The best place to check for a synchronic definition of
this term is Lampe's patristic Greek lexicon. For now,
I offer diachronic information from
Liddell-Scott-Jones. This lexicon points out that
hUPODEESTEROS (ὑποδεέστερος) is the comparative form
of hUPODEHS (ὑποδεής). The adnominal hUPODEHS itself can
mean "somewhat deficient, inferior" and may be used
of persons with the sense "lower in degree" or "younger."
Based on the context in which Origen is contrasting
the Father's might with the Son's lesser might or greatness,
it seems that the meaning "inferior" or lower in degree is
preferable to the denotation "younger."
Under the entry hUPODEHS, BDAG also notes that the
Greek morpheme can denote "pertaining to being in a
lower position, inferior." It references Diognetus 10.5
regarding "those who are inferior" (hOI
hUPODEESTEROI). The word also pertains "to being
responsive to authority, subservient." Used
substantively, hUPODEHS potentially means "someone's
subordination" (TO hUPODEES TINOS). See 1 Clement
In Origen, however, I don't believe that the
Alexandrian is simply arguing the Son is positionally
lower in relation to his Father. The context itself
suggests another understanding of hUPODEESTEROS.
Henri Crouzel (Origen: The Life and Thought of
the First Great Theologian, page 203) argues that
Origen believes the Father is greater than the Son and
Holy Spirit vis-a-vis DOXA and not DUNAMIS. But
Origen's focus in Contra Celsum 8.15 is different. He
seems to be concerned with the power or might of the
Father over against the relative inferiority of the Son.