247. That the "serpent going on his belly" denotes that their sensuous part could no longer look upward to the things of heaven, but only downward to those of the body and the earth, is evident from the fact that in ancient times by the "belly" such things are signified as are nearest to the earth; by the "chest" such as are above the earth; and by the "head" what is highest. It is here said that the sensuous part, which in itself is the lowest part of man's nature, "went upon its belly" because it turned to what is earthly. The depression of the belly even to the earth, and the sprinkling of dust on the head, had a similar signification in the Jewish Church. Thus we read in David:
Wherefore hidest Thou Thy faces, and forgettest our misery and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down to the dust, and our belly cleaveth to the earth. Arise, a help for us, and redeem us for Thy mercy's sake (Ps. 44:24-26),
where also it is evident that when man averts himself from the face of Jehovah, he "cleaves by his belly to the dust and to the earth." In Jonah likewise, by the "belly" of the great fish, into which he was cast, are signified the lower parts of the earth, as is evident from his prophecy:
Out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice (Jonah 2:2),
where "hell" denotes the lower earth.