(Old Facebook Post)
Church history is fun! Today I learned from St. Augustine what the 3 floors of Noah’s ark might symbolize: 1st floor–chastity (faithfulness) in marriage; 2nd floor–chastity of widows; 3rd floor–chastity of virgins. It’s easy to see which he prized as displaying the highest virtue.
Tertullian’s perspective was even more interesting. He thought it was no great virtue to be a virgin if you had never married–that was only a natural and expected state for the never-married. If you wanted a virginity that counted, you should be a virgin as a widow, after having know the pleasures of sexuality. But if you really wanted a virginity that would really earn some merit… you should live as a virgin while married. Unfortunately for Tolstoy’s wife, that’s what Tolstoy also believed.
As I said, church history rocks! 🙂