I'm going to re-quote something from Dr. Steenberg:
the incarnation enables a kind of union with God for which humanity was always in need -- the fuller gift than even Eden had presented
Now, I agree with this. However, I understood that this statement was the part about being "corrective," where man even without the Fall, needed the Incarnation, and that is the "corrective" part. Am I misunderstanding something or taking things in the wrong context?
What had "Eden" offered? According to St. Athanasius, "Eden" was pretty much God's paradise, not existent in this world, but out of this world. It was the presence, love, knowledge, and "contemplation" (now I'm using contemplation differently than before) of the Word, which benefited man through the grace of Image and Likeness in man that no other creature on Earth has:
The presence and love of the Word had called them into being; inevitably, therefore when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it; for it is God alone Who exists, evil is non-being, the negation and antithesis of good. By nature, of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that Likeness through constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt.
The Incarnation seemed to have added an aspect of unity with God in creation, in sensible things, and not just in the "Likeness" and "Image:"
Men had turned from the contemplation of God above, and were looking for Him in the opposite direction, down among created things and things of sense. The Savior of us all, the Word of God, in His great love took to Himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, half way. He became Himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which He, the Word of God, did in the body. Human and human minded as men were, therefore, to whichever side they looked in the sensible world they found themselves taught the truth.
Therefore, it's understandable that this was much better than "Eden" had to offer, but to say that this is a corrective even without the Fall confused me. It would make more sense to me if it was just a simple maturation process.
Today, we do partake of the fruits of the Tree of Life, a new Tree, that is the body and blood of Christ who was nailed to the Cross. This humanity of God is something that did not take away the Knowledge we possess of good and evil. When man was in Paradise before the Fall, God did not want man to partake of "both trees". Nowadays, we are in a sense partaking of "both trees," and therefore, it would seem to me that this was a characteristic of a "higher," a more mature "degree of the knowledge of God, good and evil." Why else would God have created a "Tree" of "Knowledge of Good and Evil," if it wasn't going to be used later on in their lives if the Fall did not happen?
What else is the meaning behind "God became man so that man might become God?" Was God forbidding man forever to never "become like one of Us" (Gen. 3:22)?