What functions do they serve in human imagination? What are the earliest records of these beings?
One day I was having dinner and a spirit of lust appeared between myself and the person whom I was having dinner with. The other person did not see what I saw. On this occasion, I saw this sheet-like three dimensional spirit about six foot tall appear in front on me, as if the table was not there. It was a spirit of lust. I could sense the enticement emanating from the being.
A man with a spear, dressed as a Norman footman (similar to the image below) came from the right and, pointing his spear at the spirit of lust, drove the being away to the left. Then they both disappeared.
In the Bible, rather surprisingly, it is in the New Testament that we find the use of the word "angel" with reference to the first angels back in the time before the Great Flood that deposited Noah's ship 6300 ft up in the Mountains of Ararat (where it can be found today, although it is kept under wraps).
In the New Testament book of Second Peter, we read:
For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:4-5).The book of Genesis (chapter 6:1-4) informs us that these were sons of God that decided to create a race of beings that were half angel and half man. There is evidence in the archaeological record of such creatures (which blows the theory of evolution away). These angels explain why the pyramids exist; as well as many of the other structures that are built from carved rock weighing some 1000 tonnes.
The ignorant ones refuse to acknowledge these artifacts, because they prefer to believe a fairy tale that is written to be received as scientific fact. Little do they realize that the fantasy they insist is fact is merely the philosophical imagination of dreamers influenced by evil angels.
In the book of Genesis (chapter 28:12), there is record of Jacob having a dream where he saw the angels of God ascending and descending from Heaven. We learn from the Bible that angels are ministering spirits that assist humans to find salvation (Hebrews 1:14). This does not mean that everybody finds salvation; rather, the angels are sent to assist people in the hope that they might find salvation.
Jesus Himself made a reference to angels ascending and descending from Heaven when speaking to a man named Nathaniel, a man whom He said possessed a pure heart. (John 1:47-51). More to the point, Jesus also said that no one has ascended to Heaven except He Who has descended from Heaven (John 3:13)
Apart from the angel being placed to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden, Lucifer the Archangel deceiving Eve, and the angels appearing to Abraham and going down to Sodom and Gomorrah, the above references concern some of the earliest records of angels in the Bible.
The Bible informs us that angels have opposed God and His purpose in creating humankind. But angels are also there to help people to find their way back to God. However, they do not override freewill. We always have our choices to make. We can dive in to the sewer of iniquity and oppose God or we can decide to seek Him and find out our purpose for existence. In the process, as I have personally discovered, there appear to be angels that are ministering spirits which are there to help us if we desire to have a relationship with the Holy One and His Son (Proverbs 30:3-4) Lord Jesus Christ.
My experiences do not suggest that the idea of angels are functions of imagination. This is because these experiences have occurred unexpectedly. People who imagine things ponder on them too much and come up with weird ideas and theories that they believe wholeheartedly, even when evidence to the contrary exists. Still they refuse to believe the truth because their pride will not permit them to acknowledge they have been fooled.
Many of the anthropological discoveries do not make sense, unless the world of other beings exist. The Bible states there are many types of angels that appear to fall into the categories of obedient and disobedient. Key disobedient angels have authority over the various nations each and, as yet, appear not to have been cast out from Heaven. When they are cast out of Heaven, all hell will break loose on Earth as never before known (Revelation 12:12).