Thesis: Adam was on Earth before animals. All were created spiritually, but Adam was the first with a body.
The following is shared by Dennis Isaacson with permission:
“The word, flesh, is used several times to describe the animals and Adam and Eve. Harold B. Lee specifically teaches that it means Adam was the first life and man, and that the thought that there were Pre-Adamites is not scriptural. So while Joseph Fielding Smith made [a] comment (about first flesh meaning the first mortal), we have to look at it in context to see if it fits.
The Lord is using it in Moses 3:5-7 to make a point. He doesn’t just state that Adam was the first flesh, but “the first man also”. His use of the word “also” is telling. Look at his use of the word “flesh” in this scripture:
“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was NOT YET FLESH upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;”
Would man live in the water or in the air? He’s obviously not using the word “flesh” in this instance to refer to mortal man, so why would we try to apply that meaning to Adam when he next describes him as “the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also;”?
On the flip side, looking logically at this; even if the Lord would’ve been referring to Adam’s future mortal nature in this statement, then he was definitely stating that there was not mortal flesh in the previous statement where he said there was “NOT YET FLESH upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;”
In either case, he makes it quite clear that there was no mortal flesh upon the Earth. Thus, there was no death whatsoever before the fall of Adam and Eve.
It is especially important that he parenthetically encloses the spiritual creation (and a time and a place being designated here) of all life on earth with the commencement of the physical creation of all life on earth by using a key mechanism here. What is that mechanism? The watering of the earth. Directly after this, Adam is created.”
Note: So we see the 1st 6 days of creation were the spiritual, and the 7th the temporal was placed on the earth. It says it had not rained yet in the first 6 days; the rain is likely when the mists and downpour started which caused the vegetation to start growing. This would also be near the time when Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother would come to the Garden of God to bare Adam and Eve, and later, they would send them eastward to the Garden of Eden to begin their probation (see the Garden of God essay for more on that theory). In Eden, Adam names the animals. It stands to reason that this naming of the animals is when the animals were brought to the scene. Animals, like humans, are not formed from the dust. That is symbolic language. Prototypical parent animals of each type must have also been brought to the Garden of Eden. After naming the animals, Eve was ready to be introduced into Eden. She may have been a bit younger than Adam, or just kept for extra training. The naming and marriage could have taken place in a very short period of time, in a day as it says. The naming was likely a powerful series of revelations to Adam in that he performed quickly what would take us some time.