You are correct, on both points. The concept I described is not new with me by any means.
It has some beneficial uses. The primary benefit is that such a view can satisfy the "God" gene. That is, there seems to be some recent thought indicating that humans are predisposed to create "God" or "gods". A Deist view fully embraces science and cosmology as it exists now and as it will evolve. It is the bridge between science and the need for spirituality that you observe.
It can useful when speaking with people who are dissatisfied with the traditional "God" and see the contradictions and paradoxes, but don't want to or can't make the leap to atheism. This gives them something that eliminates not only the logical problems, but the moral ones and the whole issue of damnation and salvation. This can be a helping hand, so to speak, for those who want to break free from the bonds of the teaching they grew up with.
It is also useful when debating with the hardcore Christian who has absolutely no doubts and no desire to change. In that case it can be used to counter the several claims being made. However, it does lead one to be tempted to say "puny god" at times. (That was a great line.)
Last, once a person is fully comfortable with this view they can decide later if they continue to see a need for it, or want to move to a fully agnostic position.
So, yes, while the use of the phrase "God as Creation" can be tricky to an extent, this view completely dispels the theological baggage that comes along with "God as Creator". Obviously someone who is fully comfortable with agnosticism or atheism has most likely already deduced this position.
It should also be noted that a Deist view is also compatible with existentialism.
I would not be surprised to find out that there are lurkers reading this thread who are "on the fence" about "God". This discussion between us on this particular item might be helpful for them.
I like what you say about the benefits and the bridge-building.
In a way, this can been seen as movement in the opposite direction to that which I described to BlackCat in #398, yesterday. Just as, thru gradual means, Christians seek to draw people into their belief-system, so those wishing to leave need to do so via a gradual process.
Perhaps I'm somewhat atypical, in that respect - flipping quickly from atheism to Christianity and just as quickly back to atheism? (Hence my handle.) But if Deism is helpful to others and assists them in their journey out of Christianity, that's fine by me.
On the subject of people's predisposition to create 'Gods', are you familiar with the work of Michael Shermer? He's the driving force behind this organization... http://www.skeptic.com/ ...and he's also a regular columnist in Scientific American.
His book, 'The Believing Brain' describes the neuroscience of belief and why we are predisposed to see patterns where only noise exists, why we attribute these patterns to personal agents (gods, spirits, extraterrestrials, etc.) and why we then defend these errant beliefs against critical thinking.
I commend it to you.