We can be confident that if it is not expressed in God’s Word then it is not something by which we can, or should, be bound. We do well whenever somebody says ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’ to examine the Scriptures like the Bereans to see if what they say is true.
When legalism rears its head, gnosticism is usually lurking around somewhere. There is a strong dualistic tendency that very often paints ‘spiritual’ things as good and ‘worldly’ things as bad. Of course, the one who deems evil material things as off-limits has to have some special insight to discern such things. In many cases, those who are quick to say ‘do not handle, do not taste, do not touch’ believe that they have advanced to a state of maturity that truly recognises the danger of such things.
This kind of attitude causes us to sniff at God’s good gifts as though they were something other than good. What is natural and part of God’s creation is good, but what is man-made is necessarily bad. It allows us to enjoy grapes but not the wine that comes from them despite God calling both good. It allows us to watch a sunset but not a film. The knowledge of the one who tells us to stay away, despite what God calls good and acceptable, takes precedent over anything the Lord has actually revealed in his Word.
It takes a special kind of insight to insist that what God specifically calls good is somehow bad. And a particular kind of arrogance to assume that such insight is not presumptuous but a mark of maturity. Paul insists:
These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.—Colossians 2:23
It is interesting in this same section of Colossians 2, Paul sees fit to insist that ‘in [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily’. Jesus had a real human body. If the fullness of God could dwell in human flesh, there can be nothing intrinsically evil about the flesh. In a wider sense, there is nothing intrinsically evil about material things because God is the one who created them for his creatures. And if God called his creation very good, and he created us to enjoy him forever in that very good creation, who are we to insist what the Lord has called good is something else altogether?