How is the serpent’s punishment, explained at Gen 3:14-15, appropriate?

We have just explained why the punishment is appropriate, figuratively. Taken literally, it also certainly makes sense. Though the serpent was just one among the beasts of the field, for causing this most consequential sin, he is “cursed above [them] all.” Going about on one’s belly and eating dust is the utmost state of defeat. And it was the woman who was was caused to sin; so she and her offspring would thereafter forever be at odds with the serpent and its offspring, because “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin” (Roman 5:12). But there is a second possible kind of metaphor: the serpent might be taken to represent not specifically Satan but instead the sort of pagan god, a flying snake god such as Egypt’s Nehebkau. Such a god, if a Satanic sort of demonic tempter, might well be taken down a notch by losing his legs and wings. Besides, it is hardly as if the pagan gods are not often portrayed as actually existent, but demonic in nature. See, for example, Ps. 82:6-7, where the Lord threatens them with death; Ps. 106:34, where it is said that the people served “idols” such as the idols of snake gods, and “even sacricied their sons and their daughters to the demons”; Deut 32:16, where the people made the Lord jealous with “strange gods,” by sacrificing to “devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not”.