8306. The earth swallowed them. That this signifies that by virtue of mere presence they had damnation and hell, is evident from the signification of "to be swallowed by the earth," as being damnation and hell; for by this swallowing is signified a falling down, or casting down, into hell; moreover hell is deep down below, because it is very far from the sun of heaven, which is the Lord, and there is what is Most High. Removals from thence are according to the qualities and quantities of evils and the derivative falsities. Hence it is that heaven appears above, and hell beneath. Moreover the place where they are who are in falsities from evil, consequently in damnation, appears like a desert land, which is called "the damned land," under which are cast down those who are cast into hell (n. 7418). That this takes place by virtue of the mere presence of the Lord, see n. 8265. From this then it is that by "the earth swallowed them," is signified damnation and hell, as is clear in Moses:
Moses said unto the assembly of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, If Jehovah create a creation, and the earth open its mouth, and swallow them, and all that appertains to them, that they go down alive into hell, ye shall know that these men have provoked Jehovah. And the earth that was under them was sundered, and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them, and they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into hell (Num. 16:30-33).