20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)
(Verse 20 is added for context.)
Firstly, based on the fact that the Greek text of the first clause says, word for word, "Which also an antitype now saves us, baptism..." (ὃ καὶ ἡμᾶς ἀντίτυπον νῦν σῴζει βάπτισμα), is baptism to be considered an antitype of Noah's Flood, or are baptism and Noah's flood to be considered antitypes of that salvation? It seems obvious, however, that baptism is being called the antitype of Noah's flood, and so this question might be purposeless.
Secondly, what does baptism save from? Does it save our souls from judgement, as many passages in the New Testament say that faith does, or is the text perhaps suggesting that baptism saves us from something temporary, like how the waters saved Noah and his family from that temporary judgement?
Thirdly, when the text says that "the putting away of the filth of the flesh" is not what saves, is this referring to the ceremony of baptism undertaken with or without faith, or only to baptism undertaken without faith?
Finally, when the text says that "the answer of a good conscience toward God" is what in fact saves, is this referring to faith, of which baptism may only be a symbol (and so it "saves" symbolically")? I understand that "answer" is an incorrect translation of the Greek word, and that the word should be translated as "question" or "inquiry". Based on that fact, is the text be saying that one asks for a good conscience toward God by undertaking baptism, and so baptism is what us from judgement? What is this "answer of a good conscience toward God"?