Was mankind supposed to have the knowledge of good and evil?
We believe that the knowledge of good and evil was something that God ultimately wanted every member of the human race to have. Had Adam not disobeyed God by partaking of the forbidden fruit, God would have allowed him to have that knowledge at a later date after he had proven his obedience. However, that would mean that each of Adam’s children, grandchildren, etc. would also need to be tested in a similar fashion in order to prove their obedience. Some might pass, while others would fail and be in need of a Redeemer.
However, God knew that Adam would disobey and thereby plunge himself and all his progeny into sin and death. Therefore, God made provision for Adam and his entire human family by providing a Redeemer in his Son Jesus, the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). We believe that Jesus died for all of humanity—his faithful followers first and then for the rest of the world later during the thousand–year time of judgment, yet future.
Does baptism wash away the original sin of Adam that each of us inherits? No, we believe that is not the purpose of baptism. Baptism is a voluntary decision made by an individual after much consideration. Baptism symbolizes the death of the old will and the begettal of a new nature. We believe that baptism is an outward manifestation of a heart attitude that has taken place within the individual.
The person being immersed has already made a covenant of self-sacrifice in his heart (a consecration) in order to do the will of God in all matters of life. Baptism (total water immersion) symbolizes the figurative death of the old nature and the begettal by the Holy Spirit of a new nature. Although one is encouraged to publicly show that desire of his heart by baptism, the act of baptism itself is not necessary for consecration.
We believe that there is only one baptism during this time and that is to be part of the heavenly class. When Jesus fulfilled his mission by dying on the cross, He redeemed everyone who ever lived in the past and everyone who was yet to live in the future.
1 Timothy 2:3-6 says,
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time.”
And again in 1 Timothy 4:10, “… that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
These scriptures indicate that all men will be saved, but that there is a special class (a heavenly class) who are to be favored first. These are the ones who have made a covenant to do the will of the Lord now and have symbolized that consecration in baptism.
Do we still have the knowledge of good and evil after we are baptized? We most certainly do and that knowledge is essential for our growth and our testing as we are confronted with sin from without (the world) and from within ourselves. Therefore, the Apostle Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11) and, thereby, remain faithful to our covenant of sacrifice.
To learn more about what salvation is and who is covered, listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and our Salvation the Same?”