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In the Beginning, God - Part 3

Updated on April 20, 2018
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Before moving on to the days of Creation, there is one more topic we need to take a brief look at. I know this subject has certainly been discussed much over the years. Many will disagree. That is okay, but I do believe the topic of The Gap Theory or the teaching that the earth was created and inhabited before Genesis 1:2 needs to be revisited.

The gap theory has been around for a long time but experienced a growth in popularity during the early 1900s. C. I. Scofield included this description of Genesis 1:1, 2 in his early study Bible. "The first act refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages. . . . The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. There are not wanting intimations which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angels. . . . Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains."

The gap theory has since become a way to try to reconcile evolution and creationism. But, "There are not wanting intimations which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angels" simply isn't rue. Neither is his statement, "Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains."

True science and Scripture never disagree. Although the Bible is not a science book, where it speaks of science, it is accurate.

In its simplest form, the gap theory (also known as gap creationism or ruin-restoration creationism) basically states that God created the worlds in six literal days as he said, but allows for an undetermined amount of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This allows for the geologic ages to be squeezed into this period, thus supposedly reconciling science with the Bible. However, science can still be reconciled with the Bible without inserting a gap between the two verses. This differs from day-age creationism which teaches that each of the six days of creation was actually an age of several million years. Again, this supposedly brings the Bible and science together.

The teaching of the gap theory actually stems from what is not written rather than from what is written. The problem begins with a misunderstanding that a gap or a period of time exists between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. The thinking is that since the earth was without form and void, God had recreated the earth rather than creating it as is plainly stated.

In verse 2, we see the Holy Spirit at work as He moves or vibrates upon the waters. I believe it was this vibration that started the earth rotating on its axis. As we come to this verse, we also come to the problem. Basically, this theory (and it is only a theory) states that the original world was created perfect in all ways. God put satan in charge of the earth. Then satan rebelled along with his angels causing the earth to become without form and void. Thus, the complete six-day creation in Genesis was really a recreation, in the mind of the gap theorist.

The reasoning is this. The verb translated was can be translated became. The earth became without form and void. However, the sentence structure in verse 2 seems to suggest that the heaven and earth in verses 1 and 2 are exactly the same. Compare the sentence structure of these verses with Jonah 3:3. "Jonah arose, and went into Nineveh . . . Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city". Obviously, Nineveh did not become a great city after Jonah entered in. This verb (hayetha) is used 264 times in the Pentateuch. Only six times is it translated "became". It is translated 258 times as "was".

The second argument is that the phrase "without form and void" (tohu-wa-bohu) is used in other places in Scripture to denote judgment (Jeremiah 4:23-30). Tohu does not always signify judgment, however.

The book of Job tells us in chapter 26:7 that God " . . . stretcheth out the north over the empty place (tohu) and hangeth the earth upon nothing." In many places, it refers to a desert or wilderness where there is limited or no life. Deuteronomy 32:10 gives us an example - "He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness . . . . " The original Hebrew word for waste is tohu, the same word translated without form in Genesis 1:2.

Job 6:18 tells us, "The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish." Here, we find tohu in the English word nothing. We read yet again in Psalm 107:40, "He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way." In this verse, tohu is translated as the word, wilderness.

We can see from these verses that the Hebrew word, tohu, does not always represent judgment.

Isaiah 45:18 seems to clear up God's purposes. "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created not in vain (tohu), he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else".

God's purpose was for the earth to be inhabited. He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. The emphasis here is on the fact that the world was created for habitation, not for waste (created not in vain). It deals with emptiness, not judgment.

Thirdly, the argument says that God would not create the world in darkness when He is the author of light. Generally, darkness in Scripture represents evil. Again, however, physical darkness does not always represent evil. God created darkness with purpose, as well as light - "He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth."

Consider fourthly please, Exodus 20:11 which says "For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day...” Those who accept the gap theory must deal with this verse for it plainly tells us that God created everything in six days.

So what about the days? Were they 24-hour days as we know them today? It would appear so. In Genesis one and two, the Hebrew word yom is translated as day. This generally indicates a 24-hour period. If Moses wanted to express a longer period of time, he likely would have used the word olam. This signifies a longer period of time - an age.

The use of numerical adjectives such as first, second, third, etc. that we find in Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 18, 23, and 31 generally calls for a literal interpretation and would also lend itself to that of a normal day. Moses testifies of six normal days in Exodus 20:9-11. David sees six normal days in Psalm 33:6, 7, and 9. It would seem that Jesus Himself accepted the original account of the first three chapters of Genesis. We read in John 5:46, " For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me."

Paul mentions in Romans 5:14 that death reigned from Adam, not before. "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses . . . " This would eliminate a pre-Adamic race that existed during the supposed gap of Genesis 1:1 and 2. Death is the result of sin according to Romans 6:23, and according to the gap theory, sin was the cause of the earth being without form and void. But if we are to believe the Apostle Paul, sin didn't exist until Adam and Eve's fall in the garden.

There are good men who hold to the gap theory, and they certainly have the right to do so, but I hope you see that God is very clear in what He says and we just need to take Him at His Word. We must be careful not to add to Scripture what is not there.

© 2018 William Kovacic

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    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Rodric. I'm glad there is some common ground here, although I do believe the six days of Creation were six literal days for the reasons I listed. Glad you're able to follow along in this series. See you next time!

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      2 months ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Bravo! I love this article. Not only because it mentions things with which I agree do I love it, but also it is well reasoned. I also believe that Adam and Eve are the first flesh on the Earth, the first people. I also believe the days of creation are more like creative periods called days by the Creator. I am intrigued by the Seventh Day Period of creation. Why would not dinosaurs and such not have lived during that rest period? It is worth some thought. You have expanded my thinking.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 

      5 months ago

      Hello again TSAD, I did not really answer your question because I am not clear on it myself as was stated in my first comment. Bill wrote a great article with a lot of things for me to consider and I was expressing to Him a questioning thought about the specific portion of Scripture he discussed. I don't have a personal interest in supporting specific theories and my observation of how I read the text was more like an outloud pondering. It wasn't an outright disagreement with what he wrote.

      As I stated to Bill, I will prayerfully continue to ponder what he has well presented along with those observations as I am always wanting to understand God's Word more clearly myself.

      I sincerely appreciate this writing community and that we can all supportively share these revelations, thoughts, observations, and even questions that can ultimately help us sharpen our focus. And in light of this, Bill, total respect for you and your studies.

      And yes Eric, there is so much "good stuff" when understood through word study and context. Glad you picked up on that in my explanation because that was what I was really trying to say but I way over explained it.

      God bless you all : )

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tamarajo I am glad I came back to review. Your explanation is really insightful. We too often just pick a sentence out of a verse and say "see this is what it says!" From the time before Christ man has studied and practiced linguistics and to a one they agree that words must be put in context to be understood.

      The pattern notion does this very well. If one only understands the definition of a word, they miss out on the good stuff. Thanks.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, TSAD. I think Tamarajo answered your question quite clearly. If you missed it, maybe you should go back and re-read her reply. Your answer is there. Or could it be that you have a problem because she doesn't see it your way?

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Although I may not agree, I think you explained yourself quite well, Tammy. At least I follow what you're saying. This is where sole liberty for the Christian comes in.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 months ago from now on

      Tamarajo, Well, my intent was not to be argumentative and I apologize if that was how it was taken. I was hoping for more of a reasoned tone like an answer to my question "How can inserting a gap "theory" into scripture to make it comply with your Bible pattern be a justifiable way of interpreting scripture?" which I have not gotten. I would like to understand how anyone would think that a gap theory which is obviously an attempt by sinful man to insert the concept that the earth was created millions of years ago into scripture (where it doesn't exist) and contradicts scripture, and in no way can even be considered part of a pattern in scripture.

      Why you didn't answer my question but went on about "bible patterns" and the tone of our conversation is beyond me except that you simply don't want to look at the facts.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 

      5 months ago

      HI TSAD, I'm not trying to insert or add anything to justify anything. I simply study patterns in Scripture and in doing so have discovered the Gospel message that threads through its tapestry in so many ways. Also,The "beginning" account contains the seeds for the rest of the Scriptures. Today I was reading about Abram and Sarai the were echoes of the garden within its narrative when Sarai offers her handmaid to Abraham the text says that "Abraham listened to his wife" it's the exact same language as God's confrontation to Adam "because you listened to your wife" it then says that Sarai took her handmaid and gave her to her husband. Again exact same language when Eve took the fruit and gave it to her husband. The story ends with two conflicting seeds which again follows the Genesis 3 pattern. Reading the text with the understanding of the pattern offers insight into Eve's possible thinking when Sarai says "the Lord has made me barren" there is so much more in this story but all of Scripture is designed this way so we can connect the dots the one story answers the other. All the narratives are connected and each one gives us another layer of revelation. Not of anything new or different just greater detail to the one story that the entire Bible is all about

      I hope this better explains. Not preaching anything new or different just looking a little closer at the details.

      My intent was not to be argumentative and apologize if that was how it was taken. I was hoping for more of a discussion tone.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for your explanation, Tammy. The usual thinking in the gap theory is that sin from a previous creation caused the darkness. My understanding is that sin is something unique to this world as we know that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that death reigned from Adam (Romans 5:14), not before. Most often it's claimed that the fossil record comes from death during the "first" creation. Just my thoughts. As always, thanks for being here and adding to the conversation, Sister.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 months ago from now on

      So Tamarajo, you mention a Bible "pattern" of life, death, and resurrection which requires no insertion into scripture, events that aren't specifically mentioned there. How can inserting a gap "theory" into scripture to make it comply with your Bible pattern be a justifiable way of interpreting scripture?

      I can see that there are representations in scripture, of types of Christ for example, but I have never heard of a pattern justifying adding to scripture to make it comply to a form of representation..

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 

      5 months ago

      Hi Bill, it could have. I'm just basing the shadows of the text as they are patterned throughout the rest of Scripture which also applies to TSADS question. We see the Exodus experience with this same pattern of a conflict with forces of evil and the separating waters, with a deliverance and created nation. Joshua and the people crossing the Jordan follows a similar pattern, and the life, death, and resurrection the same.

      As I said I'm still in process on this one which makes this read useful in hearing this aspect. Your points are well considered and I will continue to prayerfully chew this one.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Just wondering, Tammy. does a prior spiritual conflict involve sin?

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Just wondering, Tammy. does a prior spiritual conflict involve sin?

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 months ago from now on

      Tamarajo, "in terms of Bible patterns? "

      What does that mean?

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 

      5 months ago

      Well studied and presented Bill, although the jury is still out on this for me, in terms of Bible patterns. As it refers to time, God says what He says and that's how it is but I can't help but wonder about a prior spiritual conflict within that framework. It is here "in the beginning" that we are introduced to "darkness" and the separation of it and light on the first day. The second day there is a separation of waters above from waters below and it is the only day not called good. Good is mentioned concerning the light on the first day but is not seen in the discussion of the two separations of light/dark and waters above/waters below. Good doesn't show up again until the third day. This pattern of separations light/dark and waters is repeated throughout the scriptures and always in connection with a contest and conflict with powers of darkness with a great deliverance following. It gives of illustration to the third day resurrection and what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.

      Just some points to ponder in terms of its relevance to every part of it presenting the Gospel.

      Your points are great and I will continue to ponder them.

      God bless!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Glad to be of service, Bill!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      TSAD, most television shows are propaganda whether for children or adults. The media is one-sided all the way. And yes, you're right. Evolution is not really a theory, but it is a religion. Yes, that's right, Evolution fits the definition of a religion.and is often worshipped as such. Creationism is scientific, not something we hold by blind faith. There is evidence and much of it that, flies in the face of evolution. Of course, you know this.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Your articles, Bill, are my Bible study, so thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 months ago from now on

      Bill, I'm sure you know but for the benefit of your readers, if you really want to be scientific about it, evolution doesn't even qualify as a theory

      https://answersingenesis.org/theory-of-evolution/e...

      I have had children and have grandchildren and when we watch the shows about nature on TV that are terrific shows until they equate what you are watching with evolution as fact, without ever mentioning evolution is not proven, I have to wonder just what agenda is behind a television production aimed at children that promotes a lie like evolution is fact.This is not science but deception masquerading as science.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      HI, Jack. I guess I'm a little confused by your comments. I haven't read your hub yet, but do you accept or reject the gap theory. it seems to me as if you're saying both. I'm not trying to be critical, just a little confused.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi again, TSAD. There are many creation scientists who understand the young-earth model of Scripture. Our children are taught that evolution is fact, when in reality, it is only a theory, and they're indoctrinated from early on in school. There is plenty of scientific evidence that the earth was created in six literal days as I'm sure you know. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Jack. As you know, there is no mention of a gap in Scripture. It's something that had to be invented to try to validate both Scripture and science.Even though evolution is taught as fact, we know that it is just a theory as it can't be proven. No one was there in the beginning including Christians. So why not just accept the Genesis statements at face value.I'll have to stop by and check out your hub. Thanks for giving mine a read.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Jackie. As I said, there are a lot of good people who follow the gap theory. The important thing is that creation took place, but to not accept a literal creation.is to reject Moses's teaching on it, and ultimately Jesus teaching in the New Testament. For me, there are too many problems with the gap theory interpretation. I just take God at His word and let it go at that. I'm glad you were able to stop by and consider another view.

    • Jack Jenn profile image

      Jack Jenn 

      5 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Bill and TSAD,

      Firstly to Bill, because as yet you haven't responded to my comment and that's perfectly ok simply because of the short time that has expired between further input from you but I see from the nature of the comments from TSAD (gender withheld) the response has not only been directed at you but to me as well and I shall apologise for my comment here which is in response to TSAD.

      Neither Bill nor myself are making any attack on what we read in Genesis 1: 1 & 2 which is the first 'mystery' in the Bible and clearly recognises the fact that God did restore a once perfect world that Satan rebelled in long before Adam and Peter confirms it in his Epistles, 2nd Peter 3: 5 - 7. To your comment about Christians reciting worn-out arguments about a day is as 1000 years - that has absolutely nothing to do with it, God could have built it in a nano-second should He have chosen to do so and I don't intend to get into a debate on Bible teachings as you don't understand it anyway. The only thing that is worn-out here is you.

      Again Bill I apologise for speaking on your behalf but some things must be addressed.

      Best regards,

      Jack.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, TSAD. Common sense is really the bottom line. I appreciate you pointing that out, and thanks for stopping by to read.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks, Dora. I'm only repeating what God already said. Glad you could stop by!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Lori. You said it all. I don't have to add anything except I'm glad to see you here. People try so hard to complicate the simple, straightforward facts.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi, Eric. That's exactly what I tell my church. Faith is knowing. it is logic and built on fact.That no doubt goes against what many have been taught, but really we can know. God didn't let us in the dark. Anyway, I'm glad you were able to stop by. I always look forward to hearing from you.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 months ago from now on

      It's sad to see another Christian who has failed to recognize that an attack on the “six days” of Creation is an attack on the authority of the Bible-and an attack on Genesis 1 undermines the historical basis for the Gospel that Christians proclaim! Instead of letting the clear words of the Bible speak for themselves, too many Christians recite worn-out arguments-e.g. a day is as a thousand years, we’re not sure what “day” means, the Bible is not a science textbook, Genesis is poetry-that have long been disproved by Bible believers. Answers that uphold the authority of the Bible are readily available.

      https://answersingenesis.org/days-of-creation/six-...

    • Jack Jenn profile image

      Jack Jenn 

      5 months ago from Nelson Bay NSW Australia.

      Hi Bill,

      My thoughts exactly and as well. I too, have written a hub about this and is pretty much parallel with a bit more info in a slightly different way.

      So many are blinded by false things about scripture these days but if they would just open their minds to learn, maybe the truth will be found.

      Glad to see others with the correct views.

      Best regards,

      Jack.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I was involved just a little in a study awhile back where there were with God always 360 days in a year but the Jews have a different calendar just as we do, They make those days up though just like school days. It is days that were missed so they are not extra days when they add them on. But still.

      I believe these seven days of creation may have not been 24 hour days. This would explain why scientists believe as they do and it well could be that a day with God would be as a thousand years? Maybe it could be as 10,000 years and what would it matter if it was? Look at all the wonderful things on this earth. God did not have to speak them into being in a week. I just have no problem with things not being as exactly as they sound. I don't think it makes the bible false at all, it just takes a faith in God that we believe in Him whatever the facts are and we can and will understand it all one day.

      Maybe he likes to keep unbelievers and the devil confused? Didn't you get a sense that Christians should look out for spies among them in New Testament times?

      Anyway, some interesting food for thought always makes a great study.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 months ago from now on

      Hello Bill, I spent much of my youth in central PA, where I vacationed on big pine creek and went to college near you. Great hub page!

      I find it so sad several gap models have been proposed over the years by "christians" for one reason—to add secular ideas of long ages to the Bible. If God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent and infinite (the reason to believe that is it is in His Word) why would any believer think God wouldn't express exactly what he means in His Word but mysteriously leave out a gap? Common sense is often all it takes to debunk such attempts at explaining God's word with ungodly notions.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, thanks for your explanation with very clear details. Good job in affirming the interpretation of literal days.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      5 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      This was a fascinating read. I had never heard of the gap theory. I think people who create these.kinds of things just like to go against the truth to bring attention to themselves. They are not trying to find truth but to alter it so they can be thought of as geiouses. Just a thought anyway. I could be wrong.

      I also don't understand all the hoopla about how long was the first day. Verse five says, " So the evening and the morning were the first day." One could argue the space of time between evening and morning is more than 24 hours, but how would they know that? And more importantly, why would the first day be different from one day throughout history? Why would the first official day be one hundred years (or whatever figure people come up with) between morning and evening, but once creation is completed one day between morning and evening is 24 hours? I don't think God would would make the story so complicated. I don't think the Lord would be so nebulous. I think he made the creation story susinct and simple.

      Interesting topic, Bill.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks a lot for explaining that so well. Really nice to read such concise laying out of position without the too common rancor. I have walked within places where the rock is over 2 billion years old. My atheist brother asks me to explain that in reconciliation with God and faith. To me the answer is clear as a bell. As our Catholic brothers hold dear about the Trinity so I hold dear that the ages are a Holy mystery. I have always felt that that is as much about faith as anything. Accepting that which we cannot understand as God's hand. Without mystery faith is logic.

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