Donald W. Parry, “Adam: ‘The Figure of Him that Was to Come,’” in The Jesus Christ Focused Old Testament: Making Sense of a Monumental Book (Springville, UT: Book of Mormon Central, 2022), 80–81.
Both Adam and Jesus had significant roles in the plan of salvation. Adam caused the Fall; Jesus brought about the Atonement. Consequently, there are many parallels between what Adam did to cause the Fall and what Christ did to save us from the Fall. In fact, the correspondences and parallels between Adam and Jesus are so considerable that Paul named Adam “the first Adam,” and he designated Jesus the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45–47). Paul also wrote that Adam was “the figure of him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14), a reference to Jesus Christ.
Two different trees, one associated with Adam and the other with Jesus, correspond to each other. Adam’s eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought about the Fall and subsequently death. Jesus was crucified on a tree to complete the Atonement and provide us with life. Peter testified that Jesus “bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24).
There are several other important parallels between Adam and Jesus Christ. First, Adam brought forth physical death; Jesus gave us the Resurrection: “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21–22). Linked to this, Adam and Eve, as the father and mother of the mortal race, provided us with physical bodies; Christ provides immortal bodies for us at the Resurrection.
Adam: “The Figure of Him that Was to Come”
|“The first Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45).||“The last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45).|
|“Made a living soul” (1 Cor. 15:45).||“Made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).|
|“Natural” (1 Cor. 15:46).||“Spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:46).|
|“The first man is of the earth, earthy” (1 Cor. 15:47).||“The second man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Cor. 15:47).|
|The Fall took place in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2).||Jesus prayed and was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36–46).|
|Partook of the fruit of a tree (3:6).||“Jesus bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).|
|“By man [Adam] came death” (1 Cor. 15:21).||“By man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21).|
|“For as in Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22).||“In Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21–22).|
|Adam and Eve, as the father and mother of the mortal race, provided physical bodies.||Christ provides immortal bodies at the Resurrection.|
|Adam, with Eve, yielded to the serpent (Gen. 3:1–6).||The lord cursed the serpent (Gen. 3:14).|