient beings (first, angels, and then, humans), I am willing to defer to God in what are, ultimately, only partially-answerable questions. He alone is God. I, on the other hand, am just a man. He is the Potter, and we all are the clay, literally:
"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man becamse a living being" (Ge 2:7).
"But now, O JHWH, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand" (Isa 64:8).
"Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?'" (Isa 45:9).
"Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, 'He did not make me'; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'?" (Isa 29:16).
"The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this,' will it?" (Ro 9:20,21).
In conclusion, we creatures of clay may struggle with doubts about the Potter's modus operandi, but at least three things can assuage the doubts and questions with which we grapple: 1) God loves us too much to be in the least bit threatened by us or upset with us for all our doubts and questions; 2) God invites us to enter into relationship with Him, to choose the good and refuse the evil; and 3) God will have the last word regarding both good and evil, and His last word, though a terror to some, will also be music to the ears of others.