Gods and humans are inseparable. The evidence for the representation of gods in the human form comes from the greatest of all mysteries, namely in the acintya bhed abheda tatwa. Through this understanding of the relationship between gods and humans we see the inconceivable oneness and separateness of jiva and atman/paramatma. In this regard by atman I mean the gods of the guna consciousness triad of Brahma (sattvic god), Vishnu (rajasic god) and Shiva (tamasic god); and by paramatma I mean Sri Krishna the Supreme Creator and Preserver of the universe.
God and gods manifest themselves as human beings, that is why they are depicted as human entities in Hinduism. Gods are also depicted in the animal form, such as is evident in the dasavatar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashavatara): (a) Matsya, the fish, from the Satya Yuga. Vishnu takes the form of a fish to save Manu from the deluge, after which he takes his boat to the new world along with one of every species of plant and animal, gathered in a massive cyclone. (b) Kurma, the tortoise, from the Satya Yuga. When the devas and asuras were churning the Ocean of milk in order to get amrita, the nectar of immortality, the mount Mandara they were using as the churning staff started to sink and Vishnu took the form of a tortoise to bear the weight of the mountain. (c) Varaha, the boar, from the Satya Yuga. He appeared to defeat Hiranyaksha, a demon who had taken the Earth, or Prithvi, and carried it to the bottom of what is described as the cosmic ocean in the story. The battle between Varaha and Hiranyaksha is believed to have lasted for a thousand years, which the former finally won. Varaha carried the Earth out of the ocean between his tusks and restored it to its place in the universe. (d) Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion from the Satya Yuga. The rakshasa (An evil person) Hiranyakashipu, the elder brother of Hiranyaksha, was granted a powerful boon from brahma, not allowing him to be killed by man or animal, inside or out, day or night, on earth or the stars, with a weapon either living or inanimate. Vishnu descended as an anthropomorphic incarnation, with the body of a man and head and claws of a lion. He then disembowels the rakshasa at the courtyard threshold of his house, at dusk, with his claws, while he lay on his thighs.
These stories of the representation of rakshases as the human animals, or animals in human form (among my terms for introduction into the English Dictionary I have defined humanimalism/humanimalists/humanimality as those who are not humane or caring in their dealings with the environment, act purely from your senses and ego in a mindless way) in the Dasaavatar shows also the long held understanding of Hindus of devas and asuras in human society. For spiritual people these need to be represented in images and idols for they are true. In Ramayana we also see the monkey god Hanuman as divine. We also see Ravana the ten headed asura accurately shown to be the follower of the tamasic-evil god Shiva. Witches are known to exist even in English societies since time immemorial and these exist today. The greatest witch of the world is the Greenwich (green witch) of England who organised the state persecution on me.
These insights of Hinduism reveal the deepest understanding of the existence of divinity and evil spirits in Nature.
In an idol of God or of gods as devas and asuras, we need to take care in ensuring that the way these are produced and dressed we see the accurate representation of the gods characters who guide humans in their lives. It is therefore quite natural and justifiable to worship deities through idols and images in the human form.
My point therefore is that we Hindus must take pride and satisfaction that we have idols of God and gods whom we worship in temples and in the home, and equally we see images and sculpture of asuras (eg Durga slaying a demon in murti form for Durga puja).
Let us not be persecuted by other religious ideas into feeling uneasy about Hindu thought of idol representation of elements of Nature and their worship for whoever seeks the guidance that suits his or her mentality.
Not knowing that there was an Asiatic species of lion in India I asked whether Narasimha indicated that there must have been lions in India in the distant past to which Aupmanyav posted pictures of lions from the Gir forest in Gujarat. That is useful to know. I am not sure of the sequence of avataras listed in the Dasaavatar for different yugas/times but the conception of Narasimha is very pertinent – a human with the powers of a lion to demolish the most intractable of rakshases. Indeed the Dasavatar indicates according to the problems facing the planet at different times in history God will assume the appropriate form of descent.
So the Narasimha conception was not imagined mythgology. It seems to me that to combine a human being with a lion is to develop the fiercest and most thoughtfully-intelligent of avataric conceptions that would be needed to eradicate the most intractable of asuras/rakshases who spring up in humanity from yuga to yuga.