Yes, baptism is necessary for salvation. Jesus states in John 3:5, “I solemnly assure you, no one can enter into God’s kingdom without being begotten of water and spirit.”
Baptism is a supernatural rebirth during which we become adopted into God’s family. It removes original sin, the sin we inherited from our first parents. Original Sin is passed from generation to generation like a trait is passed from one family member to the next generation family member.
The Book of Genesis gives us the account of the Fall. Original sin stemmed from the vice of pride; it was because of pride that Adam and Eve were tempted. It was through their pride that we ultimately lost preternatural gifts; we will get sick, die, have to learn because of ignorance, and toil in pain. There will be no balance in nature. The loss of preternatural gifts was symbolized by the banishment from the Garden of Eden, the place where there was a balance of nature and moral certitude.
Though God punished Adam and Eve and their future generations through the inheritance of original sin, He did not abandon the human race. Genesis 3:15 contains a promise of redemption. “I will put enmity between you (the serpent who tempted Eve) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” Scripture scholars agree that this was the promise of the Messiah who would redeem mankind from sin.
Jesus is the new Adam, and Mary, Jesus’ mother, is the new Eve. Disobedience brought sin, death, darkness, and destruction into the world, and it was obedience to God that brought in healing, eternal life, and light. In Catholic devotion, a statue of the blessed mother, known as our lady of grace, shows our lady with hands open and feet crushing the serpent. The symbolism is derived from Genesis 3:15. The grace is God, and Mary’s obedience to His will.
By her obedience she brought about the Fullness of Grace, Jesus Christ, who, by His complete obedience to the Father’s will, crushed the head of the ancient serpent. This obedience led Jesus to be crucified, and the shedding of His blood was and is redemptive for all generations. This redemption is applied to our souls in the waters of baptism, which brings about salvation.